A new leasing company is aiming to cut monthly lease rentals for electric light commercial vehicles (e-LCVs) by as much as 50%. According to Voltia Electric, the leasing industry is overpricing contracts for battery-powered vans and so, in response it is applying its extensive experience in the sector to drive down the cost of e-LCV leasing and win market share as fleets switch to battery power.

Voltia Electric is a sister company to Voltia, a Slovakian company that converts the Nissan e-NV200 van into the XL Voltia with a substantially larger cargo space. Launching at the end of this year, states FleetEurope, Voltia Electric plans to offer fleets leasing contracts for 20 e-LCVs from different manufacturers, including its own range (it recently launched five new electric van conversions, based on base models from the Stellantis range).

“Financial institutions and their leasing companies are very conservative in their approach to electric commercial vehicles and are viewing them through the lens of vehicles already on the road or the first generation of EVs, so they see a lot of risk and are overpricing their rentals,” explains Peter Hofierka, Chief Financial Officer, Voltia.

“We are developing a digital leasing company to offer customers a very different pricing structure. We don’t want to create a back office and the unnecessary infrastructure that goes with that; we want to create a virtual leasing company,” he adds.

With a decade’s experience in electric vehicles, Voltia is said to optimistic about the performance and cost effectiveness of e-LCVs, and reportedly “has banks of data to prove it”. Some of the first electric vehicles it converted have now covered close to 700,000 kilometres.

According to FleetEurope, this has prompted the company to begin talks with many of Europe’s larger leasing companies – “those looking for a partner with the international presence to provide pan-European coverage for an e-LCV leasing offer”. It is now said to be be in “detailed talks” with ALD, Arval and LeasePlan.

Voltia Electric promises “radically better e-LCV residual value modelling to help fleets benefit from higher residual values”. There is currently a 30% difference between leasing industry forecasts for the residual values of e-LCVs and the actual sums that the vehicles are selling for in the secondhand market, says Hofierka. This means that in many instances leasing companies are setting a lower residual value for e-LCVs than for diesel vehicles, he adds, but e-LCVs should be worth 10-15% more at the end of their fleet life.

“Our data and experience shows e-LCVs have substantially longer lifetimes and much better reliability than ICE vehicles, and can work for longer without increasing their maintenance costs,” Hofierka asserts. “Plus, longer contracts reduce residual value risk, while the opposite is true for ICE vans.”                                          

In addition, while diesel vans are typically leased for three or four years then sold before their maintenance bills start to rise, this end-of-life spike does not apply to e-LCVs even after six years, Hofierka adds. This means e-LCVs can be leased for longer, allowing fleets to amortise the higher acquisition costs over an extended period.