Is Diesel Dead?

With LEZ already having plans to exclude pre Euro 4 vehicles and electric light commercial vehicles already being sold by Nissan and Renault. With BP purchasing electric vehicle charging point maker Chargemaster, with a view to installing chargers across its network, it would seem that the writing is on the wall.

At Dawson Group we own and run a fleet of over 15,000 LCV and HGV vehicles, and what we purchase and its residuals values are at the core of our business. We effectively have to have a fleet that is ready for what the contract hire and rental market will demand, whilst taking all the risk on the residuals value. So the tipping point between diesel and alternative fuels like electric is something we have very much on our radar.

However in our HGV fleet there really isn’t the technology for a viable electric solution yet, we are running real world tests on liquid natural gas vehicles that offer significant emission and fuel savings with promising results. However, in the LCV market demand is slower with concerns around electric vehicles including range anxiety, range variance (compared to manufacturers claims), charging time and convenience, purchase and rental costs, weight (the weight of the batteries and motors restricts carrying capacity compared to like for like petrol and diesel models), batteries losing performance over time and as we have already mentioned any residual values.

What we do know is that our customers are taking advantage of our fleet of alternative fuel vehicles by trialling them on rent and mitigating the capital risk to their business.

We are not sure that diesel is dead, what do you think? We are interested to hear from other operators about your concerns and plans for the future?