So says Eddie Parker, commercial vehicle consultant at leasing and fleet management specialist Arval UK, who suggests that, unless savings can be made in vehicle running expenses, consumers and competitiveness will suffer.
His point concerns unavoidable fleet overheads accruing from meeting the conditions of areas such as the forthcoming London ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zone), expected in September 2020.
“Fleets that operate in the London ULEZ have the choice of operating Euro 6 vans that meet its regulations or using older vans and paying a new £12.50 per day charge,” explains Parker.
“Both of these options bring additional expense and will inevitably increase the cost per kilogramme of carrying goods into these areas, especially as fleets will also have to continue to pay the existing congestion charge and even, potentially, the Low Emissions Zone charges, depending on the vehicle’s age,” he adds.
Parker makes the point that even fleets that switch to Euro 6 by the time the ULEV comes into force will find them more expensive to run, thanks to the weight of the emissions technology, and, in most cases, the need to use AdBlue.
“The more widespread ULEV-type initiatives become, the more expensive it will be to carry goods into urban areas using LCVs,” says Parker.
For him, one solution is ‘right sizing’ vans, while another is using IT systems, such as telematics to optimise routes and bear down on existing costs.
He cites the example of an Arval LCV client in the construction sector, which has migrated from 3.5 tonne gvw vans to 2.7 tonne vans.
“Use profiles meant that equipment being carried would fit into such vehicles in terms of weights, payloads and vehicle dimensions,” he says.