Fuel and van insurance savings ok but more chargers please

In a recent statement by Schneider Electric, national EV business manager David Greaves, the multi-national conglomerate is right behind the government’s recent announcement of offering up to £8,000 off the list price off one of seven makes of electric van, trumping the figure dangled as the carrot for domestic drivers by 60%.

However, the lack of plug-in top-up chargers is a very real consideration and may be counter productive in the big scheme of the government initiative until it irons out that very big crease. There are plusses and minuses for both car and van drivers aside from the issue that both will qualify for either cheaper car or van insurance by going ultra-marine green in their driving

Car drivers do tend to drive less miles and their routes are, give or take, fixed five days a week. The school and place of work never get any further away from home then they were when you went to bed last night.

Business customers, however, if the sales team are doing anything like a decent job, can come from anywhere. For a rep going into a new lead, only to be told when they get back to the office that the customer cannot be serviced because the vans won’t make it there and back on one charge, is as big a downer than someone who doesn’t think like a rep on commission (and they do think very differently) would believe.

On the opposite side of that coin, commercial vehicle drivers will see more of a benefit from the fuel savings that are forecast by adopting electric vans, as well as the expectation of greater savings by taking out multiple cheap van insurance policies, than the domestic driver. And the savings keep topping up for those who convert more of their range to electric power.

Due to the engine efficiency needed to deliver zero emissions, it is perceived that there will be less time off road for maintenance, especially where the battery is concerned. One of the quirks of the sales structure that all manufacturers and dealers of the EV range is adopting is that the manufacturer retains ownership of the battery at all times; the van owner leases the battery in a win-win situation. The manufacturer gets constant income and the worry of maintenance is never a concern of the van owner nor their insurance broker, which is one of the reasons that cheap van insurance is associated with the electric van range.

Predictions are, in the short term, that smaller organisations who have a very local customer base, or franchises that are part of national chain and look solely after the customers that fall within their boundary, will be the first to jump on the EV bandwagon. This will depend upon having adequate numbers of top-up charging points to really swing the deal – fuel savings and cheap van insurance will not be enough in their own rite; last year, installation was woeful against the target number of 4,700 EV charging points, achieving the grand total of 704 that were fully functional.

If the government is serious, it will have to do a whole lot better than that to convince both the public and industry that they can genuinely get behind the green van revolution and achieve the downsized carbon footprint required.

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