For a variety of reasons, the fuel landscape could be changing in the future. With Electric Vehicles (EVs) and alternate fuels becoming popular to support Government policies like the 2040 fuel ban – which will stop the production of all new petrol and diesel-only cars and vans – we look at the decisions and conversations that are pushing the market forward.
Since the start of the year until the end of April, the cost of crude oil has risen from $66 to $75 a barrel. In May, it has continued to rise, hitting $80 for the first time in nearly four years. As a result, the cost of petrol and diesel at the pump has followed.
Alongside increase in pricing, the need to prepare for the 2040 fuel ban will affect fuel- powered vehicles in the future, according to The Committee on Climate Change (CCC)*. They have highlighted in their report assessing the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy that we should be working towards a ban by 2035 instead, as the stock of vehicles have an average turnaround of 15 years. It also explains that freight operators need to be introduced and incentivised to improve their logistics efficiency, shifting to less carbon-heavy modes, increasing uptake of eco-driving training, fuel-saving technology and other ways to make HGVs cost effective.
To help increase the uptake of alternative fuelled vehicles across all fleets, license regulations are to be relaxed for drivers of alternatively fuelled vans. The Government is approaching the EU to discuss whether drivers with category B licenses can drive alternatively fuelled vehicles that weigh up to 4.25 tonnes. This is because electric and hybrid vans include a larger battery park, making them heavier than current vans. The FTA consulted its members on the proposal, and most welcomed the change. It follows the news that alternative fuel vehicles up to 4.25 tonnes will also be exempt from HGV operated licensing, as long as they only operate domestically.
DAF Trucks and VDL are releasing their first series of CF Electric trucks to leading customers in the course of the year. This joins the all-electric, light-duty (7.5 tonne) truck that Dailmer Trucks have assembled – the FUSO eCanter – for UK customers. The lucky first customers to receive the Daimler trucks are Hovis, DPD and Wincanton PLC, playing an important part in these companies’ environmentally friendly identities. Alongside these, Dailmer’s Mercedes-Benz faction is rolling out eActros electric trucks on to the road, with ten trusted companies testing its day-to-day suitability and cost-effectiveness in real-life operating conditions. Other manufactures are following suit; in 2019, Volvo will be releasing two models – the FL Electric and FE Electric. These trucks are for heavier city distribution and refuse transport operations with gross weights of up to 27 tonnes. Alongside this, Renault is to launch their own range of electric trucks in 2019, building on their ten years of testing electric trucks in real-life conditions with its trusted customers.
On a more broader scale from the production of alternative powered vehicles, The chancellor’s Autumn Statement put forward that the Government will invest £400 million into improving charging infrastructure in the UK. They will also be offering another £100 million for a Plug-In-Car-Grant. The objective is to future-proof the UK’s EV charging infrastructure, ensuring it can withstand the expectant growth and uptake of EV driving. There is likely to be more investment in the future as the 2040 diesel car ban gets nearer.
Meanwhile, Blueprint London’s Source London scheme is currently sitting on 1,000 new electric vehicle charging points which they intend to roll out across the capital, transforming the city’s EV infrastructure. Of the £100 million allocated to the project, only £25 million has been spent. If everyone takes up electric vehicles to fuel this push for 2035-40, EV charging points will be in demand. The existing network currently only has 800 charging points, so there is room for growth. Currently only five councils in the UK have taken advantage of the EV scheme that the Department of Transport (DfT) launched, meaning there is still £4.5 million ready to be given out. The On-Street Residential Charge Point Scheme offers funding (up to 75%) for local authorities to use in conjunction with public and private sources to install and buy EV charging points. Since 28th November 2017, 4,918 locations in the UK have a public charge point installed, including workplaces. Fuel stations will also be fitted with EV charging units, allowing users to charge 80% of their battery in half an hour. Shell and BP are leading this new development.
The future for electric vehicles certainly looks positive, supported by Government grants and a developed charging network that could eventually stretch across the UK. However, it's not all cut and dried and it’s likely there will be space for a whole range of fuel types in the future. What isn’t in any doubt is that The Fuelcard Company will be here to support your fuel choices with our range of fuel cards.
*The Committee on Climate Change (the CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Its purpose is to advise the UK Government and other administrations on emissions targets and report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change.