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Why Switch Your Fleet to Commercial Electric Vehicles?

From meeting your corporate social responsibility goals to preparing for future phase-outs, there are many benefits to transitioning your fleet to commercial electric vehicles.

fleet ev charging

Although still in its infancy, the market for electric commercial vehicles and heavy-duty road transport is becoming more prominent.  

Many companies that operate fleets of commercial vehicles, light commercial vehicles (LCVs), and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), have begun to see the value of switching from an ICE-fueled fleet to an electric one: 

  • In 2023, IKEA announced its purchase of 30 electric home delivery vehicles (10 16-tonne trucks and 20 vans) to support the achievement of reaching 100% zero-emission last-mile deliveries by 2025. Per year, fleet is expected to save 1000 tonnes of carbon emissions across just over 10,000 journeys. 
  • Having already started using EVs for its home delivery service and pledged to be fully electrified by 2028, Tesco became the first retailer to adopt a zero-emission electric lorry to make deliveries between its distribution centres and city stores in August 2022. Made by Renault Trucks, the lorry delivers to over 400 stores in Greater London; with a range of up to 130 miles, it can carry the same payload as the diesel truck it replaced. 

This blog explores some of the key factors that could convince fleet managers to electrify their commercial and heavy goods vehicles, including:   

  • How electrification can help companies work towards environmental and sustainability commitments  
  • The inevitability of electrification due to government mandates 
  • The financial benefits to making the switch 

 

Switching to an electric commercial fleet will have a positive impact on the environment 

In 2022, 89% of goods in the UK were moved directly by road. In the same year, HGVs covered 19.5 billion kilometres, many of which were diesel fueled.  

In the UK, they use around six million tonnes of diesel annually. The HGV sector accounts for a huge share of UK transport emissions (19%), despite the number of vehicles on the road (1%). Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are predicted to account for over 11% of total global CO2 emissions by 2050 if steps to decarbonise are not followed. 

Switching to an electric commercial or heavy goods vehicle will have a hugely positive influence on the environment. EVs are known to have a lower impact on the planet. All-electric and hydrogen truck fleets would cut the UK’s annual CO2 emissions by a huge 21.1m tonnes. And it will also help you achieve company targets around reducing emissions. 

Plus, as customers become more environmentally aware, they are more likely to support businesses that show a commitment to lowering their carbon footprint.  

Mobile phone roaming therefore provided a blueprint for how EV charging could work, but this time it works within the UK as well as outside of it. This is because there are multiple companies like Mer who provide publicly accessible EV charging. However, in the early days these networks were not integrated at all, meaning that if you had a charging card for network A, you could not use it to access charge points on networks B, C, or D.

Mer very quickly recognised this challenge for drivers and has been working hard ever since to create roaming partnerships with other charge point operators.

Government mandates mean the electric transition is inevitable 

In 2021, the government pledged that all new HGVs in the UK will be zero-emission by 2040. The transition begins with phasing out new, non-zero emission HGVs weighing 26 tonnes and under by 2035. By 2040, this applies to all HGVs sold in the UK. 

This highlights that the journey to electric will become not a choice, but a necessity, for fleet managers. 

The earlier you begin to think about the transition in all its complexity, the easier it will be, because there is an additional factor to consider on top of the vehicles themselves. If you wait to install charging infrastructure that will power your fleet just as you transition your fleet, your vehicles could be out of operation due to the length of time an EV charging install takes, especially with such high-powered charging needed to power commercial and heavy goods vehicles. Make the switch smoother by transitioning early. 

Save costs in low or clean air emission zones

To tackle poor air quality in city environments, there are charges to enter certain areas for vehicles that emit greenhouse gases above a certain threshold. 12 cities in the UK have implemented these zones, including London, Birmingham, Bristol and Oxford. By switching your commercial and heavy goods vehicles to electric, fleet managers can reduce operational costs by avoiding charges in these low emission vehicle zones. 

 

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