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5 February 2024
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Vehicle choice tops concerns for van fleets over going electric

Northgate's EV roadshow finds fleets more concerned about electric vehicle choice and availability than range; focus on reducing emissions.


Fleets are more worried about vehicle choice and availability on their road to electrification rather than range, according to findings from Northgate’s EV roadshow surveys. Reducing carbon emissions is also a major priority according to operators as Northgate has surveyed visitors to its latest EV roadshow event in Bristol.

Aimed at gauging perception of fleet electrification, Bristol fleets showed that while more than 40% of drivers are worried about the suitability of eLCVs for their business activities, a greater percentage (57%) are worried about the choice and availability of eLCVs.

Meanwhile, nearly 50% of fleets questioned said the main reason for electrifying their fleets was to reduce carbon emissions. The consultation has also revealed that while carrying capacity is often considered crucial by fleet managers and that eLCVs are perceived to lack the necessary payloads to fulfil their duties, in reality, Northgate’s research shows most vans are never driven with their maximum payload, or even a full cargo.

When we dig into the usage of a fleet’s vehicles in greater detail, what we have found is that while the majority of our customers have always specified 3.5-tonne GVW vans in actual fact, the majority of drivers rarely use their vehicle’s capacity to the full. This negates any fears around the diminished payload of eLCVs and in some cases, means drivers can shift to a smaller vehicle with no impact to their daily working lives

said Melanie Creedy, Northgate’s EV business development manager.

Bristol with its Low Emission Zone has proved to be an interesting testbed for electrification, as a commuter hub from some of the more rural areas of the UK means that some drivers are travelling long distances before they arrive at work in their vans. In this instance, Northgate may recommend remaining in an ICE vehicle. If, however, as is likely, a driver is doing much lower mileage in an inner city, it could be a simple process to adopt an eLCV instead.

Northgate’s EV roadshows saw 56 fleets begin the process of EV adoption in 2023, and an 84% year-on-year increase in eLCVs on its fleet as a result.

It’s crucial to begin such a change by understanding the actual usage of each vehicle on a fleet as well as the mileage and driving patterns of every driver. This highlights discrepancies between a fleet’s assumed usage and mileage, and the reality

Creedy added.

Northgate’s nationwide EV roadshow programme has allowed fleets up and down the country to talk to experts, ask questions and, importantly, test drive a range of vehicles from popular fleet EVs such as the MG4, through to eLCVs and even e-bikes, in a low-pressure environment.

Once a fleet’s usage has been analysed, it soon becomes clear which internal combustion vehicles can be immediately exchanged for eLCVs and which should be exchanged when vehicles with a higher range become available. Northgate can provide eLCVs on a trial basis, without the need for a longer-term commitment and these can be provided with Northgate’s EV and Charging Bundle, giving drivers access to a wide range of vehicles and a home charger all in one rental.

In addition, Northgate can offer full home or workplace charging infrastructure through ChargedEV and EV charging cards for charging on the go.


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