Electric van-makers receive wake-up call

Manufacturers of electric vans in the UK have been issued a warning from the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) that they must make improvements in key areas if the industry is to ever truly take off.

Following the publication of a new report commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) and carried out by Element Energy, the electric van sector has been shown to be far less competitive than traditional vans than many might have expected.

According to the report's findings, the current cost of ownership for pure electric large vans is more than 50 per cent higher than their diesel-engine equivalents.

Furthermore, UK van operators were polled and revealed that a ten per cent premium on costs would be the maximum they would be willing to spend in order to switch to full-electric vehicles.

"This well-researched report is a massive wake-up call for electric van makers and the government," said BVRLA chief executive John Lewis.

"The government has put its money where its mouth is by delivering the Plug-in Van Grant and other tax incentives, but they need to give operators confidence that these will be more than just short-term measures."

Finally, the report also revealed this increase in cost in comparison to diesel alternatives is unlikely to be a short-term phenomenon, as the DfT's projections show there will still likely be at least a ten per cent premium for full-electric vans against diesel by 2030.

As a result, significant incentives are likely to be needed to ensure a high enough uptake of electric vehicles to ensure the development is carried on to overcome these issues.

The news follows comments by Alastair Ramsay, sustainable development manager at Legrand, who recently stated that an economic charging model and the delivery of more charge points throughout the UK will be integral to the future viability of electric vehicles.

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