Paul Kirby, head of commercial vehicles at LeasePlan UK, makes the case for switching to electric light commercials.
In 2019 LeasePlan UK became the first van leasing company in the UK to gain FORS Vehicle Hire Company accreditation, which means we can hire FORS-accredited vans to FORS members – crucial for van operators who may need extra vehicles for short-term contracts.
FORS accreditation not only raises the bar for safety, but it also helps van operators lower their carbon output and NOx, and opens doors to contracts in urban areas with tough air-quality targets to meet. Now is the time for van operators to take the next step and think about going electric – particularly as more cities implement clean-air zones or low-emission zones – to help this bid to reduce emissions.
Thanks to technological advances and new government policies including new emissions testing, and plug-in and electric charging grants, e-LCVs are becoming more and more attractive. They may not be ideal for every business or for every job undertaken by vans within a business, but thanks to better range and greater payload options, more opportunities are becoming apparent.
For short-range work where the vans can be recharged overnight – for example, urban delivery operations – e-LCVs are a really attractive proposition, and it is vital for fleet managers to adopt a proactive approach to getting started with them, beginning today.
Operators should identify renewals in their current fleet and discuss equipment availability of the models to be replaced factoring in longer lead times. To keep the ordering process running smoothly, fleet management teams need good notice of any switches to e-LCVs, and selected light commercial vehicle OEMs should be contacted to check which discounts will apply to newly introduced models, renegotiating new deals if necessary. Also, technology is available to help ascertain the suitability of routes and tasks for moving to e-LCVs so practical evaluation can be made.
Finally, do e-LCVs make financial sense? Operators should assess whether the vehicles align with current and proposed access regulation schemes in the urban areas they operate. By working out the total cost of ownership of a current fleet, including daily distance travelled, and comparing e-LCV costs, a true judgment of when to go electric can be made. In short, there are many scenarios where cost parity is achievable and even savings can be made.
For more information visit www.fors-online.org.uk
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