Mercedes eVito Price Gives SMEs Electric Mountain to Climb

Small and medium-sized businesses operating delivery vans in urban environments are facing replacing ICE vehicles with BEVs at twice the retail cost.

That’s evident from pricing published by Mercedes-Benz to it UK customers for its new eVito LCV. The starting price is from £39,895 ($52,121) excluding purchase tax against the current internal combustion diesel engine variant at £17,855 ($23,326).

City SMEs are having to consider the change to all-electric delivery vehicles because of the roll out of ultra-low emission zones (ULEZ) already in place in London and Glasgow but very likely to be extended to all other major UK cities in the near future. London itself will see the current small zone greatly enlarged to cover even the inner city suburbs within the north and south circular roads next year.

Vehicles will face a daily charge, currently set at £12.50 ($16.33) a day, if they do not comply with the ULEZ’s standards of Euro 6 minimum emissions of NOx and particulates although many industry experts suggest this will quickly be tightened possibly even to zero emissions within the next few years.

With SMEs needing to plan their business needs some years in advance, investing in a future-proof BEV would seem to make sense but the extra costs could be a mountain to climb for many of them even threatening their ability to work in the urban environment.

Naturally, the UK government’s Office For Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) grant offers a 20% reduction on the vehicle purchase price, up to a maximum of £8,000, while London’s regulator’s offer a scrappage scheme offering a total of £9,500 towards the cost of a new EV when the old ICE vehicle is traded in. However, these incentives are seen by many as simply too little to help struggling businesses modernize their delivery fleets.

The UK’s Federation of Small Businesses has already highlighted the issues of costs facing SMEs in the move towards clean-air transport options. Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said: “For many small businesses, the vehicle they use and rely on plays a vital role in their business activities, whether it’s transporting people or good and services. There needs to be acknowledgement of this and the financial impact that the transition to cleaner and greener vehicles may have on smaller firms. These businesses will need clear direction from policymakers and be supported to make this transition to low emission vehicles.”

Those SMEs able to shoulder the burden of going electric will see in the eVito a van with a power output roughly equivalent to the entry-level ICE Vito of 109bhp plus  221ft-lbs of torque, a 92-mile average range and a six hour charging time, based on three-phase charging.

Mercedes PRO connect comes as standard and is free for the first three years, with benefits including; remote access, digital drivers’ log, drive style monitoring, real-time variable servicing monitoring, parking time monitor and geo-fence options.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_



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