For many fleet operators, the thought of overhauling their fleet of internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric vehicles (EV) can be overwhelming.
As the UK government plan to phase-out new petrol and diesel car and van sales by 2030, this adds extra pressure to electrify commercial fleets.
- It is a move which understandably, begs a lot of questions for fleet operators;
- How to select the right electric vehicle?
- What is the total cost of ownership?
- Is it financially viable to switch to an electric fleet?
- How to best support employees and the business through the change?
- And how to optimise the execution?
- But… what if we said that the process doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem?
One things for certain; change takes time. And whilst the switch from ICEs to EVs is a very welcome move for the environment, it’s not going to make a difference overnight.
To plan the conversion effectively, fleet operators should work closely with a fleet management partner that can analyse an existing fleet and establish which vehicles are ready and when. For the switch-over of circa 40 vehicles, it can take anywhere between 13 – 28 months to complete the fleet analysis, run trials, procure vehicles, analyse charging infrastructure and deploy charge points. From this point, there is typically an on-going phased roll out, training, data analysis and integrations to be completed.
These timings however, are based on companies who have access to their existing fleet’s telematics data. If data isn’t available, it will take another three months to collect this and analyse the fleet.
Once the data is good to go, it’s time to take charge of the migration strategy.
In the first instance, a fleet management partner can assist in examining vehicle data, such as car or van payload and intended use, duty cycles such as utilisation trends and miles per day, as well as emissions and efficiency. Dwell times need to be considered, with a view to incorporating electric charging whilst vehicles are stationary.
Naturally, venturing into the world of EVs can conjure up many questions for fleet operators;
- Where should the EV chargers be positioned? – at home, the deport or somewhere else?
- What electrical capacity is available have and how is it utilised?
- What speed of chargers are needed to support the business model?
- What energy do would be needed across a 24-hour period?
To help speed up the decarbonisation of transport, in some areas – such as Leeds – government funded trials are enabling organisations to try EVs for two months at no charge. By utilising these trials, where available, fleet operators will be able to create more realistic and achievable EV charging strategies. Similarly, government grants such as the Plug-in Van Grant and the Plug-in Truck Grant, are expected to continue until at least FY2022/23. So, there’s lots of opportunity for fleet operators to access financial help during the switch to EV.
Although it may feel like 2030 is still a long way off yet, planning and implementing EV strategies take time and consideration, so it is important to act is now. But in order to make the best decisions, fleet operators must utilise their vehicle’s valuable data to truly understand how they operate and be able to transform those insights into meaningful business decisions. Apply the expertise of a fleet management partner that can access and analyse vehicle telematics, to expedite the process. Finally, set clear reasoning and a phased approach, for a streamlined and successful switch to EVs.