Fleet News

Electric vehicles: Use, not ownership, is the future of fleet

David Brennan - Nexus

By David Brennan, CEO of Nexus Vehicle Rental

The widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is wonderful in theory, but certain things will  need to change before such a seismic shift can take place. 

So, what does this mean for daily rental? Hybrids have been around for some time, but fully electric cars are relatively new and while the concept is great – I drive one myself – issues around range, an inadequate charging infrastructure and price remain. 

We will start to see EV rental catching on, in time, but I doubt it will be within the next three years. The technology has to get an awful lot better first and the prices will have to come down, too.

Until technological advances develop to the point where it is as cost-effective for fleets to buy an EV as to buy a petrol or diesel counterpart, EV take-up isn’t going to catch on. 
There are a few companies that have 100% EVs now, but not many; others are going down the hybrid route and this is becoming relatively common. 

The CO2 saving through EV use is clear but while Government incentives are there at the moment, via plug-in grants, fuel duty and the congestion charge exemption, will it change its stance on this? Time will tell. 

In years to come, I see EVs being part of a wider mobility approach, where people won’t have their own vehicle anymore, especially in city centres. 

In the same way that an increasing number of people are choosing to rent their home instead of buying, fewer people will own cars in the future. Instead, I can envisage a time when people will have a mobility package where they may have an EV on daily rental that they’ll use to hop from one side of town to the other, and if they’re going longer distances they’ll hire another vehicle. 

EVs are clearly not yet right for all business travel, but people and businesses alike are curious about their potential. As such, daily rental could therefore provide the perfect platform for people to get behind the EV wheel and try them out, which could in turn accelerate more widespread uptake.

Click here for electric cars and hybrids best practice and procurement insight

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