Logistics UK has said that in order for fleets in the commercial sector to meet the 2050 net zero target, more government help is going to be needed in order to successfully decarbonise operations.
New Electric Vehicle Report
At the beginning of May, the organisation published an Electric Vehicle Report for 2023, which highlighted just how little fiscal support there is and how the electric charging network is massively inadequate. The knock-on effect of this drives down confidence for commercial operators to change their fleets over to electric vehicles. In 2019 just 0.3% of vehicles in UK van fleets were made up of electric-powered vehicles. It really hasn’t improved that much, and in 2022, it has only risen to 0.9%. This is thought to be down to some major issues which Logistics UK have uncovered by talking to fleet owners.
The Intention is Good
When questioned about their intent, over 62% of UK businesses, which is around two-thirds, want to decarbonise their vehicles by 2030. But most were keen to point out that there are still some massive hurdles in the way in order that they may meet the 2050 target. Speaking on behalf of the trade body, the chief executive, David Wells, said, “The logistics sector is fully aware of its responsibilities to decarbonise and is keen to do so. However, with respondents reporting wide-ranging costs to upgrade their energy supplies to depots – between £100,000 and over £1 million – a lack of meaningful scrappage schemes, acquisition costs on the rise and volatile energy prices, it is an uphill battle that cannot continue without increased support from Government. Our industry operates on very narrow margins of around 1%, and with significant inflationary pressures, increased wage bills and the rise in total road vehicle operating costs, logistics businesses need supportive fiscal measures to be able to upgrade their fleets and energy supplies without having to pass on increased costs to customers.”
Problems with Cost and Charging
He went on to explain that one of the biggest problems is electric vehicle charging while on the move. It was the singular most frustrating element according to Fleet operators who do already use electric vehicles. Finding enough space to charge their vehicles was bad enough, but worse than that, they were often encountering broken chargers that simply were not working. In his opinion, Wells said that the need for an electric vehicle charging roadmap needed to become a top priority. The second biggest concern is how available or affordable it is for companies to source and replace their vehicles. Many already have functioning diesel vehicles that they simply cannot afford to write off and scrap in order to replace them with electric alternatives. Wells said, “The lifecycle of a vehicle is carefully worked into any logistics business’ budget to ensure continuity while keeping costs down.” They also spoke of concerns about the lack of viable scrappage schemes to support those looking to transfer to electric vehicles sooner rather than later.