A boom in home deliveries has raised fears about congestion and the impact on air quality, according to new research from LeasePlan.
The research, commissioned by LeasePlan and carried out by leading global research firm Ipsos, surveyed over 5,000 drivers in 22 countries, including 253 in the UK.
As a result of the pandemic, UK respondents say they are more likely to use online shopping and opt for home delivery for essential products (44%) as well as discretionary spending (62%), bolstering demand for light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and electric LCV (eLCV) delivery vehicles.
UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations rose for the third consecutive month in November, up 8.8% in the month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
It says that the sector has been responding to growing demand as businesses have scaled up online delivery operations through the pandemic.
"OEMs are making more electric delivery vehicles than ever before," Mark Lovett, LeasePlan UK
Almost half of respondents (46% in the UK, 47% globally) to the LeasePlan study say they are worried about increased congestion and pollution from delivery vehicles in a post-pandemic world.
However, encouragingly, a vast majority of delivery drivers across the world are willing to switch to zero-emission electric LCVs (75%) to reduce pollution, while almost two thirds (61%) are also willing to share their LCVs with other businesses to reduce congestion.
Mark Lovett, head of commercial vehicles at LeasePlan UK, said: “LCVs have never been more important; any retail company that wants to be successful in the new normal will require a fleet of LCVs to meet the booming demand for online shopping and last-mile delivery.
“But this demand has to be met responsibly, and concerns about congestion and pollution from delivery vehicles need to be addressed.
“The good news is that OEMs are making more electric delivery vehicles than ever before, so in 2021 there’s no excuse not to swap the white van for a green van and make each and every delivery zero-emission.”
The LeasePlan research also found that seven in 10 (70%) UK drivers (65% globally) are much less likely to use public transportation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and almost three quarters (72% and 76% globally) are more likely to use their own private car going forward.
Most respondents (79% in the UK and globally) say the pandemic has made them more aware of the safety and comfort of having their own vehicle.
"This report shows how significantly the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken up our industry," Alfonso Martinez, LeasePlan UK
Improved air quality was experienced by many at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as a result more than two in five (42%) UK respondents (47% globally) are much more likely to switch to a zero-emission electric vehicle (EV) in the future to reduce their own carbon footprint.
Similarly, almost half (48%) of UK respondents (53% globally) say they are now taking climate change more seriously as a global threat.
Alfonso Martinez, managing director of LeasePlan UK, said: “This report shows how significantly the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken up our industry.
“On one hand, the safety of having a private vehicle lies at the heart of comfort and reassurance during these times, and on the other, drivers are more eco-conscious than ever.
“With this in mind, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the answer lies with electric vehicles.
“It’s therefore vital that decision makers globally respond to this heightened demand by investing in long-term EV incentives and charging infrastructure.
“Everyone should have the ability to go electric to match their desire to contribute to a greener recovery. It’s time to play your part in making the future of transport greener than ever.”
The LeasePlan Mobility Insights Report is an annual survey of driver opinion into the most important subjects facing the industry, produced in partnership with leading research firm Ipsos. It was formally called the LeasePlan Mobility Monitor.
The survey is conducted across 22 countries, including: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
This year, the survey is divided into three separate editions: 1) Mobility in the New Normal, 2) EVs & Sustainability (Winter 2021), and 3) Car Data & Privacy (Spring 2021)
The first edition of this year’s Mobility Insights Report, which includes a breakdown of country-specific data and findings, can be downloaded here.