British firms using electric vans (EVs) say they are experiencing serious problems over where they can be charged while undertaking longer journeys. Now, in a bid to overcome this barrier against adopting zero emission vehicles, the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) says it is looking into how businesses can make their own chargers available to other organisations on a reciprocal basis.
It comes after more than half of van fleets said they would consider sharing on-site electric vehicle charging infrastructure with other operators.
The survey, commissioned by the AFP last year, revealed that almost two-thirds (62%) of fleets would consider co-operative agreements with other fleets to allow mutual access to depot infrastructure and 58% their public facilities.
AFP chair, Paul Hollick, said:
Charging has emerged a key issue for those operating electric vans, whether that means finding power as part of a planned route that exceeds the vehicle’s range, overnight to ensure a van is ready for the following day or in a part of the country where charging facilities are scarce.
Many fleet operators can see the potential for sharing their infrastructure on this basis and what we are aiming to do with a new committee is work out the practicalities of such arrangements and how the AFP can work as a facilitator.
The committee will map those companies interested in taking part and examine questions around accessibility to chargers, booking charge times and how electricity would be paid for.
These are all highly practical issues and what we want to do is try to arrive at solutions that mean shared charging can be accessed and paid for easily with the minimum of work.
“If it becomes too onerous for the companies involved, our view is that they won’t want to take part. The whole idea relies on ease of use.
The AFP is keen to hear from fleets who would like to be involved both in the new committee and the wider shared charging initiative.
A key part of our initial activities will simply be to work out whether it looks as though there are enough fleets interested in shared charging on a national basis to make the whole initiative viable, so we need anyone who is interested to get in touch as soon as possible
The AFP says fleets have placed van electrification at the top of their agenda for the year ahead but face several challenges in deploying the zero-emission vehicles.
Issues around payload, range and charging were proving particularly difficult for some businesses to overcome.