The construction industry is increasingly showing its concern about the environment by transitioning to more environmentally friendly practices. The UK government is beginning to pass legislation that stipulates construction firms should use green practices within their production process – but what about their fleets? Should they be green too?
For business owners, a fleet of reliable vehicles is a vital cog in the smooth running of their business. However, electric vehicles have previously had a level of stigma attached – a smaller mileage range, longer time taken to recharge and less charging points than petrol stations. But, the market is evolving, and with it comes improvements for electric vehicles.
After a record year in 2017, electric vehicles have remained in the spotlight thanks to the rising attention on the UK’s poor air quality. With air pollutions levels high throughout the UK, the government has committed to plans to ensure they reduce the level of pollution by 2040. With significant developments in the electric vehicle market, and as plans from the government begin to get rolled out across the country, now could be the perfect time for the construction industry to start operating with an electric fleet. Van Monster, retailers of used vans, explain why.
A successful year
By the end of 2017, there were approximately 132,000 new electric car registrations and over 5,100 electric vans. The figures mark 2017 as a record year for new registrations in the EV market, averaging over 4,000 new registrations a month. This could be attributed to the government’s plans to clean up the UK’s air quality, or because there is now a better choice for van drivers and fleet managers.
2018 looks positive too, with progress expected to continue regarding the improvements of air pollution – ignorance and a lack of knowledge is no longer an excuse. In previous years, there has been a limited choice for electric van drivers but there is now more choice than ever before. Most big automotive brands who have a recognisable name in the electric vehicle market, have a van counterpart on the market too – Nissan, Renault, Peugeot and Mercedes to name a few.
The electric vehicle market has faced many challenges over the years – with many drivers criticising the number of charging points, the time it takes to charge EVs and the mileage. However, new developments suggest that the market could have finally beaten some of the challenges.
With a rapid charging point, it is now possible to charge an electric vehicle in just 20 minutes. We predict that more rapid charging points will need to be installed across the UK to keep up with the demand and appeal to drivers who need a quick charge. Thanks to a multimillion pound deal with ChargePoint back in May 2017, InstaVolt are installing at least another 3,000 rapid charging points across fuel station forecourts across the UK. In addition, researchers claim they could have developed an ‘instantly rechargeable’ method that recharges an electric battery in the same time as it would take to fill a gas tank – a solution to the biggest headache of electric vehicles.
Nissan are tackling the limited mileage range head on, introducing their new Nissan Leaf model with double the mileage range compared to previous models – a significant indicator that the same can done in the pipeline for their electric van counterpart.
Tackling UK air pollution
The target has been set, and the plan of action is starting to take form, as the UK government move towards implementing their plans to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040. In the lead up to 2040, the UK are introducing clean air zones into the worst polluted cities in the UK. London and Oxford are amongst cities which are introducing Ultra Low Emission Zones and Zero Emission Zones to improve their air quality. Oxford plan to be the first zero emission city in the world by 2020. Other cities such as Leeds, Southampton and Derby are also amongst the cities who plan to introduce clean air zones in their city centres. The construction industry throughout the western world depends on cheap crude oil for use within their manufacturing processes and the machines – because of this, construction accounts for 50% of all carbon emissions produced in the UK by machinery and production.
The new scheme will originally be rolled out only in the worst polluted cities as a trial, but will affect a large number of vehicles. Vehicles which don’t abide by the zone’s emission standards will be required to pay a daily access charge to drive in the zone – failure to pay the daily toxin charges can result in a penalty charge being issued to the driver or registered owner of the vehicle. Although, it has not yet been announced what these zones will mean for commercial vehicles right now, in the near future it is likely that the charges will be applied to all vehicles. Introducing electric vans to your construction fleet could be your way of giving back to the environment. Not only will you avoid toxin charges when driving in clean air zones, it will also help the industry get recognition for becoming environmentally friendly. An ultra- low emission or zero emission vehicle will be able to drive freely throughout the zones without daily charges.