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T&E electric van report
Image courtesy of Transport & Environment

Clean Transport

Electric Vans Are 25% Cheaper To Own Than Diesel Equivalents

Transport & Environment wants tougher EU emissions regulations to boost sales of electric delivery vans.

Transport & Environment is a European advocacy group whose mission is to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. On its website, it says its vision is a zero emission mobility system that is affordable and has minimal impacts on our health, climate and environment.

“Created over 30 years ago, we have shaped some of Europe’s most important environmental laws. We got the EU to set the world’s most ambitious CO2 standards for cars and trucks but also helped uncover the dieselgate scandal; we campaigned successfully to end palm oil diesel; secured a global ban on dirty shipping fuels and aided the creation of the world’s biggest carbon market for aviation — just to name a few. Just last year T&E’s campaigning led Uber to commit to electrifying much of its European operations.”

These people are not lightweights when it comes to advocacy for zero emissions transportation, in other words.

There is a lot of blather from fossil fuel advocates these days trying to convince us that electric vehicles actually cost more to own than conventional cars. There was a piece in the Washington Examiner just today by someone who believes people don’t really need to buy a new vehicle at all when they can buy a used one so much cheaper. Simply scavenge parts for it from the local junk yard and you can save a ton of money. The author is correct, in a sort of limited way. If your idea of living is spending time down at the local “pick and pull” searching for a starter motor for your 1985 Daewoo, good on ya.

The latest T&E survey shows battery-electric vans are, on average, 25% cheaper to own than equivalent diesel-powered models, with a cost per kilometer of €0.15 for electrics and €0.20 for diesels, in all 6 countries surveyed — France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the UK. The group’s calculations include all available government subsidies. Even ignoring those subsidies, electric vans have a lower cost of ownership in 5 of the 6 countries and are equal to diesel vans in Germany when subsidies are excluded.

T&E electric van study

Image credit: Transport & Environment

T&E Says Stronger Policies Needed

Sales of electric cars are increasing in Europe, thanks in large part to tougher emissions standards championed by T&E. But the standards for cargo vans are more lenient, an oversight T&E thinks the EU should remedy soon. Today, only 3% of new vans are electric, despite commercial customers expressing a strong interest in buying more of them. It argues that stricter standards would put twice as many electric vans on the road by 2027 compared to the proposed EU standards, saving owners millions of euros in fuel costs and keeping millions of tons of carbon dioxide out of the air Europeans breathe.

Given the need to reduce climate emissions, oil use, and health impacts — and enable van users to reap major economic benefits — T&E urges the co-legislators from the European Parliament and Member States to deliver stronger CO2 emission targets to accelerate the uptake of e-vans in the next ten years, the organization insists. Among its recommendations are:

  • Increase the ambition of the 2025 reduction target from 15% to 25%
  • Set an additional intermediate target of 45% in 2027
  • Raise the 2030 target from 50% to 80%
  • Safeguard the 2035 100% emission reduction target

Politics being what they are, T&E is unlikely to get all the policy initiatives it seeks enacted, but with the new impetus to transition away from Russian oil after Vladimir Putin’s atrocities in Ukraine, it may get closer to its goals that previously thought possible.

For commercial vehicle operators, the bottom line is the most important of all considerations. If electric vans are cheaper, demand for them will increase, which will benefit all the citizens of Europe — and the world.

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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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