A compelling story is unfolding in the rapidly changing world of the automotive industry —one that goes beyond data and trends. Amidst the pandemic, I, like many others, revamped my shopping routine, shifting from in-store experiences to the online platforms that have reshaped how products reach our doorsteps.
The unsung heroes of this transformation? Delivery vans.
The European light commercial vehicle (LCV) sector has seen almost a decade of consistent growth. This trend is set to continue, fuelled by the continuing surge in delivery demands from e-commerce, the expanding online grocery sector, and the recreational-van market’s reliance on LCVs.
Speeding towards a new era of eco-friendly delivery
The transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric vehicles (EVs) has been nothing short of remarkable. In less than a decade, EVs have evolved from niche products to the inevitable future of automotive, and commercial vehicles are no exception. As the UK and Europe commit to ending ICE sales by 2035, the message for fleet managers and business owners is crystal clear: adapt or risk falling behind.
Yet, this shift isn’t without its challenges. Our research reveals concerns among UK fleet managers and LCV drivers about transitioning from ICE to EV. Issues such as high initial costs, insufficient charging infrastructure, ongoing operational expenses, and limited EV range are reasons for apprehension.
“The cost at the moment is high and I could not afford to replace the vehicle I have. I do not have any electric points, places where I can re-charge a vehicle and I do not know how much it would cost to re-charge a vehicle. Do not know how reliable it would be or if anyone could service it.”
“Available charging points may be an issue. The cost to run will probably be better but the initial costs to install charging points at the office would be difficult and the guys take the vans home in the evenings and won’t have access to charging stations.”
“They are more expensive, only the wealthy can afford them. Also, they are stressful to re-charge at times, you do worry about running out in the middle of nowhere.”
Despite these concerns, 52% claim that environmental sustainability will influence their next van purchase. This creates a gap in the market, with SMEs and larger fleets struggling to obtain affordable electric commercial vehicles (ECVs) due to high demand, and limited supply from traditional automakers.
New players are leading the charge
The void left by established automakers in Europe has paved the way for new entrants, particularly those from Asia. ECVs from innovative brands are already hitting the streets at breakneck speed – these players have spotted the opening and are wasting no time in seizing the opportunity.
Take Maxus, from China’s SAIC Motor Corp., as an example: with the eDELIVER3 priced at £34,000 (ex VAT), Maxus has already made substantial sales in Western Europe and Scandinavia and is planning further expansion across Central Europe. In 2022, Maxus already held around 6% of Europe’s new ECV market, surpassing Ford, Nissan, and Fiat.
Maxus isn’t the only brand with eyes on Europe: Geely’s Farizon aims to enter the market by 2024 and B-ON (which acquired the StreetScooter ECV brand) is expanding German production. Meanwhile, in the United States, General Motors’ BrightDrop brand is following suit with its own expansion plans.
The road ahead is long, but the time for action is now
In this evolving landscape, LCV incumbents must prioritise EV adoption to meet customer needs and maintain market share. Every day of delay risks ceding ground to new competitors, as they gain momentum, build brand awareness and acquire customers. The electric van revolution is underway, and the question is whether traditional brands can catch up or risk being left in the fossil fuel past.
The presence of these newcomers also prompts important considerations for commercial van owners and fleet managers. Are they contemplating these new brands for future purchases, potentially disrupting the dominance of traditional van makers? It’s a critical moment in the industry, demanding careful consideration of options.
In concluding my journey from traditional shopping to the heart of the ECV revolution, the path forward appears promisingly electrifying. E-commerce continues to surge, driving demand for last-mile deliveries and cleaner, more sustainable transportation options.
Amidst this transformation, my personal shift from traditional to online retail is a small part of a larger narrative emphasising innovation, adaptability, and the evolving nature of urban logistics. ECVs are no longer a futuristic concept; they are today’s reality, reshaping how we receive online purchases and paving the way for a greener, more eco-friendly future.
