Electric vehicles aren’t quite a brand-new thing here in the UK. Smaller, light commercial electric vehicles are already being used to make hundreds of thousands of deliveries all across the UK. Producing zero tailpipe emissions, and dodging air-quality and traffic-congestion charges thanks to government incentives, these electric light commercial vehicles have quickly become the favoured choice for many firms.
Now though, the market for electric vehicles is evolving. In fact, we’re proving that ourselves here at CoolKit, as we work to enhance our existing range of fridge and freezer vans with newer, all-electric models. Heavier vans with bigger payload capacities are increasingly in demand in the UK as newer roles steadily develop for them, paving the way for even further growth of the electric vehicle industry.
One of the most visible current obstacles to the widespread adoption of electric vans is mainly to do with range. By some estimates, the range of many electric vans is somewhere between 50 and 80 miles. (The exact distance can be affected by weather and climate, and whether or not the van is fully loaded.) For many, it makes regular long-distance deliveries impractical for the time being, but don’t rule out electric vans entirely just yet!
Many businesses are finding ways for them to excel in certain circumstances, particularly in urban areas and last-mile deliveries. This makes them especially valuable to small businesses with a highly local customer base, sparing them from having to worry about the logistics of long-distance deliveries. Equally, with the growing prevalence of online grocery shopping, large supermarket chains can use electric versions of vehicles like the Ford Transit to make deliveries to customers inside a certain radius.
Manufacturers have already started to capitalise on these markets, and have begun to develop and introduce larger plug-in models to complement the already widespread smaller electric commercial vehicles. This is good news no matter which way you look at it – bigger vehicles with greater payloads have the potential to accelerate the number of electric models in use by larger delivery companies, which typically favour big vans.
Some electric vans don’t even need to leave the business’ premises to be useful. A notable high-profile example can be found in Alliance Healthcare Boots in Nottingham, whose 55-acre site has been described as almost being like a town in itself. The electric vehicles here don’t go off-site, but instead ferry goods and services around to different departments of the business within their own premises. Several UK power stations are amongst those considering similar schemes – it’s an attractive option because of its ability to streamline costs, increase intra-site efficiency, and all at a minimal cost to the environment. Mobile canteens and on-site catering supplies exemplify another of the sorts of valuable roles that electric refrigerated vehicles can serve, even when they’re not ‘out on the road’ as such.
And of course, there’s the social value. Public sentiment is becoming more environmentally aware than ever, meaning businesses can reap tangible rewards from creating a ‘greener’ image for themselves. This makes electric vehicles – and similarly environmentally-friendly measures – a valuable early investment.
What’s more, there’s growing support for the infrastructure, both nationally and globally. Just two years ago in 2016, the UK government pledged to pour £35million into the ultra-low emissions sector. Even more recently, at this year’s Detroit Auto Show in January 2018, manufacturing giant Ford announced details of an £8billion investment into electric cars over the course of the next five years. Electric vehicles are becoming an ever-more tangible future for many businesses – the only question that remains is how quickly the technology will progress!
We’re certainly doing our part here at CoolKit. You may have already seen our last post about how we’re electrifying the CoolKit Fridge Van Conversions. We’ll soon be taking delivery of our first all-new Renault Master ZE to market, so watch this space! In the meantime, you can browse our range of new and used refrigerated vans here, or get advice on purchasing by ringing our sales hotline on 0808 278 3553.