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David Bushnell, E-Mobility Consultant, Alphabet
Every organisation in the UK is looking for new, more efficient ways to meet the increasingly complex demands of keeping their business moving. As a result, more and more companies are investigating the challenges of introducing alternative fuel vehicles – whether it be hybrid, pure electric and now hydrogen fuel cell – into their existing fleets.
The benefits to an organisation are clear: cost benefit, emissions reduction, sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Electric Vehicles (EVs) are also increasingly attractive to company car drivers due to personal tax liability and economy. Hence Electric Vehicles (EVs) have become more a question of “why not?” rather than “why?” to fleet managers and drivers.
Over the past few years we’ve seen real momentum build with more businesses than ever willing to seriously consider EVs as a viable and attractive option. In the past 12 months we’ve also seen the significant growth of EVs in the Light Commercial Vehicle market.
One of the biggest barriers holding businesses back is a fear of the unknown and the worry of getting it wrong. Perhaps it’s due to unfamiliarity with EV products and the specific considerations required to ensure their success. But with the right advice and support, businesses can make an informed decision whether EVs are right for them and which EVs are best suited to their needs.
Introducing EVs is less complicated or risky than you might imagine and can be considered in four distinct areas:
- Where are EVs appropriate and which vehicles are available?
- Comparing EV costs vs. Traditional fleet vehicles?
- Charging infrastructure: how, where and when can they be charged?
- What are the available funding options for EVs?
In order to understand how and where EVs add value, serious analysis is required of the fleet and the journeys made. It’s unlikely that EVs will meet the needs of every driver, but the key is to identify those drivers and journeys where an EV could be used. When the subsequent cost benefit analysis is done, the numbers often speak for themselves.Range anxiety is often cited as a major barrier, but when you look more closely EVs are more than adequate for most daily journeys. In our experience, EVs are most suitable when the daily mileage is between 40 and 80 miles and there is access to residential, office or public charging facilities. It’s vital to put the right support infrastructure in place.
The final challenge is vehicle funding. Here, the fleet industry can help support businesses switch onto the benefits of electric and alternative fuel vehicles with try-before-you-buy schemes to prove the viability and real world benefits before moving towards a fuller integration.
In a rapidly changing market it’s not easy or straightforward to put together a comprehensive business case for EVs and alternative fuel vehicles. However, forward thinking organisations know that standing still is not an option either.