Simon Staton, Director of Client Management at Venson Automotive Solutions, urges the public sector to embrace the benefits of electric vehicles
Until recently, electric vehicles (EVs) seemed like an impractical dream for fleet managers in the public sector, but as manufacturers produce a growing number of plug-in models and their sales grow year-on-year making them affordable for all, the reality has become very real. With more choice and a wide range of government incentives, public sector organisations should be proactively reaping the benefits of the new EV era.
Leading the EV market
The government wants the UK to be a leader in EVs, but it’s already falling behind Germany and China. In 2017, Germany overtook the UK for the first time in EV sales and China manufactured half of the world’s electric vehicles. Whilst Norway leads Europe with a 37% market share for EVs, China, India and Germany have made bold steps to expediate their take-up of EVs by declaring a ban on production of fossil fuel cars or committed to 100% electric by around 2030. The UK has set a date of 2040.
To shift the UK’s position on the EV stage, the government is focusing on reducing use of fossil fuels, supported by funding initiatives to help businesses and individuals make the switch. However, fleet vehicles are a key area that could give the UK EV market the push it needs and the public sector could play a significant role in achieving that.
There are around 25,000 central government fleet vehicles in the UK and local councils manage almost 50,000 vehicles. The government committed to making a quarter of its central vehicle fleet electric by 2022, but only 5% of cars currently operated by local authorities are electric. This presents local authorities with an amazing opportunity to reduce the cost of their fleets just as budgets come under increasing strain. But it’s not just cost driving the move towards electric.
Cutting air pollution
Contributing to 40,000 early deaths every year in the UK, air pollution is undoubtedly a crisis that must be tackled as quickly as possible. The first of the UK’s Clean Air Zones, London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), came into force across the capital on 8th April 2019. Similar regulations are already planned for towns and cities across the UK to tackle what can often be illegally high levels of air pollution. This is the impetus local authorities and other parts of the public sector need to create a more sustainable fleet that also delivers long-term cost savings.
The government already has a range of schemes designed to encourage businesses, including the public sector, to invest in EVs. The Plug-In Van Grant applies to vans that have CO2 emissions of less than 75g/km and achieve a zero-emission range of 10 miles for hybrid or 60 miles for full electric. The grant covers 20% of the purchase price, up to £8,000. In addition, the Workplace Charging Scheme provides public sector organisations with support towards the purchase and installation costs of EV charge points, reducing the cost by up to 75% or £500 per socket on up to 20 charging stations.
Vehicle Choice will future proof fleets
Vehicle selection is going to play a key role in helping the public sector future proof their fleets. Ford, the UK’s largest van manufacturer, is launching its electric hybrid of the Transit Custom this year, which is a significant shift in the LCV market. In 2018, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the electric eSprinter van, which will be on sale this year. The eSprinter comes with the latest battery technology and promises a range of 150 kilometres, with a maximum payload of 900 kilos. Nissan, Vauxhall and Volkswagen have also committed to plug-in van production, with cars like the Nissan Leaf already established as good fleet alternatives.
You can download the latest whitepapers from Venson below:
Plug in vehicle recharging – the electric future – https://www.venson.com/Media/ViewWhitePaper/35
Plug in vans. The market set to grow – https://www.venson.com/Media/ViewWhitePaper/34