Fleet News

EV debate heats up

Fleets are being warned against ‘impulse buying’ electric vehicles (EVs) before fully understanding the ability and limitations of the technology.

Six electric vehicles from mainstream vehicle manufacturers are due to be launched in 2011, with a further 10 electric, plug-in or range-extended electric cars expected in 2012.

But with a limited charging infrastructure, poor range compared to hybrids and conventional cars, as well as higher purchase prices, fleets could be buying into technology that is in danger of being superseded within 10 years.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association has urged fleet operators to ensure they make the right choice if they are considering electric vehicles.

John Lewis, chief executive of the BVRLA, said: “BVRLA members can be great advocates for the move to electric motoring, but we need to look beyond the short-term taxpayer-funded incentives and marketing hype surrounding electric vehicles and find some of the answers that will enable early adopters to have the confidence to take on EVs in volume.

“We will see a number of electric evangelists making impulse purchases, but the vast majority of fleets will need reassurance that these vehicles are fit for purpose and that it makes financial sense to run them.”

Norman Baker, undersecretary of state at the Department for Transport, speaking at a recent debate on EVs organised by the Guardian newspaper, said there was a need to ‘decarbonise’ road transport in the UK.

Although fossil fuels were still used in the majority of power stations that feed the national grid, it still meant EVs had lower CO2 emissions than cars with internal combustion engines, Baker said.

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