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Electric vans work for your business now! Go get one while they're hot…

21 February 2012
Electric vans work for your business now!  Go get one while they're hot…

By Robin Haycock, Head of Transport, The Climate Group.

February 21, 2012. 

We launched our Plugged-in Fleets report today (so I may be biased) but we put a lot of effort into ensuring that the report's analysis offers a realistic view of where electric vehicles work best - both in duty cycle and financial considerations - within the fleet market. For example, I insisted on a ‘discounted’ price for a diesel van but no discount on the EV equivalent, as this is a true reflection of today's market.

In the making of the report, we spoke to fleet managers in the UK, spent time understanding the issues and developed modelling tools with Cenex and EST. And in the timescale of a lease with a ‘likely’ direction of travel for fossil fuel prices at the pumps, I am willing to lay a bet that the economics of the EV will increase from now on, based around total cost of ownership.

So of course my excitement is high. I can now address the rather tiresome tactic of the person that wants to slow the inevitable move to sustainable mobility, energy security and a cleaner world. Their argument – clever as it is – is to suggest that they completely agree with the move towards a cleaner world (they are "right behind it" even), but that it is probably something for five years from now.

For people that have vested interests in the status quo, produce a lot of old tech solutions, simply haven’t got their acts together, or indeed those who haven't sweated their assets fully, it’s a good story to put out.

However, if you postulate along these lines, then nobody will buy electric vehicles now. And if nobody buys vehicles now, the postulation never comes true, as the costs don’t come down. Clever tactics.

Well with this report, and a new initiative about to be launched by Transport for London to follow on with direct action, support and analysis to pledging fleets, we will be able to show how EVs in fleets in the right situation now and that they are financially viable.

This may be an extreme case, but to make a point, if you drive a Kangoo into the congestion zone five days a week on business, you can be driving at 20ppm lower than a diesel van equivalent.

But it is not just the congestion zone where we can make the case. 7p per mile is common outside London too, with the new Plugged-in Van Grant offered today by OLEV.

In 2012 we are going to see a focus on these opportunities, and I’m looking forward to being a part of making this happen. Biased or not, I'm very excited.

Read the Plugged-in Fleets report

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