Despite the Government encouraging drivers to switch over to alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), sales of new diesel vehicles are steadily falling. While there has been a rise in sales of AFVs, the baseline was so low that these increases count for little overall. Although adverse publicity about diesel emissions and rises in taxesmay have discouraged buyers from purchasing diesel vehicles, why are so few people choosing AFVs?
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Tradersis pointing the finger at the Government. Theyclaim that these low and decreasing sales are the result of the Government’s failure to educate the public on alternative technologies.
As an owner operator, it may be time to consider switching over to an AFV for your haulage work.
Lack of Education
Of course, the majority of drivers know what an AFV is, despite not owning one themselves. However, although most know about hybrid electric and plug-in hybrids, fewer have come across battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. More worryingly, many in a sample group of drivers interviewed had only a superficial knowledge of these different technologies. Over 70% failed to recognise the definition of a plug-in hybrid and, although over half identified how a battery electric vehicle operates, just over 20% could do the same for fuel cell electrics.
This overall deficiency of basic knowledge is more than likely contributing to the lack of ownership of AFVs. If a driver is uneducated about a certain technology, they are unlikely to trust that technology to run their next truck. In fact, only a third of drivers asked said they would consider buying a hybrid electric vehicle;battery electric and plug-in hybrids were even less popular.
Industry experts believe that this lack of education needs to be addressed before we will start to see a rise in the purchasing of alternative fuel vehicles.
The Importance of Change
Low emission automobiles are a key part of global efforts to tackle climate change. By using different methods of creating energy, drivers can help reduce the impact fossil fuels have on the atmosphere. However, drivers are unlikely to invest in technologies they know little about. Experts sayit is up to the Government to provide comprehensive, easy-to-understand information about the various options drivers on the lookout for a new vehicle have at their disposal.
Another reason cited for why new vehicle sales are down is that drivers are more likely to hang on to their old ones these days and tend to try to keep them going as best they can, rather than replacing them with newer, more efficient models. This is particularly true for haulage work owner-operators, who are more likely to keep using a trusted truck longer than might be advised. To improve fuel efficiency and save money on repairs in the long run,anyone involved in haulage workshould take time to explore the different options on offer.
However, without strong support from the Government promoting alternative fuel vehicles, consumers will be left with a lack of knowledge when it comes to making that all important purchase. It’s time to step up!
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 5,300 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.