Sales of eco-friendly commercial vans in the UK have increased by 21% in the last year alone to 1,523, new research has found.
The number of ultra-low emission vans on the road has more than quadrupled since 2012, when just 319 sales were recorded.
The study, by Funding Options, found that many small businesses are looking to promote their environmental credentials as a way of differentiating themselves from competitors. One way of doing so is to invest in ‘green’ fleets, which businesses can use as a marketing tool to attract both customers and potential employees.
Updating old fleets to eco-friendly vehicles also helps to reduce costs for businesses. For example, low-emission vehicles are exempt from London’s congestion charge. Many older vans – which ‘green’ vehicles are replacing – run on diesel, which from April 2019 will have to pay twice as much in congestion charges in the capital. The city of Birmingham is also planning to introduce a congestion charge.
The increase in sales may also reflect how Government grants have encouraged investment in these vehicles by providing 20% of the sale price up to a maximum of £8,000.
“Smaller businesses are becoming more aware of the long-term benefits of being environmentally friendly, and are investing more in ‘green’ assets as a result,” Funding Options’ CEO Conrad Ford said. “If you are a strongly branded business involved in home delivery or home servicing you can hardly avoid customer pressure for you to 'go green' with your commercial vehicles. That pressure is not just from millennials.”
“While many larger corporations have the spare capital to commit to environmentally friendly initiatives, smaller businesses often have to prioritise investment in other areas. This can lead to businesses running old, inefficient and rusty vehicles. However, public perception and Government grants have encouraged smaller businesses to update their fleets for the long-term.”