GoinGreen, a provider of electric vehicles, is suggesting that a dramatic shift in focus towards the commercial sector is needed in order to drive the development of electric vehicle technology.
Ian Hobday, GoinGreen’s chief executive, claims that commercial fleets will benefit most from implementing green vehicles and, due to the nature of their journeys, traditional concerns about range anxiety shouldn’t be an issue.
“The focus should have been on fleet from the beginning, in particular utility and delivery companies that drive shorter, regular journeys and return on site every night,” Hobday said.
And while there may be some truth in his claims, they are set against a picture of complete apathy in the commercial sector for the introduction of electric vehicles in to their fleets. This was highlighted as recently as September when the Transport Select Committee criticised the DfT’s Plug-in Vehicle Grant scheme that saw just 99 applications from the commercial sector.
This apathy is driven, in part, by the aforementioned range anxiety but it seems the cost of electric vehicles is an even greater barrier to their uptake. Despite industry claims, even with the £5000 Plug-in Vehicle grant, the short & medium term costs of an electric van are still extremely high compared to their petrol & diesel equivalents.
All of which leaves us stuck in a chicken & egg situation. Until the cost of vehicles is reduced and their range is increased, it’s unlikely that consumers will want to adopt them – but equally until there is a greater consumer demand, it seems manufacturers are unlikely to make the investments needed to improve the technology and reduce the costs.