FleetCheck urges new government to reconsider van ZEV rule.

The upcoming government must reconsider the zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate for vans to address the various challenges faced by fleets across the UK. Peter Golding, the managing director at a fleet software specialist, highlighted the significant gap between the capabilities of currently available electric vans and the requirements of many fleets. This disparity poses a major obstacle with no easy solutions in sight.

While electric company cars have seen a surge in adoption, showcasing fleet readiness for rapid electrification on a large scale, the scenario for vans remains considerably more complex. Some fleets that operate on shorter routes with lighter loads, and have access to depot or off-street charging facilities, find it relatively straightforward to transition to electric vans. However, numerous hurdles exist for other fleet operators.

Challenges such as limited range, payload capacity, lack of overnight charging options for drivers residing in terraced houses or apartments, and specific issues like the 4.25-tonne derogation and 12V battery charging constraints are prevalent. Additionally, concerns surrounding residual values add to the list of complications. These factors are directly impacting sales, which are currently showing signs of stagnation. Unless a fleet is a large corporation like a utility company with dedicated resources for van electrification, the interest in electric vans remains subdued.

Given the existing obstacles, the ZEV mandate’s target of achieving 70% electric van sales by 2030 appears daunting and potentially unattainable. With just six years until the deadline, which roughly translates to one replacement cycle for most van fleets, the structural challenges seem insurmountable within that timeframe.

FleetCheck, a prominent industry player, has emphasised the urgency of addressing this issue promptly, stating that the incoming government must take action now to prevent a more severe crisis in the later part of the decade. Plans for government support or incentives, akin to the low Benefit-in-Kind taxation for electric cars, alongside a significant expansion of affordable on-street charging infrastructure, are imperative.

Conversations with fleets reveal that some are contemplating prolonging the use of their diesel vans to delay the shift towards electrification, indicating that existing government policies might inadvertently encourage the retention of more polluting vehicles. Such a scenario underscores the necessity for policy interventions that promote sustainable fleet practices and accelerate the transition to eco-friendly transport options.

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