Paul Holland, managing director of UK Fuel at FLEETCOR explains how electric vehicles (EVs) and alternative fuel (AF) vehicles can benefit both businesses and the environment.
With the ban of sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans having recently been brought forward to 2030, part of a wider initiative to make the UK carbon-neutral by 2050, businesses that manage fleets of vehicles will soon be hit with fundamental changes.
With recent technological developments in the EV sector and increased charging infrastructure, this switch is set to be a streamlined experience. With more investment and infrastructure developments to come, there is no longer any question about whether EVs can compete with traditionally powered vehicles.
Of course, switching to an EV fleet overwhelming and expensive decision for operators to make, and therefore it is crucial for them to take a moment to assess what they really need. EVs are not one-to-one replacements for petrol-driven vehicles, so there could be opportunities for savings and greater efficiency if they buy intelligently.
The cost of their battery has typically placed EVs above traditional vehicles in terms of price.
However, battery pack costs have fallen 87% between 2010 and 2019 due to economies of scale and better cell chemistry, according to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance report.
Currently, batteries cost approximately £118 per kilowatt-hour of capacity, with this set to halve over the next decade.
Therefore, by around 2024 the upfront price of EVs will become competitive with traditionally fuelled vehicles. New Lithium Sulphur batteries can potentially double the capacity of EV batteries, but they are several years, if not a decade away from being commercially available.
Changing the typical vehicle to increase efficiency
Businesses that offer company cars for their employees will have a relatively easy time switching to EVs when compared to companies that operate vans and HGVs.
The extra weight of larger vehicles and the longer charging times compared to refuelling ICE vehicles means that there may be extra planning of delivery routes required, perhaps even changing the make-up of the fleet to compensate.
Although this may seem like a downside, it could be that an estate car or minivan is just as able as a larger van to carry the equipment workers need to do their jobs, and since they will cost less to buy and run, businesses will be able to make a saving while also doing their bit for the environment.
Driving towards the ‘Green Industrial Revolution’
The UK’s initiative to be carbon-neutral by 2050 is part of a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ that will also include increased use of wind, nuclear and hydrogen power, zero-emissions public transport,
greater use of walking and cycling, energy-efficient homes and carbon capture. The scheme will be backed by billions in investment, including £582 million in grants to buy zero or ultra-low emissions vehicles. While we all need to play our part in this mission, businesses have the chance to act before the 2030 deadline on the banning of sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans and lead the UK towards a greener future.
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