Is Your Ice-Cream Van Future-Proof?


Is Your Ice-Cream Van Future-Proof?

There are over 12 million diesel cars on the road in the UK, and the majority of ice-cream vans working at the seaside, in parks or at events come into this category. Ice-cream vans have very specific power needs, and a diesel system has long been considered to be the most effective option, especially as when vans are parked up, a diesel engine is necessary for powering the freezers and equipment on board.

The problem is that diesel engines release harmful chemicals like black carbon and nitrogen dioxide and by 2035, diesel vehicles are likely to be banned from the UK’s roads. Diesel vehicles are already prevented from entering restricted areas in towns and cities or have to pay steep fees to enter city charge zones, so the time has come to give some thought to how to future-proof your vehicle, and your livelihood.

One immediate option is to explore the world of hybrid vehicle technology. This has been an area of significant growth in terms of sales in recent years, and the capacity for hybrid vehicles to provide a suitable solution for the challenges faced by those running ice-cram vans is high. Even more encouraging is the development of an entirely electric ice-cream van by Whitby Morrison, which makes about 80% of all ice-cream vans in the UK. Extensive testing planned for summer 2020 was curtailed as a result of Covid-19, but the all-electric system performed well in trials and is expected to be on the market soon. The system can even be retrofitted to existing vans, meaning that whilst diesel would still be used to power the engine in transit, when stationary and trading only the electric system would be engaged, cutting down emissions significantly. 

Of course, there are two other tried and tested ways to future-proof your ice-cream van without moving away from a diesel motor just yet. First of all, you could include a wider range of organic ingredients and offer products that only contain natural flavours and colours. This is likely to appeal to the widest possible customer base. Secondly, you might look at diversifying your range to include items that customers may need, such as phone accessories, sunglasses, pay-as-you-go top up cards or anti-bacterial wipes. The more of a profit margin you are able to generate, the more you will have to invest in the next generation of electric vehicles, ensuring your business security for years to come.

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