There’s no getting away from the issue of fuel in the industry at the moment and the question of what powertrains will propel the light commercial vehicles of the future.
Whereas during the past few years magazines such as What Van? would dedicate the occasional special issue to emerging green technologies, now the subject dominates more and more column inches every month.
While many manufacturers and commentators continue to insist diesel engines have a future – pointing to the irrefutable evidence that the modern powertrains are cleaner and more efficient than ever – the fact is that, although diesel remains the compelling choice for all but urban LCV operators, this future is finite.
The government has proposed a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 but city leaders, such as London mayor Sadiq Khan, want the move brought forward by a decade to cut pollution and the chronic health problems caused by poor air quality.
Meanwhile, the crackdown on diesel LCVs in city centres could hit residual values and result in changing regional patterns, with Euro5 and older vans becoming concentrated in areas not subject to emissions charges.
So what’s the answer? Well, we've reported on the government’s long-awaited proposal to raise the weight limit for the electric vans category B licence holders can drive – from 3.5t to 4.25t – finally becoming law, which should boost the market for large plug-in vans.
It’s a step in the right direction.
James Dallas is the Editor of What Van?