BEDEO calls for fleet retrofit subsidy

BEDEO's Osman Boyner

Research from BEDEO, the electric vehicle supplier and manufacturer, has found that one fifth (20%) of fleet managers would choose to retrofit, rather than replace, their existing commercial vehicles to decarbonise.

The research also found that if this 20% of the UK’s large van fleet (approximately 150,000 vehicles) were to be retrofitted rather than replaced, British businesses could save billions by 2035.

They would also, importantly, retain their existing fleet with significant operational upsides as well as addressing the wider sustainability challenge of disposing of vehicles before the end of their useful working lives.

BEDEO sought the views of 200 named operators of major fleets in the UK and France to uncover what strategies they were pursuing towards electrification and their awareness levels of particular options open to them.

Of fleet operators who were considering new vehicles, more than half (51%) were concerned that the lack of available range with new electric vans would negatively impact operations, and two out of five (40%) said that electric vans were simply too expensive. A similar number (35%) said that even if they were inclined to buy new, the product range was currently too limited.

The deadline was deemed ‘still a long way off’ by 40%, causing concern that some would understandably use this as a reason to kick the decision down the road.

BEDEO’s Founder Osman Boyner, said:

This is precisely where retrofitting can fit in, in giving businesses a cost-effective solution that accelerates their journey towards decarbonisation without having to bear all of the cost.

A new retrofit solution, widely popular and financially supported by public authorities in France but not in the UK, adds an electric powertrain to the existing diesel without replacing it, adding a further 70+ miles of electric driving to its range (anything up to 600 miles+) and without compromising load space.

In terms of the numbers, replacing an existing large diesel van with a new electric would cost the fleet manager an average of £55,000 per vehicle. This rises to £62,500 per vehicle, when the average amount spent (£7,500 according to the research) on each vehicle fit-out (refrigeration units, racking etc) is taken into account.

Replacing 150,000 vehicles with new electric ones (out of a total large van vehicle parc of 750,000 units) would therefore cost businesses £9.38 billion. By comparison, converting each vehicle at a cost of £25,000 would require a total investment of £3.75 billion – saving businesses £5.5 billion.

Osman Boyner says that adding electric to an existing diesel van by way of an in-wheel motor and battery system would not only save significant money, but also overcome fleet managers’ current concerns regarding range, affordability and sustainability. To that end he is calling for government action:

Our research shows that more fleet managers (i.e the remaining 80%) might be more inclined to consider a retrofit solution if there was greater awareness and that’s where Government can play its part through incentives: more than half (54%) had little or even no knowledge of retrofitting, despite the huge benefits it can bring in helping businesses transition to an electric future and accelerate their decarbonisation strategies.

Awareness levels were much higher in France, where the French government offers a €9,000 retrofit subsidy; no such subsidy is available in the UK, and that is something we are looking to change.

BEDEO recently launched its RE-100 Range Extender – an advanced retrofit solution which fits to existing diesel vans to make them both electric (first) and/or diesel at the touch of a button. It gives vans 117km of electric range to add the existing c600km diesel range, solving range anxiety issues and low-emission concerns in city centres in one solution.