Time to make the switch to Electric LCV? 

With only two to three renewal cycles legally remaining, is it time for your Light Commercial Vehicle fleet to become electric?    

The incoming ban on Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) hits in 2030 and it is driving the adoption of Low-Emission Vehicles: Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrids. This legislative push combined with the growing choice of Electric LCVs has created a major shift in demand and with multiple environmental, employee and business benefits, there are many reasons why now is a perfect time to consider the transition to EV.   

For many, the plethora of grants available within the EV market is pushing forward their decision to turn to eLCVs as when taking into account the financial support available makes the transition much more cost-effective. For example;  

  • Plug-in Electric Vans qualify for the PIVG (Plug-In Van Grant), the Government will pay 35% of the purchase price for vans, up to a maximum of £3,000.  
  • There is a £350 (per socket) contribution available when installing EV charging points, including fast chargers.   
  • The Electric Vehicle Home charge Scheme (EVHS) is a grant that provides up to 75% contribution to the cost of one charge point and its installation of £350”. With 2 chargers per household available, this works well for the van driver who parks his or her van alongside their personal car which allows them to tackle their next working day on a full charge.   

Many businesses for whom running costs are high on the agenda are also turning to eLCVs as like for like mileage is significantly cheaper. EDF energy suggests that the UK electricity price sits at 14p per kWh and if you predict that an electric car will drive 3.5 miles per kWh on average, to travel 100 miles would cost around £4 or 4p per mile. Meanwhile, petrol costs £1.09 per litre for 100 miles it would set you back £9 or 9p per mile. Then, there is everyone’s least favourite subject – tax… but in the case, if e-LCVs tax can be a positive:  

  • Organisations with eLCVs for purely business usage won’t pay BIK as it isn’t a private vehicle.  
  • For eLCVs that are used for personal mile organisations are relieved of 20% of the BIK taxation.  
  • £0 in vehicle tax is paid by organisations on fully electric vans.  

When considering the upfront cost of the vehicles we do of course have to consider that the eLCV is a more expensive option, but with the right vehicle funding solutions and taking advantage of the current incentives, the transition can be made with little to no additional cost.  

Upfront costs aren’t the only concern when deciding if the transition to eLCV is right for your business. The range of vehicles causes anxiety for many drivers. However, eLCV range is approximately 65-120 miles per charge, dependent on the vehicle and driving styles which makes them more than adequate for local drivers and with some minor logistical planning perfectly easy to plan into daily driving routes for those going longer distances.   

The availability of charging points is increasing rapidly, so there are many ways to charge vehicles on route publicly and multiple options for cost-effective implementation of depot charging units. DC rapid chargers can give you an 80% charge between 20-40 minutes – knowing that time is money this could easily be factored into the driver’s rest breaks – killing two birds with one stone.  

Another key factor for consideration when it comes to eLCV is vehicle and haulage weights. eLCVs do, generally, tend to be heavier than their ICE counterparts due to the weight of the battery. So, for some drivers, the additional weight may mean that drivers have to partake in some additional training, although the Department of Transport is also looking at options to resolve payload issues (a potential increase of the 3500kg payload limit to 4000kg for e-LCVs).  

With all of this in mind, let us summarise some of the areas that need to be considered when looking at making the transition for your business:   

  • Daily Mileages – eLVCs range generally starts at around 65 – 120 miles per charge, so any single day trips within this range will fit perfectly in a single charge. A better understanding of driving patterns is essential for success.  
  • Payload – if your vehicles are carrying smaller payloads this will mean there are more options available for you to choose from. Larger payloads will generally reduce your expected range as vehicles are tested with a standard payload, not a full capacity. The heavier your payload the more charging you will need to do. The more charging you are undertaking increases the potential Vehicle off-road time (VOR) and thus reduces efficiency and increases total cost ownership.  
  • Route and infrastructure – Urban vs long-distance driving play an important part of not just your driver planning but also your range planning. Plan a charging stop at a fast-charging point if the distance for the day is over 100-miles. Tracking historic driving patterns of the fleet could be the key to victory.  
  • Charging – What is the WLTP mileage of vehicles? Is there a requirement for charging on the go? Can vehicle charging be achieved in between actions for your customer? Do your company vans go home with drivers at night? Not all private residencies provide opportunities for home charging however, charging locator Apps like Zap-Map amongst others are a key tool.  
  • Smart recommended strategy – most businesses dip a toe into the electric market, to begin with. A test role out is a sensible option and one to be encouraged. In your fleet are there routes or contracts which would be suitable for an EV? This would be the ideal first opportunity to introduce eLCVs to your fleet and could be the first step to the future.  

If you would like to weigh up your fleet’s options, why not give us a call at JCT600 VLS where our e-VLS consultancy team will provide you with the guidance you need to make sure you are making the switch at the right time for your fleet.