With the world shifting to more environmentally friendly practices, many households and businesses are following suit by switching their vehicles and entire fleets to electric vehicles (EVs).
Switching from carbon-fuel-powered vehicles to electric vehicles helps reduce businesses’ carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating climate change.
Continue reading to find out more about the benefits and challenges of adopting EVs, the key considerations for making your fleet electric and useful tips on how to take your fleet electric.
Benefits of Transitioning to an Electric Fleet
Switching your business fleet to EVs holds a range of financial and other benefits:
Lower fuel and maintenance costs
Companies mainly switch from fuel-powered vehicles to EVs to save on operational costs. EVs do not require fossil fuels to operate, which helps to drastically reduce a business’s fuel bill. EVs – unlike petrol and diesel fleets – are powered by electricity, which is often a lot cheaper.
These new-age vehicles are also designed with fewer moving parts, which also reduces the ongoing costs of maintenance for a business.
Burning less fossil fuels means that less greenhouse gas emissions are pumped into the atmosphere. EVs – such as plug-in electric vans – produce zero exhaust emissions, making them an obvious choice when it comes to switching to a greener, more environmentally friendly fleet.
Making the switch from diesel and petrol vehicles to EVs helps to align your business with local and global sustainability goals, while also helping to promote a cleaner, healthier environment.
Government incentives and rebates
The UK government offers households and businesses a range of incentives and rebates to encourage the switch to EVs. These incentives come in the form of tax credits and significant rebates on purchasing new EVs.
Additionally, subsidies are also offered for the use and maintenance of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
All in all, these incentives and rebates make it easier and more affordable to replace older diesel and petrol vehicles with EVs, reducing the initial costs needed to make the switch.
Brand reputation and image
A growing number of consumers are actively choosing to support companies that are concerned with reducing their carbon footprint. Therefore, switching your fleet to EVs can also significantly enhance your business’ brand reputation and public image.
Switching your fleet to EVs shows your company’s commitment to saving the environment and minimising carbon emissions, which helps attract potential customers and business partners.
Key Challenges of Electrification
Due to it being such a new and novel technology, switching your fleet to EVs does hold a few challenges:
EVs are, unfortunately, limited in the driving range they can achieve on a single charge. While it is known that fuel-powered vehicles enjoy many kilometres on the road (with a single, full tank of fuel), EVs still find it a challenge to clock the needed distances.
To gain maximum usefulness and performance from your EVs, proper planning is needed. Fleet managers should employ fleet management software to gauge the performance and range of their current diesel and petrol-driven fleets. This should then be compared to the performance and range output of EVs, ensuring that your replacement electric vehicle would be able to deliver.
Many major cities and towns still lack the basic charging infrastructure needed to power EVs. This makes it challenging for many EV owners to readily charge their vehicles on the go.
Additionally, fleet managers should consider that they may have to install their own robust charging infrastructure at the business’s premises to ensure that EVs can be charged on-site when needed.
When installing charging stations, it’s advised that you include a mix of Level 2 (for overnight charging) and DC fast chargers (for quick charging) – depending on your business needs and budget. This allows for your EV fleet to always be quickly and easily charged.
Unlike diesel and petrol vehicles – where you can just pop into your nearing filling station and continue driving after a 3-minute fill-up – charging EVs takes time.
Choose your preferred EVs based on the amount of time they’ll take to fully charge. It is important to properly manage the charging time and speed of your EVs to ensure vehicle availability. It’s advised that businesses charge their EV fleets overnight and during off-peak hours to ensure vehicles are fully charged when needed. This also helps reduce your business’s electricity bill.
Implementing an Electrification Strategy
Use the following guidelines to help with the implementation of your fleet electrification strategy.
Assessing your fleet’s current operations
Before making the transition from traditional vehicles to EVs, first, consider and assess your current fleet’s operations and functions. During this stage of your electrification journey, use your current fleet management software to identify which diesel and fuel-powered vehicles can be replaced.
Consider the driving range your current traditional vehicles cover and look to acquire EVs that can cover a similar range (on a full charge) – at an optimal charging speed.
Planning and investing in charging infrastructure
As mentioned earlier, look at your available budget to plan for and install the required charging infrastructure. Having the correct charging infrastructure (a mix of Level 2 and DC charging stations) will ensure that your EVs can be readily charged when needed. Also, take time to plan the layout and location of your charging infrastructure to streamline future operations.
Driver training and monitoring
Just as you would train your staff on using traditional vehicles, employees should also receive training on using EVs. EV training should focus on the correct operation and safety measures when driving an EV. Additionally, fleet managers should educate their fleet drivers on charging etiquette and range management to ensure that the fleet’s EVs are taken care of and used to their maximum potential.
Make use of driver behaviour software to monitor your drivers and ensure that all training is properly implemented and that the rules of using EVs are adhered to.
Vehicle tracking and data analysis
Use vehicle tracking software to track and keep a record of your EV fleet operations. Use this data to optimise and plan daily routes, and stay abreast of maintenance schedules, repairs and the rollout of your electrification strategy.
Though it may seem daunting, transitioning your current fleet to EVs can be a painless and relatively easy exercise.
The switch to EVs – if properly planned and strategised – holds many benefits for business fleets, including saving on operational costs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimising your carbon footprint. By taking advantage of the range of government-sponsored incentives and rebates, UK businesses can further reduce their expenses when transitioning to EVs.
At Crystal Ball, we have a wide range of car tracking solutions to help you better manage your vehicle fleet. From monitoring your fleet’s movements to finding a solution to help with route planning and optimisation, as well as monitoring driving behaviours – we have you covered.