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More cost-efficient than diesel equivalents  

The race to transition to a low-carbon economy is in full swing. Transport remains one of the main sources of atmospheric pollution, and it already clear that electric cars are part of the solution to the problem. 

Some people, including some businessmen, continue to take the view that electrification of vehicles is something for the distant and expensive future. Companies are trying to sit it out on the sidelines in the belief that this doesn’t concern them.  Yet we have already reached the point where electrification has become a reality and affects everyone, especially businesses involved in transportation, such as retailers and transport companies.

To this day, many people see electric vehicles as “expensive toys” and unviable test models. But whereas just a few years ago these assertions were true, everything has now changed. Yes, the purchase price of an electric truck will be higher than for a diesel equivalent. But the long-term utilization of such a vehicle will work out much cheaper, with savings of up to 20%. This means that businesses can begin creating their own fleets of electric vehicles right now without fear of economic losses.  

Take the example of the Moskva electric truck, which was created by Drive Electro for a major Russian food retailer. The Moskva is a heavy-duty electric truck which costs lest to maintain than a diesel equivalent. Over 10 years of use, expenditure on the vehicle will be 2.5 times less than for a traditional truck. It can travel up to 200 km on a single charge, makes no noise and, of course, is environmentally friendly. All of which make it ideal both for a modern metropolis and for the needs of a retailer.

The important thing is that electric trucks can be adapted to a business’s requirements. It all depends on how the vehicle is to be used: where necessary, it can be customized by installing or removing additional batteries, thereby extending its range or making it lighter for a heavier payload. There’s one important proviso, however: for the moment, all these solutions are only applicable to cities and their immediate suburbs. But the problem of long-distance transportation is already being addressed with the help of hydrogen vehicles – we need only wait a few more years.

“Green” competition 

Electric vehicles can be organically integrated into a company’s sustainable development programme, adding another dimension to corporate environmental responsibility which, in most cases, takes the form of a partial reduction in waste and the introduction of recyclable packaging. They could usher in a qualitatively new stage of a company’s development for many years to come, transforming its image and setting it apart from its competitors. In addition, they open up opportunities for collaboration with renewable energy companies, an area in which Russia already has a number of proactive players. Renewable energy can be stored for use in the future, making it possible to use clean electricity as efficiently as possible at any time of day. By supporting renewable energy, companies will be able to switch to fully ecological “green” “electricity. And importantly, this type of collaboration can begin straight away, without waiting for the government to take action. By deploying electric vehicles, transport companies and retailers will become ambassadors for “green” transport. 

In 2020, the global electric vehicle market, led by China and Europe, grew by 43% to 3.24 mln vehicles. Other markets around the world are also growing, but the total number of electric cars leaves much to be desired. Companies switching to commercial electric vehicles act as a kind of driver, lending impetus to the development of the entire industry. Electric trucks and buses operate along established routes, which makes it easier to introduce them on the streets of a city. And the required infrastructure is already being created for them. All of this is accelerating the development of electric transport and bringing private electric cars on to the streets, changing attitudes towards them amongst ordinary consumers.

Alongside the carrot – i.e., all the benefits a company gets from switching to electric transport – there is also a stick: potential taxes imposed by foreign partners. Over the next 10-15 years, many European countries plan to stop producing internal combustion engine vehicles, and some are also introducing a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles – a clear wake-up call for businessmen who do not pay attention to the environment. These measures will be followed by transborder taxes on “dirty” manufacturers and freight companies supplying products into the European Union. This is bad news for any company that refuses to comply with environmental standards, as they could find themselves locked out of international markets. 

It is no surprise that electric vehicles are growing in popularity. People are beginning to realise the importance of “greening” the transport sector. There are plenty of reasons – economic, ethical, image, logistical – for companies to switch to electric vehicles, and it is important to realise that this transition is inevitable. Companies that start the process now will be able to capture the full benefits and be amongst the innovators, which can only help to boost the value of their brand and optimise their costs. The most important thing is not to be afraid of investing resources and efforts. Companies that chose to stick their head in the sand will face a higher cost of transition and risk having to play catch-up further down the road.

Sergey Ivanov, CEO of Drive Electro


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