The UK Government has issued a report stating that diesel and petrol vans could be phased out when it comes to last-mile delivery.
The Department for Transport (DfT) wants to shift last-mile deliveries from diesel vans to all-electric light commercial vehicles – and even to cargo bikes. Its Road to Zero strategy, launched in June 2018, states that this transition away from diesel could reduce urban congestion and improve air quality where it is most needed.
The DfT is calling on commercial fleet operators to outline any challenges or barriers to delivering goods via more sustainable vehicles - and what incentives fleets would require to help them replace diesel delivery vans.
Transport minister Jesse Norman said: “Last-mile deliveries have been transformed in recent years by the growth of home deliveries driven by the boom in internet shopping. This has led to a marked rise in van traffic.”
According to the latest road traffic estimates, van traffic increased by 4.7% to 49.5 billion vehicle miles in 2016. This upward trend is exacerbating issues faced by towns and cities across the UK, such as improving air quality and reducing congestion.
Glasgow has announced it will implement a low emission zone by the end of 2018. Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Southampton and Nottingham are required by law to introduce clean air zones by the end of 2019, with several other local authorities expected to follow suit.
London will introduce an ultra-low emission zone from April next year, while Oxford is considering introducing a zero emission zone in 2020, banning diesel and petrol vehicles altogether from six roads in the city centre.
Fleet operators can apply for an Office of Low Emission Vehicle (OLEV) grant for 20% of the purchase price for an eligible all-electric van, up to a maximum of £8,000 per vehicle. However, the higher cost of EVs is not the only consideration for fleets. Other concerns include charging infrastructure and how to get the most out of battery-powered commercial vehicles.
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