The Oxford Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) pilot scheme was launched earlier this year to help reduce pollution in a handful of city centre streets, with ‘non’ electric vehicles charged up to £10 a day to use those routes. If the reduction in pollution proves significant, other towns and cities in the UK may follow suit, and introduce ZEZs. Whilst Venson supports low-emission zones it believes such a radical move too soon will be logistically and financially detrimental for businesses.
“If the ZEZ scheme is successful, Oxford City will look to expand the zone even further meaning businesses unable to afford an electric vehicle may be forced to pay up to £20 a day,” comments Alison Bell, Operations Director for Venson Automotive Solutions. “Clearly there is an urgent need to tackle COs emissions in cities, however the Government needs to set out realistic timelines for the introduction of Zero Emission Zones in the run up to 2030 Road to Zero strategy deadline.”
Whilst the uptake of electric vehicles in the fleet industry is encouraging, there is still a long way to go. Indeed, the latest SMMT figures report a 33% year-on-year decline generally in fleet new vehicle registrations’. Some businesses are just simply not ready to implement a fully electric fleet due to logistics, infrastructure and cost implications. Added to which, businesses typically work on replacement cycles so it can take up to 3 or 4 years for electric vehicles to be added to a fleet, which means a mass transition to a pure EV fleet may well not be seen until as late as 2027.
Bell concludes, “For many businesses who are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, and now adjusting to the rising fuel, staff and energy costs, the prospect of yet another financial pressure being introduced in the next 12 to 18 months is daunting. As businesses struggle to keep absorbing financial burdens, further increases in operating costs will at some stage mean increased costs for the customer.”