In July 2019 we purchased a Renault Kangoo ZE, a 100% Electric Vehicle to undertake our own deliveries in the City and around the greater London area. We did this because we were having issues with the courier companies we used, they could be very unreliable at times and running the risk of tarnishing our reputation. Picking up late and sometimes cancelling and then not being able to deliver on time was truly exasperating. We have always made our own local deliveries on foot and often using a trolley if the clients were close enough and weather permitting. So, driven by this and in the interest of offering our clients an even better more responsive service I investigated electric vehicles.
There are many benefits of running an Electric Vehicle for business or even pleasure…
- There are government incentives for EVs, currently if you buy a van you can get a grant of 20% of the purchase price, up to a maximum of £8000. For cars you get 35% grant but only up to a maximum of £3500.
- There are also possibilities of help towards the cost of installing charging points at work and at home.
- EVs are exempt from the ever expanding Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
- Also exempt from the Congestion charge (although they take £10 from you for registering)
- No Vehicle License tax for EVs (at the moment) but gradually with the growing number of EVs this is likely to change.
- My Business Parking permit for Tower Hamlets is £10 per year for my van, a petrol van would be about £596 and if Diesel just add on a surcharge of £25.
- Running cost of EVs vs petrol is about a 1/4 cheaper per mile.
- They produce lower emissions than petrol/diesel vehicles and are generally quieter.
- Having Green Credentials will demonstrate you are environmentally sustainable.
However, nothing is perfect, there are some downsides…
- Currently there are not enough charging points for the growing number of EVs and the supplier’s charges can differ dramatically.
- The range of EV’s are not as good as petrol/diesel vehicles (but this is improving). Our van in the summer it manages about 170 miles but in the winter only about 125, the batteries do not perform so well in the cold!
- EV’s still produce particulate pollution from tyres and brakes.
- Producing EVs and the batteries are still energy intensive, possibly more than a fossil fuel version.
- Concerns over battery life and being expensive to replace.
- Costs, charges, taxes will rise as more and more EVs hit the road.
So why NOW?
If you have never driven an Electric Vehicle, and I mean the modern road going type, not the funfair bumper cars or rickety old milk floats, then you should give it a try. Check out the Go Ultra Low website for details of all the available EV’s and Hybrids on the market and includes loads of information about moving to an EV. Try a test drive, EVs’ are fun and easy to operate, just like an automatic, they are responsive, smooth and the acceleration is quick, even on our van (if you turn off the economy mode).
One pang of guilt niggles me, we didn’t replace a gas guzzler, we actually added to the congestion! A paradox in some ways but it did seem a good move for the company in terms of being green, offering a better service and the ad-van-tage of being able to advertise while making deliveries.
Whether it may be for your business or personal use I believe it is the way forward and if you can, try to jump on the Electric Band Wagon sooner rather than later.