On 14 July 2021, the government announced that the sale of new diesel lorries will be banned in the UK by 2030 at the very latest. This comes after the announcement of the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans being moved forward by five years, from 2035 to 2030 back in November 2020.
For many fleets, this news has come as a shock as although 2030 is just under twenty years away, there really is very little time to allow fleets to prepare for the transition, particularly as there are very few electric HGV's currently available on the market.
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) published a report in February suggesting that a ban by 2030 was necessary in order to prevent road and rail freight accounting for as much as 20% of the UK’s greenhouse gases. Fortunately, for fleets who mostly operate using cars and vans, there have been great strides in the development of electric alternatives and many businesses have experienced cost savings between 20% and 25% compared with the cost of owning and running vehicles operated by combustion engines.
This is because electric vehicles are not only much more efficient but are also much more affordable to fuel as electricity is less expensive than petrol and diesel and offer more predictable pricing. It also enables fleets to optimise charging activity for the most efficient and least expensive use of energy, such as the use of renewable sources.
Another great advantage of electric vehicles is their reduced maintenance. Thanks to fewer moving parts, electric vehicles require significantly less maintenance than combustion engine vehicles which require oil changes and frequent part replacements. Not only does this save costs on expensive repairs, it also means vehicles spend more time on the road, doing their jobs than in a garage.
These long-term cost-saving benefits are what makes investing in electric vehicles so worthwhile, outweighing the disadvantage of the more expensive initial purchase price.
More and more organisations are starting to establish progressive sustainability targets in order to attract new customers and beat competitors. According to Fleetnews, 81% of customers feel strongly that companies should be finding ways of working which help to improve the environment. By introducing electric vehicles into their fleets, companies have the opportunity to combine sustainability with efficiency, meaning customers receive their deliveries quicker and more environmentally friendly.
Whilst it might seem easy to jump on the bandwagon and invest in all new electric vehicles for your fleet, it’s important to take a step back and carefully consider what is right for your business right now. For example, if you have only recently purchased new vehicles for your fleet, you should consider waiting a while in order to get your money’s worth following the initial large depreciation.
However, if your existing vehicles are old, inefficient and frequently require maintenance and repairs, now is the ideal time to make the switch.
If your fleet frequently makes long distance journeys, electric vehicles might not be suitable just yet as they typically have a range between 100-180 miles (which can also be impacted by driver behaviour, the weight of the load and even the outside temperature).
In order to assess whether electric vehicles are suitable for your fleet, you can use a vehicle tracking system to record your existing vehicles’ daily mileage. Using the daily average over a month, you can work out whether an electric vehicle could meet the needs of your business. If the average is under 180 miles, going fully electric could be a viable option for your business.
As more and more businesses start to invest in electric vehicles for their fleets, now is the time to start considering whether it’s time to make the switch for your business in order to stay on top of your competitors and keep customers happy.