There is no avoiding the success of the electric vehicle market – 2017 was a record year for new registrations catapulting them into the spotlight. Even more so now that the diesel and petrol cars have been branded significantly harmful for the environment. With air pollutions 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.

But, for fleet managers, there is more to consider. With significant developments in the electric vehicle market, and as plans from the government begin to get rolled out across the country, introducing an electric fleet could save your business money in the long-term. Now could be the perfect time to start your fleet’s transition to electric or hybrid engines.

Evolution of the market

The end of 2017 marked approximately 132,000 new electric car registrations and over 5,100 electric vans – a record year for new registrations, averaging over 4,000 new registrations per month. 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 progress 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.

Furthermore, the choice for electric vehicles has grown significantly in recent years. In previous years, there has been a limited choice for electric van drivers but there is now more choice than ever before – with most big automotive brands who have a recognisable name in the electric vehicle market, have a van counterpart on the market too – Nissan, Renault, Peugeot and Mercedes to name a few.

New expansions

The electric vehicle market facing challenges is nothing new. From day one the number of charging points, the time it takes to charge and the mileage range have always been challenges for the market. However, new developments suggest that the market could have finally beaten some of the challenges.

However, we do have a number of rapid charging points across the country that can charge electric vehicles in just 20 minutes. If success in the industry is to continue at the same rate, more rapid charging points will be required to keep up with the demand and appeal to drivers who need a quick charge. A rapid charging point can charge your electric car in around 20 minutes. 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.

The brand-new Nissan Leaf is just one example of how manufcturers are continuously working to beat the challenges. The latest model has double the mileage range compared to previous models – a significant indicator that the same can done in the pipeline for their electric van counterpart.

Clean air zones

As part of the long-term plan, the government is introducing clean air zones into the city centres of the most polluted areas in the UK. 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.

The new zones plan to limit the number of vehicles that emit harmful emissions to improve the air quality in popular cities. These clean air zones will impact a large number of vehicles. 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 commercial van will be able to drive freely throughout the zones without daily charges.

What do you think? Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? Now could be the time to get ahead of the game and introduce your electric fleet.