Electric cars are slowly evolving and, over time, as car buyers get used to the idea, sales of new vehicles have steadily grown. EV’s are easy to drive and the latest new battery technology continues to enhance both performance and the distance that can be travelled before a ‘top-up’ is needed. Add to this the huge popularity of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV), which, for now, offer the benefits of longer range coupled with fuel efficiency and it is clear that the environmental message is getting through. This applies as much to business users as it does to domestic motoring.
We are becoming used to seeing EV charging cables snaking out on domestic driveways and as the public charging infrastructure grows along with the speed of electrical charging, it won’t be long now before it becomes a commonplace sight.
Business and industry have already woken up to the fact that there are advantages to electric power over fossil fuels, particularly as it applies to urban areas. Right now perhaps the electric commercial vehicle may only represent a tiny fraction of overall sales, but the increasingly loud demands to do something about environmental pollution, especially in our urban centres, means businesses are coming under increasing pressure to adopt ‘e-mobility’ solutions and they are beginning to act.
With the rise, however individuals might feel about them personally, of ULEZ (ultra-low emission zones) in our cities, the idea of electrically-driven vans and commercials is making sense and many businesses are switching over to EV usage for short haul deliveries. With low-cost overnight charging and tax-busting emissions, EV usage is growing apace and it isn’t just small vans.
Earlier this year a supermarket in Holland took delivery of its first electric articulated truck on test for local deliveries. Successful trials will mean that the HGV will enter full production. It will be charged from an electric point at the distribution centre and there are plans to eventually recharge with renewable energy, as the company is currently assessing the feasibility of fitting solar panels to power the charging station. Trials of e-HGV’s continue around the globe, meanwhile.
If there’s one vehicle that is a common sight in our cities it is the taxi. Whether a traditional black cab or an Uber hatchback, urban dwellers are increasingly turning to the taxi as a means of getting about. The idea of the black cab has now been repurposed to electric use and one UK cab-builder has already produced over 2500 units for use in cities, with plans underway to produce a van equivalent.
These modern taxis seem to appeal to both owner/drivers and customers, who appreciate the clean power as these new commercial EV’s reduce NOx emissions by almost one hundred percent. The cabs can run in full electric mode for up to eighty miles, hugely reducing emissions and driver running costs and giving passengers a quieter and more soothing ride.
Change For The Better
How we use our cars is changing. Interest in performance for performance sake is dwindling as our vehicles become accessories to our lifestyle, refuelling at home with a charging cable in the same way as we charge our smartphones. That said, one of the surprising features of electric cars is the motive power they can generate. EV’s can make for a lively drive with no gears to worry about so owners can save on emissions and still have fun. Electric cars and commercials are going to be an increasingly common sight in future.