Driving a change in behaviour – what’s needed for EV adoption in fleets?
Having recently visited the Low Carbon Vehicle Event, it was great to see how the electric vehicle (EV) market is continuing to grow and create interest, from manufacturing innovations to general chatter around charging solutions.
Despite this, I noticed there were still a few misconceptions and gaps in knowledge from people not connected to the industry, which mirror feedback from a recent industry roundtable debate we hosted. During the discussion, which featured industry stakeholders from fleet companies, vehicle manufacturers, UK businesses and the media, one of the areas highlighted was that people can often be put off by the initial cost of an EV.
It is always going to be the case that any new technology entering an industry carries a premium but, in the case of EVs, it is crucial the savings available over the lifetime of the vehicle and the help available for initial funding are clearly communicated.
It is clear that the higher initial costs can’t be ignored but there is help available. What we in the EV industry need to do is ensure the public and businesses know about it. For example, the Government incentives such as the plug-in car and van grants, which can potentially provide up to £8,000 for a van.
On top of the help for funding EVs, it is also important that the total cost of ownership and running cost benefits of an EV compared to traditional vehicles are conveyed. It will then be easier for businesses to see the cost saving advantages of opting for this type of vehicle within a fleet. A prime example of the cost saving potential is our own internal fleet trial of two Renault Kangoo vans. This has resulted in a fuel saving of 57% totalling £764.61 across 9,433 miles in comparison to a diesel equivalent and in addition, 2,500 kg of CO2 was saved.
Looking to the future and to widespread fleet adoption of EVs, the voices at our roundtable echoed those at the show, by highlighting the need for behavioural change driven through effective education. When you consider that 10 - 15 years ago recycling was the exception not the rule, and that most households have now adopted this practice, it is clear to see what education and making it as easy as possible to change a behaviour can achieve.
With this in mind, increasing awareness of the benefits, ensuring efficient and effective charging solutions and helping with funding, will all play a vital role in making sure the UK is best-placed to increase the popularity of EVs generally, but also within fleets.