What are the Whispers?

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February 20th saw a Zero Emission Van Plan being launched in Parliament, a hugely important move in promoting the immediate steps required to support the transition to electric vans. The launch event saw representatives from the coalition of industry experts and trade bodies talking to MP’s about the challenges being faced by the industry and how government action can bring positive change. It was great to see MP’s from the top four political parties pledge their support for the plan. The coalition is led by the BVRLA but includes The EV Cafe (very familiar to us here at EV Essentials), the Association of Fleet Professionals, Recharge UK and Logistics UK. Fleet users are encouraged to support the plan by completing a short poll, the link for which can be found here.

The Chancellor unveiled the Budget in the House of Commons and, despite the relatively recent passing of legislation to put the ZEV Mandate into place, not to mention the interest shown by ministers in the Zero Emission Van Plan, there was very little (if anything) in there to promote and aid the sale and adoption of electric LCV’s. A spokesperson representing the Zero Emission Van Plan said “The Chancellor is ignoring the fact that the van sector needs urgent support to adopt zero-emission vehicles. Cost is a major barrier to adoption. The discrepancy between affordability of EVs versus diesel equivalents is prohibitive’. It does seem that an opportunity (especially in an election year!) to give the industry a well publicised helping hand has been missed. Here at EV Essentials we’re disappointed that manufacturers in particular, having being given big targets to achieve are being pretty much ‘left to it’. Fiat UK’s Managing director Damian Dally told Auto Express ‘The demand for electric vehicles is waning and we are sleepwalking into an electric vehicle crisis. The government is also potentially putting its Net Zero target at risk.’

April’s CV Show moves ever closer, and Maxus may well steal the show with a huge stand which includes the first showing of yet another new model, the eDeliver 5. We don’t have full details just yet but, if you’ve been impressed by the futuristic look of the Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo, then you’re going to want to take a peek at this. We think it’s going to be pitched to the same market as the VW, at the smaller end of the medium van sector for those that need more volume than the likes of the Vauxhall Combo or Ford Courier. We’re really looking forward to reviewing this van as soon as we can get our hands on one.

Just missing last month’s newsletter, Nissan announced a fully electric version of its large van, the Interstar-e promising a range of 286 miles, much of which is achieved by the vehicle’s aerodynamic drag being reduced by 20% over the old Interstar. This is at odds with the 255 miles quoted by Renault for the new Master, a van almost identical to the Nissan from a drivetrain perspective, so we may see a change here once all the testing is complete. The van will be available towards the end of this year.

Stellantis has announced that its manufacturing plant in Luton will start producing medium sized (ie Vivaro) electric vans in 2025. Previously, these vehicles have been manufactured in Europe and imported to the UK, so it is great to see that the old Vauxhall factory which has been around since 1905 will be updated to produce vans boasting the very latest in electric vehicle technology.