Big names to gather at Silverstone to push UK EV drive

In the drive to continue the initial success of the UK’s commercial van and truck sector’s CO2 emissions drive, the invitation to this year’s EV and Low CO2 Fleet exhibition has been extended to van owners across the country. This year’s event follows the recent successful fleet management seminar at Silverstone, where the latest developments and innovations towards a smaller carbon footprint in the industry will be showcased.

There is expected to be a little more enthusiasm from the market now that the government have finally announced the list of vans eligible for the plug-in van grant and subsequent cheaper van insurance that’s expected to accompany the ultra-low emission models that qualify.

One pleasing aspect about the deal is that there will be no complicated paperwork to fill out; a statement accompanying the criteria and range for the electric vans incorporated in the green van drive explains that whichever dealer sells the van will handle the registration paperwork and take the discount of at point of purchase. And the saving is not to be sniffed at – with a discount of 20% (up to the value of £8,000), that’s a grand incentive to take the plunge and go electric.

Renault will have a vested interest in this year’s event as they now have production lines rolling ahead of the competition and will want to turn the event to their advantage. We understand that, at the show on April 18th, potential customers will be invited to test drive their award-winning Kangoo ZE. Their investment in mass producing vehicles for this market is driven by their belief that 10% of vehicles on UK roads will be powered by one battery or another within five years. Perhaps this show will shed some light on how likely this outcome will be and exactly what savings insurance firms will be offering to deliver the cheap van insurance that the market is expecting to coincide with the heavily discounted list price.

It is hoped that the event will attract some of the larger companies’ fleet managers. As with many new innovations, the market will move when one of the big names incorporates the change within their business strategy. If serious dents are to be made into the three million unit UK van market by the new Evs, it will be events like this where there is a concentration of field experts to allay any fears that will encourage that shift.

It may seem a long way off at the minute, but if the market can agree on a level for initial outlay and ongoing cost-downs through maintenance and cheaper van insurance, Renault may yet realise their dream.

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