Since the government announced that new cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK from 2030, our Fleet Team have been hard at work looking at which electric van will be the best fit for Axis.
The team started by testing out the Toyota Proace. With a 75KW battery and an 11KW onboard charger, the van has an unladen range of up to 205 miles. It also demonstrated a smooth and quiet drive compared to our petrol or diesel motors. Of course, there are obvious environmental benefits to an electric fleet and a shift away from traditional fuel powers.
Electric vehicles emit far fewer greenhouse gases and air pollutants than their petrol or diesel counterparts, improving air quality within the communities in which we work.1 In over a year, just one electric vehicle on the roads can save an average of 1.5 million grams of CO2. That’s the equivalent of four return flights from London to Barcelona.
There are also big commercial benefits for the business. With a large portion of our contracts based in London; we contend with the Ultra Low Emission Zone daily. If our vehicles do not meet emissions standards, we face a charge of £12.50 every time we enter the zone. It’s a similar story for London’s congestion zone, where electric vehicles are exempt from the charge, which is £15 a day for driving within the Congestion Charge zone.
For Axis, and for our clients, electric vehicles are becoming a requirement. However, there are still some sizable limitations.
One of the main barriers is the infrastructure. According to Government figures (As of 1 July 2021), there were just 24,374 public electric vehicle charging devices available in the UK. This amount means having a fully electric fleet right now wouldn’t be commercially or logistically sustainable. Our operatives might struggle to find a charging point close by, or on the way to a job. If they have to take longer to find a charging point and wait hours to get a full charge, this would compromise Axis’ high standards and ultimately affect residents, who would be waiting longer for repairs.
Yet, the network of EV charging points (which Axis has experience in installing – see our EV projects here), is improving. The government plans to reach 300,000 public EV charge points by 2030 – equivalent to almost 5 times the number of fuel pumps on our roads today. That means charging will become easier, quicker, and cheaper than refuelling a petrol or diesel car. The Fleet team are aiming to switch 10% of their vehicles to electric by 2025, focusing on our London and Liverpool based contracts.
The wheels of this industry are changing quickly, but what’s certain is that Axis is already gearing up for it.