The electric van market experienced significant growth throughout 2017 which could be partly attributed to the fact that the government have recently highlighted that diesel and petrol cars can be significantly harmful for the environment. With air pollutions levels high throughout the UK, the government has committed to plans to ensure they reduce the level of pollution by 2040. For business owners, a fleet of reliable vehicles is a vital cog in the smooth running on their business. However, electric vehicles have a level of stigma attached – a smaller mileage range, longer time taken to recharge and less charging points than petrol stations. It can seem like a no brainer to keep running your commercial van fleet with a petrol or diesel engine.

However, we are seeing significant developments in the electric vehicle market, and as plans from the government begin to get rolled out across the country, now could be the perfect time to start your fleet’s transition to electric or hybrid engines.

The electric market triumphs

After a successful year in new registrations throughout 2017, progress is expected to continue in 2018, with the air pollution implications very much in the spotlight – ignorance and a lack of knowledge is no longer an excuse. The end of 2017 marked approximately 132,000 new electric car registrations and over 5,100 electric vans. This could be attributed to the government’s plans to clean up the UK’s air quality.

Furthermore, there is now more choice available than ever before. In previous years, there has been a limited choice for electric van drivers but now most big automotive brands who have a recognisable name in the electric vehicle market, have a van counterpart on the market too – Nissan, Renault, Peugeot and Mercedes to name a few.

Pioneering changes

A lack of charging points has always been an issue for the market – and the amount of time it takes to charge an engine. However, new developments suggest that the market could have finally beaten some of their most pressing challenges. A rapid charging point can charge your electric car in around 20 minutes – they are the fastest charging points available on the current market. Rapid charging points are required to keep up with the demand and appeal to drivers who need a quick charge. Thanks to a multimillion pound deal with ChargePoint back in May 2017, InstaVolt are installing at least another 3,000 rapid charging points across fuel station forecourts across the UK. In addition, researchers claim they could have developed an ‘instantly rechargeable’ method that recharges an electric battery in the same time as it would take to fill a gas tank – a solution to the biggest headache of electric vehicles.

Nissan’s new model Leaf could also indicate that the industry is on its way to improving electric mileage range. Nissan engineers have recently launched their new Nissan Leaf vehicle with double the mileage range compared to previous models – a significant indicator that the same can done in the pipeline for their electric van counterpart.

Toxin penalty charges

In a bid to improve the UK’s air quality in the run up to the government’s target of 2040, some of the most polluted areas across the UK have agreed to introduce clean air zones. London and Oxford are amongst cities which are introducing Ultra Low Emission Zones and Zero Emission Zones to improve their air quality. Oxford plan to be the first zero emission city in the world by 2020. Other cities such as Leeds, Southampton and Derby are also amongst the cities who plan to introduce clean air zones in their city centres.

Vehicles which don’t abide by the zone’s emission standards will be issued with a toxin charge on a daily basis to enter the zone. Vehicles which fail to pay the daily toxin charges can result in a penalty charge being issued to the driver or registered owner of the vehicle. Although, it has not yet been announced what these zones will mean for commercial vehicles right now, in the near future it is likely that the charges will be applied to all vehicles. Introducing electric vans to your fleet in the first stop to avoiding being affected by the toxin charges. An ultra- low emission or zero emission vehicle will be able to drive freely throughout the zones without daily charges.

What do you think? Is it time to go green?