Diesel costs should point van fleets to the EV charger

Diesel costs should point van fleets to the EV charger

Posted by

David Blackmore

May 2022

The 180p per litre of diesel is a reality – a new record for diesel fuel. Unfortunately, it looks like there’s further price creep to come.

It means filling the tank of the UK’s best-selling van will cost £126, a simply once unthinkable amount. At the start of the year, filling that same tank in the Ford Transit Custom would have ‘only’ cost around £100. Such fuel price rises are obviously putting considerable pressure on fleet budgets, along with overall business profitability.

Which hopefully will be enough to prompt some financial directors and fleet managers to question whether their van fleets shouldn’t be transitioning from diesel to electric.

We hope so.

Electrification offers operational benefits beyond cost savings: last mile delivery access to low emission zones (LEZs), the opportunity to bid for business where Environmental, Social and Governance factors are part of the tender, and a smoother and less frenetic environment for the driver thanks to the near silent running of an electric van.

Some of the arguments not to electrify remain, though.

There’s the cost. Electric vans, like cars, are more expensive to purchase and that feeds through into higher lease rental rates. But this is offset by lower running costs as well as the Plug-in Van Grant which has been extended for a further two years to provide greater financial certainty (see my previous blog Time to accelerate the switch to electric vans). If we look at Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), in most cases the electric van is less expensive than a diesel over a lifecycle – now even more so with those diesel fuel increases.

Then there’s the range. Until recently most vans reported an average of about 100 miles in advertised range (about 70 miles of usable distance). As more electric vans appear on the market, so battery range is increasing. Newer models are achieving up to 250 miles, while the new E-Transit is capable of 197 miles on a charge.

And of course there’s the charging conundrum. How do drivers charge their vans?  It depends to an extent on the van’s work profile. If a driver can comfortably achieve their daily workload on a single charge then access to a home or depot charger for overnight charging is a simple option.

If this is not the case then journey routes, with public charger availability, will need to be considered carefully before proceeding. We can help with a driver suitability survey to help answer this key question.

You will also need to consider charging reimbursement, whether that’s an EV fuel card or a system, now available, which splits domestic consumption from van home charging and then bills your company directly for the electricity used for powering up the van.

Finally, there’s payload. The heavier weight of the battery decreases available payload. But with our analysis, choosing the operationally most efficient van can overcome this issue, while the Government permits vans up to 4.25 tonnes to be driven on a normal driving licence to overcome any payload limitations. Such vans are also covered by the Plug-in Van Grant.

If you think you would like to know more about commercial vehicle electrification, then a visit to Ford’s stand at this week’s Commercial Vehicle Show at NEC – where the company will have the new E-Transit on display – will certainly be worthwhile. Toyota will also have its electric vans on view, too.

If you would like more detailed guidance on van fleet electrification, then download our White Paper on Electrifying your van fleet.

Because it’s about time your fleet started driving away from those diesel pumps.

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