Strong Economic Case for Electric Light Commercial Vehicles

· · 9 years ago

While enthusiastic electric car fans are jumping at the chance to be among the first owners of the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt, business owners considering an electric commercial vehicle might pause to crunch out the dollars and cents of going electric. On that account, light-duty trucks, like Ford’s Transit Connect Electric, make even more sense for companies than for individual drivers, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Frost researchers believe the annual market for electric-drive vans and light-duty trucks in Europe and North America will jump from nearly zero today to almost 200,000 by 2016. As opposed to individual plug-in car purchases, which might be motivated by a combination of economics and personal conviction to get off oil, commercial purchasers will move forward primarily based on a compelling business case:

  • Most commercial vehicle operators keep their trucks and vans far longer and put far more miles on them.
  • Those miles will cost less based on the lower cost of electricity, and lower maintenance costs associated with electric vehicles.

The case gets even stronger, according to Frost & Sullivan, as the cost of batteries goes down over time, and the driving range provided by those batteries goes up in the next few years.

Frost & Sullivan forecasts that European companies and municipalities—motivated to find alternatives to higher gas and diesel prices, and supported by bigger government incentives in infrastructure— will make up 165,000 of those nearly 200,000 sales in 2016. That could mean about 8 percent of the European light-duty truck market going electric. North American light-duty electric vehicle sales are forecast at only 26,000.

The Ford Transit Connect Electric hits the U.S. market next year. We’re still waiting for pricing to be announced, so we can run the numbers.

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