UK must invest in electric charging infrastructure for Clean Van Commitment to work

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Switching deliveries to electric vehicles will only be achieved if significant investment is made in the national charging infrastructure and the costs of electric vehicles is reduced significantly, according to Britain’s largest and most influential business organisation in the logistics sector. According to FTA, which represents more than 17,000 business across the industry, the Government’s Clean Van Commitment, to be launched this week (w.c 10 September 2018) must support business in switching its vehicles to electrically powered ones.

Sixteen of the UK’s fleet operators, including FTA members Tesco, Network Rail and Anglian Water, will launch the new scheme at the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Birmingham tomorrow. Backed by the Department of Transport, the coalition hopes to encourage manufacturers to increase investment in electric vehicles and inspire their widespread adoption and commit to replace 18,000 diesel vans on Britain’s roads with electric vehicles by 2028.

Denise Beedell, Policy Manager for Vans and Urban Transport at FTA commented: “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. As a sector, logistics is making many positive changes to its environmental impact, and FTA is proud to see so many of its members have joined the coalition.  These businesses are leading the sector in environmentally-friendly initiatives, but to achieve significant breakthrough across the industry, there must be more commitment and support from government.  FTA is keen to work with government and operators to ensure that the vans sector can continue to deliver for British business and industry while achieving significant reductions in emissions and other environmental impacts.”

“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.”