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The government has announced its plans to invest in increasing the number of electric commercial vehicles on UK roads. Is this good for couriers?

In the plan proposed by Energy secretary Greg Clark in October, the government has set out a £4 million plan to switch an increased number of commercial vehicles from petrol or diesel powered vehicles, to plug in electric vehicles.

According to Clark, the government is offering UK firms subsidies of up to £20,000 for switching their large trucks to electric vehicles. Under the scheme, companies with electric vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes will be able to make an application for funding.

“Our automotive sector is thriving with the world’s most popular electric car already made in the UK and we are forging ahead to deploy new engine technology to make low-carbon vehicles mainstream, and leading the way in driverless car technology,” said Clark.

The drive to boost electric goods vehicles comes following disappointing take-up of a grant offer for electric vans weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, which has been available since 2012. Clark said, “The electric car revolution is well under way with consumers and this funding will encourage more businesses to consider switching to cleaner vans and trucks”.

How will this impact the Courier industry? On the face of it, electric vehicles should be cheaper to run, leading to higher profits over the long term. But one of the biggest blockers to electric vehicles has been the entry cost. The cost of investing in speciality vehicles for everyday businesses is too high for most couriers. Couple this with shorter range and unreliability due to short comings in early battery technology in electric vehicles, and this starts to pose a problem for businesses. However, this grant may stimulate more innovation in this area leading to more  choice and better economy. Perhaps there is a slow adoption early on, but as technology moves on and becomes more affordable and reliable, we will see this becoming the norm.

For more innovation in courier software and industry, take a look at new NetCourier V7 here.