Fleet News

Electric vehicles: Leading the electric vehicle revolution

David Greaves, national business manager, EV charging solutions, Schneider Electric

There are many challenges facing electric vehicle adoption here in the UK. Fundamentally, the most obvious issue is the current cost of them.

Even with the Government subsidy, EVs are still 10% to 20% too expensive, although there are reports suggesting that wholelife costs for EVs could be lower over a period of time than their internal combustion-engined counterparts.

Another challenge, of course, is the slow development of the public charging infrastructure.

We are still very much in the midst of a chicken and egg situation, as the growth of new charging systems being installed is unlikely to escalate significantly until demand grows.

Alternatively, the sale of EVs could be restricted until the infrastructure is in place. However, the Government’s five recent Plugged-in Places projects will significantly and positively improve this situation.

Nonetheless, amid the growing pressure of mounting environmental targets and increasing fuel costs, the transition to EV cannot be ignored.

Therefore, as the prime potential beneficiaries of EV adoption, fleet managers need to take the lead.

They should offer attractive, flexible and cost effective EV packages for employees which cover all practicalities.

For example, an EV contract should include access to a conventional car for a number of days per year for long distance and holiday usage.

Conversely, commercial vehicle fleet managers will be looking at the adoption of new electric vans or cars to replace a proportion of their fleet in urban areas or where shorter daily mileages are made, for example up to 100 miles per day.

Obviously, while the initial outlay may be more for EVs, there are numerous medium and long- term benefits for fleet managers.

These include compliance with Government targets on CO2 reductions, immediately realised reduced fleet fuel costs and congestion charges and the added benefit of lower maintenance and insurance costs.

As a nation, we need to have much more of an open mind about the development of the EV.

If there is one thing that history has taught us, it is that demand drives the development of technology.

If Government targets and forecasts are accurate, by 2020 between 5% and 10% of all cars sold will be EVs; the consensus is that we might just be on the verge of an EV revolution.

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