Anyone involved in courier work in any capacity couldn’t help but be aware of the growing urgency for businesses to make the switch to a more sustainable fleet of vehicles. As one of the major contributing industries to the carbon emissions problem, there’s no time to waste.
Making the Switch
Despite the pressure to change to plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles, as a responsible fleet manager you need to do your research and understand the pros, cons, challenges and benefits before making what is often a major financial investment. One important thing to remember is that small efforts go a long way in terms of reducing emissions. Even if you can only make a gradual change, by replacing a certain number of vehicles each year, this is a positive step.
Here are some of the things to consider.
Without a doubt this is one of the major considerations a fleet manager must deal with. Certainly an EV is more expensive to purchase than one that runs on traditional fuel, but you need to factor in other cost-savings in order to get the true picture. Remember:
•You’ll save on fuel
•There are government grants on offer
•You make savings on vehicle taxes and MOTs
A company that does courier work generally has to be adaptable and agile, so you’ll need to weigh up whether the EVs currently on the market actually fit your needs. You may need to consider a mix of models so you can make sure your ability to service your customers doesn’t suffer. This is something you need to review regularly, however, as technology is evolving at a rapid rate.
Clean Air Zones
With the implementation of CAZs becoming a looming reality around the country, the cost of non-compliant vehicles is set to make a huge difference to your business’s operating costs. For those who continue to use non Euro 6 compliant vehicles to do courier work, expensive daily fees through city centres are going to be unavoidable. Switching to an electric or hybrid fleet could save many thousands of pounds annually.
The technology of EVs has come ahead in leaps and bounds over the past few years, so their range has been extended dramatically – up to 180 miles on one full charge. For companies who only take on courier work in the city centre, range might not be such an issue, but for those who take on longer journeys it’s an important consideration.
Access to Charging Points
Following on from the above point, the good news is that the infrastructure supporting charging points around the UK is improving all the time. More are popping up every day and there are easy ways of finding their locations by using one of the readily available apps. As well as using public charging schemes (some of which require registration) many companies running electric fleets provide their drivers with a home charging point. Government grants are available to help with the cost of installing these.
Transitioning from a fleet of traditionally fuelled vehicles to EVs is something every courier work business will need to start considering in the very near future. While the switch is inevitable, it will be much smoother and more successful if you do your research and weigh up all the points mentioned above.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Numerous transport exchange businesses are networked together on their website, trading jobs and capacity through what is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.
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