What lies ahead for the European van market? The future of electric vans shines brightly, but for traditional brands, clarity remains elusive. One thing is certain: the road ahead is filled with opportunities for those ready to embrace it.
Learn how we can help seize the opportunity:
The appetite for face-to-face meetings will wane next year with growing financial pressures being cited as the main reason.
Our latest look at the meetings and events market was taken through the eyes of our Business Opinion Omnibus and found that nearly half of all business leaders (47%) said their company would be using external facilities by the end of 2023.
Many of these recognise that getting people together is good for business with external venues having potential to make a better impression or offer additional facilities, such as catering.
However, looking ahead to next year, 27% anticipate fewer offsite events, with a further 15% undecided and the balance expecting roughly the same amount – a net negative outcome that potentially means fewer events overall as businesses brace themselves for a challenging 2024.
How does this effect spend?
28% of businesses are expecting to spend more on external meeting facilities next year, but this is partially fuelled by an expectation of increased prices rather than a sign of greater demand. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter (24%) of the businesses who said they were likely to reduce spend next year claim it is due to a perception of bad return on investment. But surely bringing people together, will be valuable, productive and a good use of time and money, with benefits that go beyond the immediate facilities on offer?
It’s not as easy as that, though, is it? There is nuance to every role, output, and its execution.
In a recent conversation with Amy Edmondson, Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, we were able to gain some insight into the concept of ‘flexibility’ in the workplace – a hangover from the pandemic that saw us all in our home offices, with pyjama bottoms on, kids running in and cats strolling across keyboards.
“There is flexibility and there are relationships. You can’t have ultimate flexibility and deep relationships – you’re trading one against the other.
Flexibility can be defined as working wherever and whenever you want on tasks that are individually accomplished and modular, meaning the interfaces with other people’s work are uncomplicated. As soon as the interfaces are more interdependent, and tasks more complicated, then flexibility is at odds not just with relationships but with quality of execution.
Step back, look at the work first, what is the nature of the value that we are providing for our customers and how does that value get produced and if part of the answer is through teamwork, through the integration of people with diverse skill sets and areas of expertise, then we have to give deep and long thought to what kind of flexibility works best as a team.”
This view neatly underpins the concept that leads much of Microsoft’s ‘Future of Work’ strategy with AI playing a significant role in making asynchronous participation possible and synchronous participation better.
The balance between output, connection and becoming more cost and ROI-conscious in the face of growing financial pressures is a tough one to strike.
If business leaders’ predicted use and spend on external facilities hold true, we will see a shift towards fewer meetings and event,s and a need to better reinforce the value of those that do take place. One of the best ways to do that is for venues to deliver EPIC experiences and events that leave people invigorated, feeling productive and connected – wanting more, not less.
Our Accreditations and Awards continue to be determined by performance and customer experience, not by membership. To find out more or to be a part of this syndicated research please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are delighted to announce the following additional Accreditations following the final assessment at the end of Q2 2023.
To be eligible for the Event Planner Feedback Accreditation, which is awarded each quarter, you must have a total of at least 40 responses from Business or Personal Event Hosts over a 12 month period.
Awarded to those venues who receive at least 50 responses over the 12 month period, with an NPS placing them in the top 10% of all subscribers.
Awarded to those venues with a NPS placing them in the top 20% of all subscribers
Awarded to those venues whose NPS exceeds the global ‘average’ (aggregate)
To be eligible for the Mystery Shopping Accreditation, which is awarded each quarter, you must have a total of at least 12 Meetings or Social enquiries over a 12 month period.
Awarded to those venues who submitted a proposal for all of their enquiries within 8 working hours, with a score (meetings + social) placing them in the top 10% of all subscribers
Awarded to those venues with a score (meetings + social) placing them in the top 20% of all subscribers
Awarded to those venues whose score (meetings + social) exceeds the global ‘average’ (aggregate)
VenueVerdict is a great way of measuring your facility’s customer experience; helping you to make improvements in the right places and providing you with an accreditation which highlights your achievements when you succeed. For more information please contact: email@example.com