According to recent findings from a survey conducted by Bedeo, a prominent electric vehicle supplier and manufacturer, 20% of fleet managers in the UK would opt for retrofitting existing commercial vehicles as an immediate measure to decarbonise - thus avoiding the full cost of replacing their entire fleets.
The research, which gathered insights from 200 fleets in both the UK and France, aimed to shed light on the electrification strategies pursued by fleet operators and their awareness of available options. Among those contemplating new vehicle acquisitions, 51% expressed concerns about the limited range of new electric vans negatively impacting their operations. Additionally, 40% believed that the upfront cost of electric vans was exceptionally high.
35% of fleet operators considering new vehicles also noted that the current product range of electric vans was too limited, further curbing their transition to electrification.
The survey revealed a noteworthy solution gaining traction, particularly in France. This retrofit solution, supported by public authorities in France but not in the UK, involves adding an electric powertrain to existing diesel vehicles, extending their range by over 70 miles (up to 600 miles-plus). The conversion process costs approximately £25,000.
Osman Boyner, the founder of Bedeo, highlighted the potential of retrofitting and emphasised that 80% of fleet managers might be more inclined to consider this option with greater awareness. However, the survey found that 54% had little to no knowledge of retrofitting. Boyner suggested that government incentives could play a crucial role in increasing awareness and adoption of retrofit solutions.
Interestingly, awareness levels were significantly higher in France (65%), where the government provides a €9,000 retrofit subsidy. In contrast, no such subsidy is available in the UK, prompting Bedeo to advocate for a change in this regard.
Bedeo recently introduced its RE-100 Range Extender, an advanced retrofit solution designed to transform existing diesel vans into electric vehicles with the added flexibility of switching to diesel at the touch of a button.