Over 3,500 passenger and light commercial vehicles in Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany will be replaced by electric alternatives, Swedish energy company Vattenfall announced on Monday.
Over a period of five years, Vattenfall will gradually switch out its fleet, with 1.700 vehicles in Sweden, 1.100 in Germany and 750 in the Netherlands. Vattenfall's vehicles vary from passenger cars to technical support vehicles and maintenance vans, according to a statement from the state-owned company.
"The trend towards more affordable batteries with a wider range has already set in, which is why we believe the time is right to make this change," said Martijn Hagens, Vattenfall's head of customer and solutions who is responsible for electromobility.
But electric cars still require a high financial investment. As Mr. Hagens pointed out, there wasn't much of a choice when it comes to company vans.
Still, it is a major step towards electromobility becoming established in the mass market. Buyers and leasers are remaining hesitant. According to market researcher Dataforce, only 8,644 new commercial e-vehicles were registered in 2016 compared to a total of 828,000 new registrations. This amounts to just one percent.
The overall number of electric company vehicles in Germany also continues to be rather small: In January 2016, just under 14,000 of approximately 3.8 million vehicles in company fleets were electrically powered or plug-in hybrids.