Over the past few years, there’s been so much hype and genuine innovation surrounding the advent of electric vehicles (EVs), and it’s left more than a few heads (and tyres) spinning in the delivery industry. In fact, recent figures from manufacturer Kia Motors UK show that the tide has definitely turned, and switching to electric is now, if not quite the norm, certainly well on its way to being so. |
According to Kia’s 2019 Fleet Green Perspectives Report, there’s been an increase of 27% in the uptake of EV vehicles in UK fleets in the past year. Of the 150 fleet managers surveyed for the report, 87% agreed they were seeing an increased demand for this kind of vehicle.
While the increase is an impressive figure, the status quo is even more interesting when you break it down to the number of fleets currently making use of EVs or plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) – which is now 65%, according to the survey.
The prevalent reason managers cited for the switch was the environmental aspect (49%), but there’s also the issue of efficiency and, of course, the legal requirements that will be coming into effect in the future.
Change is Good, But…
EVs and PHEVs have become far more mainstream and the public perception of them has been amplified in accordance with growing environmental concerns. However, along with the positivity and acceptance, according to the survey there are still a few setbacks for some companies adopting an electric fleet to transport their courier loads. These include:
• Lack of appropriate infrastructure (charging stations) • Slowness in charging times • Battery life • Initial expense
It seems there is still some work to be done to convince certain fleet managers to make a complete transition, but with increased demand, pressure from changing public attitudes and local government recognition of the need to upgrade and expand charging infrastructure throughout the UK, industry experts are confident they’ll get there. In fact, the predictions for an increase in the uptake of EVs in the delivery industry in 2019 are even better than the previous twelve months.
Looking to the Future with Confidence
Fleet managers are bound by their duty not just to the environment but also their bottom line, however figures from the Kia survey show a willingness to look to the future with confidence. A surprising 62% indicated that they believe that improvements in battery technology and the nationwide network of charging stations will be sufficient to facilitate their investment in an EV fleet within between two and five years.
When the first electric delivery vehicles were introduced to the market, it seemed like pie in the sky that some day all courier loads would end up in the back of one of those futuristic vans. Today, however, with stringent legislation surrounding the clean air agenda, it’s not just a reality – it’s a certainty. In the UK, more and more courier loads are being transported by delivery businesses using EVs and the number is only set to climb. Slow as it’s been on the uptake, as the Kia survey shows, it’s time to get ready for the revolution.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier loads in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.
Related Articles -