Ageing van fleets to increase as owners shun EVs

The growing move towards EVs could result in thousands of companies operating diesel van fleets on an almost ‘indefinite’ basis, specialists have warned


Just not getting switched on by electric transport? You’re not alone.

Thousands of UK businesses have already decided that an EV would not suit their particular line of work. And they say that it leaves them with no option but to carry on running diesel vans – and indefinitely too.

Leading vehicle management specialist Fleetcheck says that ageing fleets of diesel vans – kept in service until a greater EV infrastructure is introduced – will become a common sight in the UK.

“Some of our customers are telling us that they feel caught in a difficult situation,” says Peter Golding, Fleetcheck managing director. “As they see it, there are some jobs for which electric vans are unlikely to ever make sense – for example, where very long range is needed, where there is a lack of charging facilities in remote areas, or where there is a need to keep moving during power cuts.

“They believe that this leaves them no choice other than to operate diesel vans until the technology changes.”

But Fleetcheck doesn’t think the problem will end there. They believe fleet managers and business owners also foresee a point soon when they’ll no longer want to buy new diesel vans because of concerns over their future residual values.

“Essentially, what some are planning to do is keep a handful of diesel vans indefinitely, and there is a possibility that they already own these vans now,” says Peter Golding. “They see no choice. However hanging on to these vehicles is something that is going to create a whole range of operational issues.”

One of those issues will be ensuring that the older vans are kept in a safe and roadworthy condition.

“It’s no exaggeration to suggest that, by the turn of the decade, some fleets may already be operating a number of diesel vans that have been in service for nearly ten years with no plans to take them out of action,” says Peter Golding. “There appears to be two scenarios. One is that fleets will want to keep some diesels rather than use EVs because they are used intensively, the other is that they will be used infrequently as a flexible back-up.

“Both of these situations create maintenance problems. Keeping a ten-year-old van covering 30,000 miles a year in a good state of repair is expensive and difficult; but ensuring a rarely used van is always ready to go is almost as tricky.”

Fleetcheck are calling for either an effective road hydrogen strategy from the UK government to give fleets a zero-emissions alternative or a shift in either electric van range or the charging infrastructure that resolves the issues that these fleets believe make having a diesel van necessary.

Essential safety checks for van owners

The current cost of living crisis and rising prices generally have already forced van users, especially sole traders, to cut back on their vehicle maintenance, which is particularly important for older vehicles.

With increasing maintenance costs, it’s easy to postpone a professional service or check-up. And, if that is the case, any owner, driver or fleet manager who is running an older, higher mileage van should carry out weekly safety checks covering at the very least, these items:

  • Damaged wheels or tyres
  • Blown lightbulbs or cracked lenses
  • Unusual or unexpected fluid on the road, which could mean a leak
  • Chipped or cracked windscreen or side glass
  • Correct oil levels
  • Full windscreen washer reservoir
  • Body damage
  • Electrical equipment
Tom Johnston
Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.

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