Alternative Fuels - What happened in Feburary 2024?

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#Alternative Fuels, #EV
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Alternative Fuels - What happened in Feburary 2024?

Alternative fuels update February 

It's been a quiet month in the world of alternative fuels, but the spring budget announcement has revealed that the government has cancelled the plan to increase fuel duty, effectively freezing it at its current rate which is good news for all ICE vehicle drivers. No information regarding electric vehicles was revealed which is surprising as the government's 2030 fuel ban is being seen as ambitious, and not implementing any incentives such as a reduction in VAT on public charging is making the shift to electrification a lot more difficult for fleet operators. But briefly going back to January, Britain reached a milestone of 1 million EVs registered.

New measures allow for the UK charging infrastructure to grow quicker

New measures are being introduced by the Government to boost the number of EV charging points with grants for schools, cash for councils, and proposals that could cut installation times. The new funding is part of the ‘Plan for Drivers’, ‘ a long-term plan that will address key issues related to driving. Public schools, colleges, nurseries, and academies can now claim grants from the Government allowing them to buy and install charge points for 25% of the price, with funding paying for the remaining 75%.

More local authorities are also set to receive funding to improve the EV charging infrastructure in their area from the Government's Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund. Local authorities are seen as instrumental in the charge point rollout, especially for on-street charging, and has been confirmed that local transport authorities must produce their own local charging strategies. To help fund these strategies, they can access the On-street Residential Charge Point Scheme (ORCS) as well grants such as the Government's Workplace Charging scheme (WCS) which businesses can take advantage of to help with the transition to electric vehicles.

Hydrogen van performance showing great results for fleet use

Hydrogen van trials, which have been taking place throughout 2023 and will continue through 2024 show promising signs that hydrogen could be used as a source of fuel for fleets. Wales and West Utilities (WWU), who are one of the companies involved in the hydrogen-powered vehicle trials, show that in their initial findings, there was no decrease in performance or range when the vehicle is operating in colder temperatures. Data shows that over a combined distance of 640 miles, operating for between six and seven hours a day, no range was impacted even when working in temperatures between 2c and 17c. This is an important factor to consider as EV vehicles suffer battery degradation in cooler and hotter temperatures.

The trials also show that the fuel cell powertrain (the system that propels the vehicle forward) delivers the correct amount of power when needed, such as needing 60kW in transient accelerations. With factors such as peak range having already been shown in previous trials, this tells us that the hydrogen-powered van can handle more demanding duties such as handling bigger payloads, driving over hilly terrains, and or powering auxiliary equipment.

Stellantis electric van production to start at Luton from 2025

Stellantis, an automotive manufacturing company, have announced that they will be producing electric vans for several different car companies in their Luton plant. This will be the second Stellantis plant in the UK to manufacture electric vehicles, after Ellesmere Port. Deals have been agreed with Vauxhall, Citroen, Peugeot and Fiat Professional to start production from the first half of 2025 and will manufacture vans mostly for the UK's right-hand drive market but will also manufacture left-hand drive vehicles for the EU. The models that will be produced in the Luton plant are the fully electric Vauxhall Vivaro Electric, Opel Vivaro Electric, Peugeot E-Expert, Citroen e-Dispatch and the Fiat Professional E-Scudo as well as their internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalent.

We've launched two new fuel and charge options to create even more flexibility for our customers. If you’re thinking of making a switch to a greener fuel future, arrange a call back today!  

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Matt Dodds
Head of Strategic Sales and Partnerships

With over 14 years of experience across two of the leading fuel card companies in the UK, Matt Dodds joined RFC Edenred to help lead the development of products to support our customer's move to EV and other alternative fuels, a transition he feels passionately about.