There is room in the electric van market for one fearless distributor in the UK to grab the bull by the horns and run with the product whilst the rest of the industry is still deliberating its worth. The fact that an investment of such magnitude is required when both the EV market and global economy look far from certain may be the stumbling block that has stopped anyone presenting themselves as a bookies favourite, thus far.
The market is crying out for just this type of investment as the government has recently confirmed that the discountable value from the list price stands at £5,000, claimable as a grant from the Department of Transport. The long term savings, both for the environment as well as relieving constraints on the fleet budget will soon be realised. Fuel has been quoted at being in the region of £0.03-£0.05/mile, depending on the load the van is carrying and it is hoped that the van insurance brokers will offer cheap cover as the ownership of the battery, one of the main components as far as cost is concerned, is retained by the factory and under a warranty that they do not necessarily have to cover within the base policy document. Details can get complicated because of this and the market has not yet erupted as was initially hoped, as per government intervention with the massive grants they are offering for any organisations looking to invest in electric vans and the environment.
However, there is a voice from the valleys that is looking both to be heard and, possibly, attract a little moral and/or financial support to boost his pitch. Entrepreneur Iain Falconer has made his interests clear and is dangling eighty-five jobs as a carrot to aid his cause in becoming the leading UK supplier of commercial electric vehicles. So far, his cries have enticed three manufacturers around the table.
It would take someone with Falconer’s knowledge of the automotive industry to make this work, given the particulars of the way things look like panning out in the EV market. Namely, the forerunners so far, namely Renault who are starting to see their first batches roll off the lines in production capacity, are selling the majority of their Kangoo ZE vans but retaining ownership of the batteries and leasing that particular component. It was the assembly of batteries to chassis’ were Falconer gained his market experience. With the Welsh Government nearing completion of suitable facilities in Minffordd, the timing couldn’t be better.