PowerTorque’s European Correspondent, Will Shiers, tells that the UK government has set some aggressive emissions targets, with a ban on diesel trucks below 26 tonnes GVM set to come into force in 2035 (2040 for over 26 tonnes). However, there’s no pressing regulatory need for operators to make the switch from diesel to zero tailpipe emissions.
In other words, operators have a free pass to buy a fleet of Euro 6 diesel vehicles today, and if they want to swap them in seven years, they can buy another fleet of diesel vehicles. In fact, if they compress the buying cycle by one year, they could also purchase a third round of diesel trucks before the ban comes into force.
However one electric truck builder, Tevva, believes plenty of companies will take the moral high ground, and will look to make the move sooner. Will visited their electric truck assembly plant in south east England earlier this year to see another new electric truck brand go into production.
But what I want to know is why Tevva believes these operators will come knocking on its door instead of those of the established European truck makers, many of which already have electric offerings.
“Have you seen how much they’re charging?” says David Thackray, Tevva Marketing Director. “Our 7.5-tonne BEV is £140,000 ($250,000).” To put this figure into perspective, the 16-tonne Renault D ZE which I drove around London’s M25 motorway (PowerTorque September 2021) had a price tag in excess of £350,000 ($626,000).
“The reality is that we only have one purpose, and that is to sell electric vehicles in volume, and not in ones or twos,” says David.” This world isn’t going to get where it needs to go if companies put one or two halo vehicles on their fleets. Instead we’re talking about [orders of] 10s, 20s, 50s and 100s. We’re talking about selling them for mainstream re-fleeting.”
However Tevva is well aware that even the most environmentally conscious companies will only make the switch if it makes some financial sense too, believing that some will be prepared to make small profit sacrifices, but only in the short term. But Tevva has this covered, having spent the last several years working to ensure that it can build an electric vehicle at a price that’s ‘market viable’.
“I’ve taken the view after all the conversations I’ve had with hundreds of operators in the UK and Europe that if you are going to sell in volume, you need the vehicle to achieve cost parity with diesel at about 25,000 miles,” says David. “We all know about the high CapEx, low OpEx equation. But if you can get to a position where your OpEx savings cancel out your CapEx uplift at about 25,000 miles per annum, then you have a vehicle that makes perfectly good sense to the operator and isn’t a financial compromise.
“It becomes a direct like-for-like swap for diesel without any compromises on cost. At the 7.5-tonne level we’re looking at £140,000 ($250,000) to make that happen. At 12 tonnes it’s a bit more, and at 19 tonnes it’s a bit more again.”
He believes some early Tevva customers might only purchase a handful initially, but having dipped their toes in the water, will then have the confidence to wade in. “They’ll buy in mainstream volume when they discover it’s a zero-emission option without a financial compromise and without a meaningful payload compromise,” says David.