The government must invest in national charging infrastructure if its Clean Van Commitment is to be successful.
This is according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA) – the largest and most influential business organisation in the logistics industry.
Following the launch of the Clean Van Commitment, the FTA said that businesses must be supported in order to successfully switch their vehicles to those that are electrically powered.
One of the other concerns of the FTA is the need to reduce the costs surrounding electric vehicles; businesses – and especially SMEs – have small margins to work within.
If they are to be encouraged to switch to these more environmentally friendly, electric vehicles, the government will need to help with the costs associated, while ensuring there is real investment in charging infrastructure.
On that last point, the government has acted by announcing a multi-million investment programme for electric vehicle charging point infrastructure, during the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Summit in Birmingham.
Fleet operators including Network Rail, Tesco and Anglian Water launched the Clean Van Commitment – backed by the Department for Transport (DfT) – and hopes it will encourage the investment in electric vehicles, while inspiring their adoption in a widespread manner, replacing 18,000 diesel vans on Britain’s roads by 2028.
However, Denise Beedell, Policy Manager for Vans and Urban Transport at FTA, said if the initiative is to be successful, charging infrastructure must be in place.
“The Clean Van Commitment sends a strong signal to the industry: green van fleets are in demand and both drivers and operators are willing to switch to lower emission models.
“While the initiative is a positive step towards reducing emissions levels, our members are concerned that electricity supply to commercial premises needs to be improved if mass numbers of vans are to be able to convert to electric.
“There is currently insufficient charging infrastructure in place for electric vehicles to be adopted on such a large scale.
“And with the higher price of electric models, and no incentive to switch from conventionally fuelled vehicles, there has to be more work done to ensure it is an affordable and realistic option for businesses of all sizes.”