Majority of van fleet drivers would prefer to drive electric

Seven-in-ten (70 per cent) van fleet drivers would prefer the electric version of their favoured van over the petrol or diesel alternative, according to research from Churchill Expert – Direct Line Group’s specialist fleet insurance provider.

The findings show that there is significant appetite for electric vans, with just 15 per cent of van drivers preferring petrol or diesel powered models.

Demand for electric vans is on the rise. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT), January 2023 saw a significant increase in demand for Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) vans , as new registrations rose to 993 units last month, compared to 647 units in January 2022 – a 53.5 per cent increase. According to SMMT, registrations for BEV vans grew by 31.2 per cent throughout 2022, with its UK market outlook forecasting a 60.7 per cent rise in 2023.

Van fleet drivers’ six preferred commercial van models

PositionVan modelProportion
1Ford Transit33 per cent
2Ford Transit custom27 per cent
3Ford Transit connect20 per cent
4Citroen Berlingo17 per cent
5Fiat Ducato17 per cent
6Mercedes-Benz Sprinter16 per cent
Source:  Churchill Expert, 2022

Churchill Expert’s research saw van fleet drivers vote the Ford Transit (33 per cent of votes) as their favourite model, followed closely by its variations – the Ford Transit Custom (27 per cent) and Ford Transit Connect (20 per cent). The Citroen Berlingo (17 per cent), Fiat Ducato (17 per cent), and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (16 per cent) were voted as the fourth, fifth, and sixth most popular models. Electric versions of the most popular vans are available, including the Ford e-transit, Citroen e-Berlingo  and the Mercedes-Benz e-Vito. The findings for most popular vans reflect similar trends from SMMT’s data on bestselling vans, showing the Ford Transit Custom and Ford Transit as the two most sold vans in 2022.

Nicola Richmond, head of Churchill Expert Flexible Fleet Partnerships, said: “Internal combustion engine (ICE) vans continue to make up the majority of fleets, but attitudes towards electric vans are rapidly changing. New BEV van registrations are showing strong growth, as supply chain issues start to improve and the choice of electric vans coming to market improves. With the 2030, ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles fast approaching, it is encouraging to see a growing appetite for electric amongst van fleet drivers. Electrification is not an overnight process but the industry moving in the right direction.”

Electric van expert and Transport + Energy editorial board member Paul Kirby said: “The research is very encouraging concerning electric vans. The benefits to the local air quality, safer driving and increased efficiency will be tangible to any business adopting these vehicles. That said, it is important not to underestimate the help, support and guidance needed to make this transition effectively.”

Image courtesy of Mitie.

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