Dramatic shift to electric power predicted for van operators


A “dramatic shift” to electric power will soon be underway for UK businesses that operate vans, according to new research.

Research by the Arval Mobility Observatory, based on analysis of 5,600 fleet manager interviews, found that half of respondents said that they were already operating hybrids or planned to do so within the next three years. Similarly, 48% said they already had plug-in hybrids or planned to do so in the same time-frame.

For battery electric vans, 43% of respondents reported already operating them or planning to do so within the next three years.

Shaun Sadlier, head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, said: “Even more so than their car counterparts, van fleets wanting to adopt low or zero emission vehicles have been hampered by both a lack of models and limited supply. This can be seen in the wide gap between the current adoption rate and that to which they aspire.

“But this situation is changing rapidly, so with a much wider range of electric and plug-in hybrid vans arriving on the market, we expect to see a dramatic shift. In some respects, these new vans are arguably less popular than electric and hybrid cars because their ranges tend to be limited and are also affected by the weight of the payload carried – but there is undeniably a high level of interest from fleets, as our research very firmly indicates.”

Arval Mobility Observatory also asked why companies want to adopt low and zero emission vans and the responses are very varied, showing many different priorities.

The top three responses had the environment, finance and image in mind: 43% said that they wanted to limit carbon emissions and air pollution, 39% to reduce fuel expenses and 37% wanted to improve their company image. At the bottom end of the table, only 18% wanted to make the switch to fulfil employee requests for vehicles.

 “Vans are both business tools and mobile billboards for their operators, so maintaining access to cities adopting stricter air quality measures and being seen to operate more environmentally friendly vehicles have definite benefits for fleets that make the switch,” added Sadlier.

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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