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Transitioning to an electric fleet

After a record year, the success of electric vehicles can partly be held to the fact that the government is finally taking action to reduce air pollution and improve the UK’s air quality.

Electric vehicles are very much in the spotlight right now. Even more so now that the diesel and petrol cars have been branded significantly harmful for the environment. With air pollution levels high throughout the UK, the government has committed to plans to ensure they reduce the level of pollution by 2040. For business owners, a fleet of reliable vehicles is a vital cog in the smooth running on their business.

However, electric vehicles have a level of stigma attached – a smaller mileage range, longer time taken to recharge and less charging points than petrol stations. It can seem like a no brainer to keep running with a petrol or diesel fleet.

Looking to the future though, it is not that simple. Whilst the future is the future, fleet managers should be considering how to start making a transition sooner rather than later. As plans from the government begin to get rolled out across the country, now could be the perfect time to start your fleet’s transition to electric or hybrid engines.

A record year for new registrations

2017 marked an all-time high for new registrations in the EV market, averaging over 4,000 new registrations per month – a significant incline from the 3,100 registrations in the entire year back in 2013. Progress is expected to continue throughout 2018 with the air pollution implications very much in the spotlight – ignorance and a lack of knowledge is no longer an excuse. The end of 2017 marked approximately 132,000 new electric car registrations and over 5,100 electric vans. This could be attributed to the government’s plans to clean up the UK’s air quality, or because there is now a better choice for van drivers and fleet managers.

As the market continues to progress, manufacturers are offering fleet managers more choice for electric vans – with most big automotive brands who have a recognisable name in the electric vehicle market having a van counterpart on the market too. This includes Nissan, Renault, Peugeot and Mercedes to name a few.

How is the industry evolving?

The market is adapting to face the long-term challenges of the industry, including with the number of charging points, the time it takes to charge and the mileage range. New developments suggest that the market could have finally beaten some of the challenges.

We currently have a number of rapid charging points across the UK to charge electric vehicles in just 20 minutes. More will be required to keep up with the demand and appeal to drivers who need a quick charge. Thanks to a multimillion pound deal with ChargePoint back in May 2017, InstaVolt are installing at least another 3,000 rapid charging points across fuel station forecourts across the UK. In addition, researchers claim they could have developed an ‘instantly rechargeable’ method that recharges an electric battery in the same time as it would take to fill a gas tank – a solution to the biggest headache of electric vehicles.

Nissan is just one manufacturer to publicly start making changes to their electric vehicles for the better. Their new Nissan Leaf vehicle has launched with double the mileage range compared to previous models – a significant indicator that the same can done in the pipeline for their electric van counterpart.

Avoid toxin charges

The government already have initiatives in the pipeline to start reducing air pollution in the run up to 2040. London and Oxford are amongst cities which are introducing Ultra Low Emission Zones and Zero Emission Zones to improve their air quality. Oxford plan to be the first zero emission city in the world by 2020. Other cities such as Leeds, Southampton and Derby are also amongst the cities who plan to introduce clean air zones in their city centres.

A large percentage of vehicles will be impacted by the new clean air zones. Vehicles which don’t abide by the zone’s emission standards will be required to pay a daily access charge to drive in the zone – failure to pay the daily toxin charges can result in a penalty charge being issued to the driver or registered owner of the vehicle. Although, it has not yet been announced what these zones will mean for commercial vehicles right now, in the near future it is likely that the charges will be applied to all vehicles. Introducing electric vans to your fleet in the first stop to avoiding being affected by the toxin charges. An ultra- low emission or zero emission vehicle will be able to drive freely throughout the zones without daily charges.

What do you think? Are you ready to transform your commercial vans to an electric fleet yet?

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