Is it Time to Switch to Electric Vans?

Is it Time to Switch to Electric Vans?

Fuel prices are soaring across the world, with the problem worsening as sanctions against Russia intensify. Filling up at the gas station has never been more expensive. At the time of writing this blog pump prices in the UK are predicted to hit £2.00 per litre in the very near future – an unbelievable record high!

With such volatility and scarcity of gasoline/petrol and diesel supplies, electric vehicles are becoming ever more attractive. The climate emergency is also at the forefront of many minds.

The big question now in field services around the introduction of electric vehicles is not if but when – is there an optimum time for vans to go electric?

Electric Vehicles: Some facts

  • The trend towards electric cars was accelerating even before the fuel price surge. In 2020 the global electric car stock hit the 10 million mark, a 43% increase over 2019.
  • The way we shop has changed beyond recognition, with the convenience of online purchases prompting a surge in home deliveries. With more vans on the roads, an even greater focus will be placed on the environmental impact of these vehicles. 
  • Despite the slow roll-out of power charging stations, the growth of electric cars has gained momentum. The awareness of global warming has coincided with more people wanting to reduce their carbon footprint and emissions when behind the wheel. Increasingly, environmentally conscious consumers and companies will choose environmentally conscious businesses.
  • While electric cars attract all the attention, there has been far less emphasis on the electric van market. That may be about to change. In the UK, for instance, the number of vans on UK roads has never been higher, accounting for 11.4% of the total number of vehicles in use.
  • New homes and buildings such as supermarkets and workplaces, as well as those undergoing major renovation, are required to install electric vehicle charge points, under new building regulations being introduced this year. Infrastructure is being addressed.
  • A UK government ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars has been brought forward to 2030.

Why are Electric Vans Lagging Behind Cars?

By far the biggest worry for anyone thinking of going electric is whether the charging network is fit for purpose. The fear of running out of charge (‘range anxiety’) is probably the number one reservation.

For van drivers, this is particularly important as the combined kerbside and payload weight means the vehicle must work harder – and that means more drain on the battery. 

And in business, lost time spent charging is not an option. Vans, often referred to as Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) are working vehicles, and time is money. Waiting for an electric LCV to charge is a driver’s worst nightmare when they have a tight schedule.

The level of range anxiety has subsided for electric car owners and potential purchasers as technologies develop and the infrastructure starts to mature. So, will LCV drivers become less apprehensive?

FleetPoint, the UK industry trade publication, notes that “up until recently, electric LCVs (e-LCVs) were considered somewhat of a fantasy. Batteries weren’t powerful enough – and were too big and cumbersome – to allow for proper cargo transportation.”

The publication believes that manufacturers have now overcome this issue and advancements in battery technology have made electric LCVs just as viable as electric cars.

The Tax Advantages of Electric LCVs

Low emissions zone sign

As well as the knowledge that you are doing your bit to help protect the planet, there are tangible business benefits to going electric. The UK government wants to wean the population off petrol and diesel, and it has implemented a series of inducements including:

  • Benefit in Kind: For the tax year 2021/22, the company car tax percentage for a fully electric, zero emitting vehicle is 1%, rising to 2% for 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 – notably lower than a typical petrol or diesel company car tax rate.
  • Road Tax: Road tax for a vehicle with emissions of 50g/km CO2 and below is £0, compared to £215 for a 130g/km CO2 diesel. Until March 31st 2025, electric cars are also exempt from the £325 VED supplement, which is paid for cars with a list price over £40,000.
  • Plug-In Grant: The grant covers for 35% of the purchase price. For vans, the maximum available is £2,500 for a small van and £5,000 for a large van, with eligibility criteria of less than 50g/km CO2 and ability to travel at least 60 miles without any emissions at all.
  • Each business, organisation, or individual may receive up to 1000 grants each financial year (April 1st – March 31st).
  • In addition, many city congestion schemes offer exemptions to electric vehicles.

The Future and the Challenges

Electric vans are going further without needing to be charged – and prices are falling with major manufacturers competing to dominate the market.

For instance, Ford’s new E-Transit electric panel van range starts from £42,695 and has a range of up to 196 miles on a single charge.

Competition has been enhanced by specialist electric car innovators, in a similar way that Tesla shook up the electric car sector. One example is the global technology company, Arrival, which specialises in electric buses and vans. The company is basing a new micro-factory in Bicester, Oxfordshire. Its new zero-emissions van has a 211-mile range, with a maximum 1,975kg payload.

The charging ranges are also increasing, but are they enough for a busy van driver? And what are the other imminent challenges?

All businesses looking to make the switch to electric vehicles will be monitoring charging infrastructure, range, cost, and load capacity before they take the plunge. But electric vans do now tick a lot of boxes – with rising petrol and diesel prices, e-LCVs cut fuel costs and are cheaper to maintain.

And finally, 2030 isn’t that far off. Now could be the perfect time to bring about change.

Joblogic: Route Planning for LCVs

Laptop displaying Joblogic's Route Planning software

Maximising route efficiency will be critical when firms make the switch to e-LCVs, and this will be even more important for vehicles with heavier loads. Joblogic’s route optimisation software can play a major role in ensuring engineers are allocated jobs with the most efficient route. The software enables managers to assign tasks to nearby team members, reassign jobs to cut down on transit time, and automatically reorder jobs to follow a more efficient route. 

With a fleet of electric vehicles, optimising routes will become invaluable in reducing mileage. Above all, routes can be planned to ensure no downtime for vehicle charging, increasing efficiency, and ensuring more profitable work fits into the day.

Make the switch to e-LCVs easier with Joblogic. Call our expert team now to find out how.

And, if your business operates within the industry of electric vehicle chargepoint installation and maintenance, our software can help you take streamline your operations.

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