Close Brothers Vehicle Hire is part of our Invoice Finance & Rentals Division. They share their views below on the current use and adoption of alternative Fuel commercial vehicles.
Although alternative fuel commercial vehicles still represent only a fraction of sales in the UK, recent growth in the adoption of these vehicles is very encouraging. Zero emission cars, vans and trucks have a positive impact on the environment and, of course, have commercial advantages due to their lower tax and fuel charges with them.
However, there is recognition that within the Transport industry that there are several factors that concern operators and therefore create a hesitancy towards adoption. Specific to electric vehicles, is the concern around the introduction, management and access to a charging infrastructure, especially within most of the inner cities. The other key concern around the necessary and inevitable transition within the industry is the commercial impact to the operators of the required transition.
It is strongly felt that that potential legislation currently in place to introduce “clean air zones” and eliminate diesel vehicles from our roads may not be aligned to the ability of the industry to absorb the cost of adoption and furthermore a real concern around the manufacturers to deliver product in line with laid out government timelines.
To encourage the alternative fuel revolution, it is vital that the government invests in a suitable and manageable infrastructure with sufficient promotion and incentives for these commodities.
Accepting that electric vehicles are currently at the forefront of the alternative fuel revolution, there is a growing awareness that the long term solution cannot be reliant on electric vehicles in isolation. Therefore, the current research and development into products such as “hydrogen fuelled vehicles” will be imperative if we are to have a satisfactory solution that is commercially acceptable, practical and more importantly, sustainable.
Sales of electric vehicles reached a record high last month, accounting for one in every 12 new cars purchased in the UK. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars made up 8% of the overall market.