Are you considering switching your fleet to using electric cars? As a fleet manager, you always want to do what best improves your fleet performance. We present you with some innovative steps to consider before making the switch.
- Benefit to car drivers
The first step in preparing your fleet for this transition starts with your drivers. Some may already be able to make the switch, but are they receptive to it? The key is to establish their driving patterns and mileage and then assessing whether they would be able to migrate to an EV at the next replacement cycle. The best way to do this is by using data from in-car telemetry where it exists, but a relatively simple questionnaire can also establish some basic facts.
The key question for all company car drivers is whether they are able/prepared to charge their cars at home. For many job roles, this is the key barrier to switching to an electric vehicle. If the driver can’t start work each day with a fully charged battery, their ability to do their jobs effectively may be curtailed. This issue can potentially be overcome by installing workplace charging stations, but this would not be suitable for field-based staff.
The other key questions include: how long is your daily commute? What is your average daily mileage? Is the majority of your mileage in towns or on the motorway? How often do you make journeys of more than 100 miles in a day? Does your typical working day allow time to recharge your vehicle?
- Essential users
For depot-based fleets, the situation may be easier to resolve by installing charge points at the depot. The initial investment will be rapidly recouped by the fuel savings: the ppm fuel cost of an EV is typically around a third of a conventional van. In the urban environment, electric vans with regenerative braking systems are significantly more efficient than diesel vans and increasingly, will escape the predicted introduction of Ultra Low Emissions Zones in cities like London, Paris and Rome. They are also more likely to be within easy range of a charge point than more rurally based operators.
- Which drivers should not currently switch?
- Those covering 40,000 km PA (E.g. international sales representatives)
- Drivers who spend sustained periods in excess of 80kmh on motorways (e.g. operations directors overseeing multiple locations)
- Drivers whose journeys are unpredictable and time-sensitive (e.g. emergency field service engineers)
Range is still an issue with the current crop of EVs, but this situation will change rapidly as next generation vehicles with much longer ranges become available, so it is important to constantly revisit your matrix as new models become available.
Finally some drivers will remain sceptical about EVs, so it’s useful to start changing perceptions now. Some manufacturers or dealers may be prepared to bring EV demonstrators to your workplace for drivers to test drive and answer their questions. These are a great way to overcome objections and explode a few myths about getting a ‘golf buggy’ for your next company car!