Fleets are switching to electric SUVs as an alternative to diesel and electric vans due to a host of range and payload issues, according to leasing firm Arval.

It described the idea as “radical” but said that there were clear benefits for firms wanting to electrify their LCVs, including superior security and safety features on SUVs.

Ben Edwards, Arval consultant, said: “We’re at a moment in time when, having largely completed electrification of their car fleets, many businesses are looking to their LCVs and wanting to complete a similar transformation.

“However, for some, the current e-van choices available present some operational issues for their needs, especially around range and payload capabilities.

“We have been working with several of these fleets and have presented the concept of using eSUVs as an alternative. It’s quite a radical idea in itself – replacing vans with cars – but it does have many benefits as long as a model with sufficient carrying capacity can be identified.”

He added: “These eSUVs will tend to offer better range than vans, often up to 250-300 of real-range miles, solving the key problem that these fleets wanting to electrify their LCVs are facing.”

Edwards also pointed out that access to charge points was currently easier for an eSUV and the available supply was better than for vans.

“Certainly for some of the models that fleets are adopting,” he said. “This is important because businesses will tend to want to adopt an identical, standard SUV across all of their activities in quantities of hundreds.”

Arval added that it was unclear whether this was a long-term trend or one that would last just one or two replacement cycles:

“As a strategy, this is very much a reaction to current conditions when it comes to electrification,” Edwards explained.

“Crucially, we expect to see the range and charging infrastructure to support e-vans improving over the next few years while other options such as hydrogen could start to make something of an impact.”