Couriers: Time To Ditch The Diesel?

Couriers: Time To Ditch The Diesel?

Diesel vehicles – be they vans, cars or trucks – have been the norm for most couriers for years, but in recent years they have come in for a lot of criticism and a lot of extra costs. Between excise duty rises – and look out for more of those in the Budget – the introduction of extra charges that affect the cost of running a diesel, such as London’s T-Charge and Islington’s £2 per day parking surcharge for diesels, they’re starting to become far less economical. Indeed, if we look to the longer term then the question as to whether couriers need to ditch the diesel starts to become compelling. The government have already announced plans to ban diesels by 2040, and with cities such as London and Oxford already having plans for clean air zones which diesels will be banned from entering.

Even vehicle manufacturers are starting to turn their backs on them. KMPG’s 2017 fleet industry survey that revealed that 67% of motor manufacturer executives believe that diesel technology is a thing of the past and 93% are planning to invest in electric fleet car technology in the next five years. Businesses such as Royal Mail, BT and DHL have started investing in electric delivery vehicles and as public pressure for clean air grows, so it seems that diesels are, in the medium-term at least, doomed.

In this latest blog from Coversure Redditch, the courier insurance specialists, we’ll look at the practicalities of ditching the diesel in favour of an electric vehicle, what the implications are for courier insurance and look at the financial help that’s available to couriers who are looking to go green.

Electric Vehicles For Couriers: The Advantages…

While many would argue that the main reason to switch to an electric vehicle is to reduce emissions – electric vehicles are up to by 40% less polluting – and so help save the planet, for a courier business the argument has to be economic. There are some great business reasons for making the switch, including;

  • Fuel savings – a British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) report found that electric vehicles cost between 2p and 4p a mile to run. This compares to around 12p per mile for the equivalent diesel. That’s some saving and a potentially massive competitive advantage
  • Tax refunds – that there are enhanced capital allowances available for electric vehicles which means that you can relieve the cost of an electric car or van against taxable profits in the year of acquisition
  • Grants toward the cost of a new van – you can get a grant of up to 20% off the cost of an electric van, and up to 75% of the cost of installing a charge point in your place of business
  • Congestion charges and access – ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) are currently exempt from charges such as the congestion charge and with many cities looking to create clean air zones that will effectively be closed to diesels, then you may be able to gain an advantage over your competitors as you can deliver to places they can’t

Electric Vehicles For Couriers – The Disadvantages…

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and in the case of electric vehicles and couriers there are some big issues that still need to be addressed;

  • Vehicle range – an electric Nissan Leaf van will do up to 155 miles on a single charge. Not too bad, and if you’re a courier who does lots of local jobs in a city or built-up urban area where charging points are plentiful then that could be far enough. If, however, your deliveries take you into rural areas where charging points are few, then range could be a problem – especially given vans such as transits can go more than double that distance on a single tank of diesel. To be fair ranges are rising all the time. Tesla’s new truck will manage a whopping 500 miles on a single charge and as battery technology improves this will become less and less of an issue
  • Lack of van choice – more and more manufacturers are bringing out electric vans, but the range isn’t as wide as for traditionally fuelled vehicles and couriers don’t have the same level of flexibility in terms of size and models
  • Van costs – at the moment they are more expensive to buy and in the cut-throat world that is the courier industry, cost counts. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) analysts predict that by 2022 electric vehicles will be cheaper, but that just means that those buying now are liable to see lower re-sale values when they come to sell
  • Refuelling times – as a courier, time is money and having to wait for hours to charge your vehicle isn’t really an option, you need to fill and go. However, the recent deal struck between ChargePoint Services and the Motor Fuel Group will see a further 400 fast charge points installed in petrol stations which will mean this too is a declining issue.

Courier Insurance: More Or Less?

Courier insurance costs are a big concern for any courier company or courier driver. Presently, given the newness of the electric van insurance market, quotes are slightly higher than for standard courier van insurance. That said as adoption grows and more insures offer policies, these costs will come down. The best thing to do if you are considering getting an electric vehicle and would like an electric courier insurance quote, is talk to us.

Diesels Are Dead: Long Live Electric Courier Vehicles?

Between the government – both local and national – manufacturers and the public at large, it’s hard to see diesels being on our roads much longer. Concerns over health and clean air are just too strong and the recent VW scandal has rocked people’s belief in the sector. Electric vehicles may not be the answer today, but in the coming years it looks pretty safe to say that we’ll all be having our deliveries made by couriers in electrically powered vehicles.

Like To Know More About Electric Car Insurance?

If you would like to know more about courier insurance – be it for an electric or traditionally powered van – or would like some help getting the courier insurance that’s right for you, then please contact us by calling us on Redditch (01527) 757 585, email us by clicking here or request a no-obligation courier insurance quote here.

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