The world of driving is changing a lot at the moment. There are driverless HGVs being tested all over the UK and Tesla is working on electric HGVs too – with some already on the roads, albeit not for general sale right now. It’s not easy to be a fleet owner right now – it’s almost at the stage of Betamax vs VHS – what’s the right investment for your company? Well, one thing’s certain – it’s not diesel. “The government in the UK wants to completely get rid of diesel by 2040 and it’s starting with a plan to remove diesel cars from the road – with HGVs most likely not far behind” warns a training supervisor at HGV Driver Training Centre.
Air Pollution and Diesel
Michael Gove instituted the measure as a part of his work as Environmental Secretary, to tackle air pollution. At the moment, the ban is just for cars, but as companies look to update their fleets of HGVs, it makes sense for them to consider getting ahead of the diesel ban, because when diesel is no longer on sale, they will find their current fleet useless (as well as illegal!)
Financial Support to Switch Vehicles
There is a plan to offer financial support for car drivers, offering them a payment of £1000 to £2000 to help with the costs of swapping from a diesel car to a lower emission vehicle or an electric one. HGVs could benefit from a similar scheme, but right now their options are more limited. There aren’t any electric HGVs on general sale so companies don’t know what the logistics of running them are, the common problems, or how much it costs to keep them on the road. These are all questions that wise fleet owners will be ‘waiting and seeing’ rather than forking out for a new fleet themselves. It doesn’t make sense to be the early adopter when right now there aren’t really any penalties for being the one still running diesel. That could change, though.
Disincentives for Diesel Vehicles
Diesel hasn’t been banned yet, though the government does want to make it as unappealing as possible for drivers, and it is doing that through a number of disincentives for those who still drive a diesel. The Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) is due to take effect as of the 1st of October, and there will be other extra expenses added on top of the cost of fuel, as well as parking charges. This should help to undo some of the damage that Blair’s campaign, to get people to switch to diesel, caused. After all, it’s hard to blame people for driving diesel when for many years they were told that it was the environmentally friendly choice. Now, it’s proven to a bad choice – and it’s going to take a while to re-educate people and get them looking to low emission vehicles instead.
It’s unclear when the scrappage scheme will start – if it even does – but …