The biggest impact of electric vehicles may be to prompt businesses to rethink how they handle business transport, says CFC Solutions.
The company, part of the Pinewood Group of automotive software companies, says that the limited range of EVs means that their fleet applications will be restricted, but their arrival will force businesses to think more about journey management.
Neville Briggs, managing director at CFC, said: “Electric vehicles are likely to have only a minor role on fleets in the short-medium term because of their short range. However, the range issue does start to prompt some interesting questions.
“What range limitations may do is force fleet managers to start to think about individual journeys and, in doing so, start to consider journey management.”
Briggs added that this could represent a fundamental shift away from thinking about the use of fleet vehicles as an all-encompassing business transport solution.
He explained: “A fleet of conventional company cars or vans is really a solution to every business transport need that an employer may have – from distributing goods across the whole of the country to a multi-stop local journey to visit customers. There are few constraints made on distances, number of locations or timing.
“However, an EV forces the fleet manager to consider the impact of a single journey. And, once that process starts, it can open other doors. This could be as simple as considering whether a car could be shared with another driver for the same journey or it could be looking at whether train, bus or even bike is a better option.
“There is a possibility that EVs could start the perhaps long-overdue process of more fleet managers becoming business travel managers.”
Briggs said that CFC had seen an emergence of active journey management among fleets during the recession but that this had tailed off over the last year.
“The recession did initially prompt some companies into radical action, such as car sharing, greater use of video conferencing and managerial authorisation of journeys. This saved quite a lot of money but the controls seem to have largely slipped away, he explained.
“Our view is very much that this is an unfortunately neglected area of fleet management and that if EVs prompt more interest in journey management, it would lead to cost savings for a wide range of companies with differing transport needs.”