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Alison Bell's blog: Heralding the green transport revolution

Date: 22 August 2017

"New petrol and diesel cars banned from Britain's roads by 2040," the headlines screamed, but was there cause for panic? Not so, as it was all just a reminder about the government's plan for improving UK air quality and reducing emissions from transport, and nothing's changed.

The government had effectively first announced in 2011 its "intention that conventional car and van sales would end by 2040, and for almost every car and van on the road to be a zero emission vehicle by 2050" - making the UK the first country to make such a leap.

France recently announced similar plans and Volvo has said that every car it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor. This marks a historic end of car models with an internal combustion engine alone, placing electrification at the core of its future business.

With little detail to go on, it's understood that hybrid vehicles will be excluded from the UK government's ban. What is clear, as Venson Automotive Solutions has been advising its customers for many years, is that the long-term car and vans future is electric, with potentially hydrogen models also securing a place on fleets.

Many fleet decision-makers may think "the whole issue is not my problem as I won't be in charge of my company's vehicles by 2040". However, with the April 2019 introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London and, potentially, Clean Air Zones in other towns and cities nationwide coming in the next two or three years, managers need to future-proof their fleet now.

Fleets need to be fit-for-purpose and compliant and that means fully embracing the very latest technology, including Euro6 emission compliant diesel cars and vans, Euro4 emission compliant petrol cars and vans, as well as hybrid, plug-in hybrid and 100% electric models. 

It is almost certainly true that there is hardly a fleet in the UK that is not already running Euro4 emission compliant petrol cars and vans, but organisations should ensure replacement cycles enable the introduction of Euro6 compliant diesel cars and vans within the next 18 months or so.

Meanwhile, as the UK moves to an electric vehicle future, any fears that values of defleeted petrol and diesel cars and vans will tumble, have been dismissed.

The Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) said that in the "short to medium term instability in the used market was highly unlikely". It said thatthe 2040 deadline was far enough away that its "strongest effects will not be felt for some considerable time".

So the message is clear, "Don't panic!".   Businesses should concern themselves with introducing and maintaining a compliant fleet before they start worrying about the death of the combustion engine.



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