Will COVID-19 Accelerate Shift Towards Electric LCVs?

With an estimated one-third of the global population on lockdown, services such as home deliveries of groceries, medicines, food and other essential have been in higher demand. From the auto market perspective, Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) are the backbone of this growing demand for delivery infrastructure as per a new report.


IDTechEx, in its latest forecast report on “Electric Light Commercial Vehicles 2020-2030” provides a detailed ten-year outlook for the uptake of electric light commercial vehicles across key regions; China, Europe, North America and the rest of the world.


The report projects that the global sales of electric light commercial vehicles to exceed 2.4 million units annually by 2030.


Whilst there are differing motivations for commercial vehicle electrification in each of the key geographical markets, there are strong drivers in each which are pushing them towards the rapid adoption of electric motors in place of conventional internal combustion engines, the report said.


Notably, the lockdowns, alongside the financial implications of tackling COVID-19, have had a negative impact on commercial vehicle sales. As price sensitivity increases, the higher upfront price of electric vehicles puts them at a greater disadvantage.


The report, however, argues that the pandemic will have caused a profound shift towards home delivery and will provide a long-term boost to eCommerce post lockdown, supporting a rebound in sales.


“Restrictions on movement and the resulting decrease in road traffic have seen air pollution levels fall dramatically in cities around the world. This has provided demonstrable evidence to policymakers of the benefit for urban environments when internal combustion engine vehicles do not run and puts wind in the sales of electric vehicle OEMs,” it stated.


A key driver is falling battery prices, which brings a stronger TCO advantage for light commercial vehicles (versus cars) which typically run more continuously throughout the day and therefore benefit from greater fuel savings, according to IDTechEx.


One common problem is range anxiety, the report pointed out adding that daily range requirements can already be met with current eLCV technologies, and for fleets operating around a central hub, charging strategies can be devised that optimize the vehicle battery size.



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