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Parcel delivery fleets vital to electric vehicle adoption, says Arval

Success with parcel delivery fleets will prove to be “essential” to the success of electric vans.

Success with parcel delivery fleets is going to be “essential” to the success of electric vans, says Arval.

So says Simon Cook, LCV Leader at Arval, who explained that the current limitations of ECVs – covering range and weight of payload – do not really apply to parcel delivery fleets operating in urban environments.

Cook commented: “Certainly, we are seeing courier, home shopping and parcel delivery operations become the main early adopters. A number of these fleets are operating vehicles, essentially on a trial basis. How they perform over the coming months is going to be the key to whether ECVs become a serious fleet proposition.”

However, he said that it remained essential that the electric vans on offer continued to be developed intensively by manufacturers, especially when it came to hybrid technology.

“The fact is that, even for parcel delivery fleets, range remains an issue. We need to be moving towards the 200-300 mile range that is now being seen with some cars.

“In some key respects, we believe that the real breakthrough will come with the availability of diesel-electric panel vans. Because these should offer the torque that pure ECVs lack, they will be viable for a much wider range of fleets.”

Cook added that Arval had some operational experience of ECVs in the long term – as covered in its recent guide to operating electric vehicles – and was confident in their longevity.

“We have a Ford Transit Connect conversion that have been in operation with a customer for six years now and, even though these are relatively basic vehicles compared to the latest generation of ECVs, they remain viable as everyday vehicles.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.