Aug 10, 2021  •  10 min read
“Switching an LCV fleet to electric can be complicated, with some significant challenges to think about, and with so many solutions to help you overcome the hurdles, it can be difficult to know where to start and who to turn to.”
Alex De Gelas, VWFS | Fleet LCV Sales Consultant.

Given government plans to ban the sale of new diesel vans from 2030, the appetite for electrification is mounting. Fleet LCV Sales Consultant, Alex De Gelas, examines some of the challenges ahead for CV fleets and answers some of the most common questions from small to large fleets on driver reluctance, the availability of government grants, vehicle choice, and when is a good time to switch.

What benefits can eLCVs deliver?

There are significant savings in the form of reduced business cost per mile of fuel (electricity) costs and the exemption from Clean Air Zones (CAZ) and Ultra Low Emissions Zones (ULEZ) are some of the most notable benefits of transitioning to an electric fleet.

The total cost of ownership is also lessened by reduced maintenance costs and opportunities offered by incentives including the government plug-in van grant. On top of helping you meet your emissions targets and achieve sustainability objectives, switching to electric LCV can also attract new socially conscious customers. Plus, with similar loading capacities to ICE vans and many charging options, they are practical for many fleets.

Aren’t EVs more expensive than comparable ICE vehicles?

An electric LCV may well have a greater purchase or lease cost than its petrol or diesel counterpart, but when you consider that fuel (one of the biggest costs of running a fleet) and maintenance can be significantly lower for EVs compared to ICE, this makes for a much better Total Cost of Ownership proposition. Also, if your drivers are using the vans for personal use, they may also benefit from paying much lower rates of Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax.

I’m unsure if it makes good commercial sense to switch

A whole-life cost consultation will help you determine if EVs will provide clear financial benefits. It’s important to look at all the related factors, including maintenance, fuel, and leasing costs while factoring in tax. This will help you see the savings you might make and help you be better-informed on vehicle choice and funding decisions.

I’m unsure which vehicle or funding option will work best

We’ll work with you to determine which vehicles will work best for your business and your drivers, compare the costs involved and offer you a range of funding options based on your needs.

Does the government offer grants for the purchase of electric vans?

Yes. A small van (up to 2.5t) is eligible for a grant of up to 35% of the purchase price (max grant of £1,500) and a larger van (up to 3.5t) is also eligible for a grant of up to 35% of the purchase price (max grant of £5,000). You can claim a total of 1000 plug-in van and truck grants for your business or organisation each year. This limit resets every year on 1 April.

Does the government offer grants for the installation of charging points?

With the government’s OZEV Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) your business could also save up to 75%* on the cost of installing your fleet charge points.

You can also get up to £350 (including VAT) off the cost of installing a charger at home through the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme. But you need to apply soon, as these incentives are available for a limited time only.

*The OZEV Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) grant allows business, charities and local authorities to claim up to 75% of the total installation cost, up to £350 per socket and a maximum of 40 sockets across all sites per applicant

Is there an advisory fuel rate for electric and hybrid cars?

The advisory fuel rate for pure electric cars is 5p per mile. Plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles will continue to be treated as petrol or diesel models in terms of mileage reimbursement.

I’m worried that EVs may compromise practicality

The range of low emission LCVs is ever-expanding with new models being introduced frequently. We offer a complete portfolio of electric and plug-in hybrids from all the manufacturers, and this number increases every month. With electric models now available with compact batteries and unobstructed load areas, low emission vehicles are fast becoming a suitable option for your every job.

My business LCVs need to travel long distances

Electric vehicles come in various forms, from pure battery-electric through to plug-in hybrids. The range on electric vehicles is improving all the time, however they may not be suited for everyone and the benefit of a plug-in hybrid is that you can travel using electric power for short journeys while also making longer journeys using the engine.

I have a diverse fleet and need multiple vehicle types

Given that a single manufacturer isn’t going to be the answer, our multi-marque approach will simplify the challenging task of working with multiple manufacturers. Whether you’re looking at a partial or full-electric fleet, panel vans, chassis cabs, crew cabs, box vans or dropsides – we will meet your diverse needs in one place.

I don’t know which of my LCVs is suitable to switch for electric

Choosing between fuel types can be complex. Check out our free eLCV-4-Me tool which will help you move forward more decisively and will identify which LCVs are suitable for a switch to electric or hybrid, or whether petrol and diesel are still the best choices. That way you can use EVs in areas of the fleet where they will bring the most benefit.

My drivers are reluctant to switch

For a successful transition, it’s vital to get the right vehicles so you have satisfied drivers. You’ll need a provider who will work with you to understand and address any issues that your drivers may have and identify which vehicles will be the best fit without affecting your business’s day-to-day running.

We also provide free tools, guidance, and support to help educate your drivers and get them ready for the transition. EVs are also extremely pleasant to drive, and in my experience, most are won over once they get behind the wheel.

What about convincing business stakeholders?

You first need to get electrification off the ground with a comprehensive business plan to get your key stakeholders on board.
Some of the key points that should be addressed in your plan include:

  • The total cost of ownership versus fossil fuel vehicles
  • Fuel cost savings
  • Lease cost
  • Servicing and maintenance cost savings
  • CO2 emissions reduction
  • Exemption benefits including congestion zones
  • Charging infrastructure costs
  • EV education for drivers

Check out our free support pack which includes step-by-step guidance and tools to develop cost-saving calculations and a comprehensive presentation deck.

What about charging for our drivers who do not have off-street parking?

Commercial vehicle drivers who don’t have access to off-street parking can be difficult, but there are ways round it.

For example, our Charge&Fuel card can help your fleet manage the payment of electric vehicle charging by unlocking access to thousands of public charge points in the UK & Europe with a single point of payment.

What about the lack of high-speed charging points?

The EV infrastructure is speeding up to keep pace with the increased demand and crucially, ultra-fast charging will soon be widely accessible across the UK. The Electric Vehicle Network and bp pulse have announced plans to roll out rapid charging hubs, with up to 24 ultra-fast chargers (300kW) per site.

How do I start the journey towards an electric LCV fleet?

Receiving practical advice to make sure you are investing in the right change is crucial and we can help in a lot of ways. Every single member of our team has achieved a Galileo Master Certificate (GMC) at the Renewable Energy Institute (REI), which means we can offer tailored support, technical expertise, and reassurance to help you lower carbon emissions while delivering a range of other business benefits too. We also offer several practical tools that can help you assess the benefits.