Log in to access members-only content

What to consider when choosing a LEV

For a fleet of vans, it may be possible to specify vehicles differently to arrive at a mix of van types to deliver the variety of duties required. This allows low emission vans to play a role in your fleet which is best suited to their capabilities.

Fit for purpose

To minimise costs it is important to avoid choosing a larger or more powerful model that is needed. Purchasers should be realistic about how often the largest payload, top spend and maximum range is needed.

Factors to consider

Payload What type of goods will be carried, what is the maximum payload required? Payload is often reduced slightly in alternatively fuelled vehicles due to the weight of additional components such as batteries, motors or gas tanks.
Vehicle size What load space is required? The best way to reduce emissions and cost is to simply use smaller and lighter vehicles. Downsizing from a larger vehicle will also open doors to more low emission van options, for example most plug-in vans are only available in the smaller van range.
Daily / annual mileage (range) Local runs or long distance driving? Return to base for refuelling? Refuelling station availability and the time taken to refuel/recharge can vary for different low emission van options.
Fuel/technology options What are the benefits of low carbon fuels? Apart from lower emissions and running costs, a quieter vehicle may be beneficial, or you may be looking to improve your company image.
Local considerations Is any preferential treatment given for a particular type of vehicle, such as reduced parking charges or access to low emission zones? Low emission vans are often encouraged into cities by local authorities offering discounted access and parking fees.
Dealer support Where is my closest trained dealer? Will my warranty be affected? Make sure your local service centre is able to support your alternatively fuelled vehicle. Different service frequencies have to be followed when running on biodiesel. An additional third party warranty may be needed to maintain full warranty cover of an LPG converted vehicle.
Buy or lease What discount can you get through your dealership? Do you want a guaranteed fixed cost for vehicle ownership? The examples on this website give whole life costs for vehicle ownership. You should look at both lease rates and ownership costs. Leasing companies can get much bigger discounts on buying vehicles compared to low volume van buyers. They offer convenient fixed monthly charges that can include maintenance. Purchasing the vehicle yourself, especially if you can get a good dealer discount, can be cheaper, although you’ll have to absorb some risk when it comes to estimating the value of an alternatively fuelled van in future years when you want to sell it.
Flexibility Finally, flexible thinking will help. This site will show you that the cost and emissions savings are there, you may just have to rethink how you operate your van(s) to take full advantage of them.

Evaluating the cost

It is easy to fall into the trap of purchasing the lowest cost van available to you!

Since your choice of van will determine your business costs for years to come, it pays to undertake a whole life cost analysis. This includes not only the purchase cost, but also running costs (fuel, tax, maintenance, congestion charge etc.) and how much you will get for the van when you come to sell it. Most low emission vans will cost you more up front, but deliver monetary savings due to their lower running costs. The key factor is whether your annual mileage is high enough to allow the lower fuel costs to result in cost savings over the whole life of the vehicle. The van technology Topic Sheets give example scenarios where low emission vans are also lower cost vans.

To encourage the purchase of low emission vans and assist in reducing whole life costs, a number of financial incentives are available. National incentives have been put in place by the UK Government and some councils also offer local incentives.