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The long road

28 January, 2022

Electric vehicles are widely touted as the future of road travel. And while they are more and more common on our roads, the vision is still far ahead of the reality. 

The fact that Tesla remains the most valuable car company despite its sales being less than one-third of those of the next most valuable manufacturer is testament to the big expectations for EVs. However, nowhere is the difference between ambition and reality clearer than when it comes to commercial – rather than domestic – EVs. 

Switching commercial fleets to EVs is challenging, particularly as the additional size of the vehicles increases the technology challenges. Yet the commercial market is where the demand and expectations are highest, and that’s starting to come to a head: for example, Amazon is struggling to get its suppliers to meet its big appetite for EVs. This is a big challenge for Amazon and other businesses looking to switch their fleets, many of which are relying on the EV market to reach sustainability targets. 

It’s not all bad news – companies like Amazon putting in big orders will accelerate the development of the market and improve the range of EVs on offer as well, and possibly even make them more generally affordable in time.  

But at the same time, it’s also a good opportunity to consider that EVs are not a panacea for all transport challenges. Cycle logistics are proving themselves as an efficient and more sustainable alternative to the challenge of transport sustainability – a challenge that will take a patient and varied approach. 

By Patrick Bapty

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