The demand for electric vehicles is likely to be significant over the next two to five years and potentially solves the risk to perk fleets.
Key points from the roundtable debate amongst members of the Fleet200 Executive Club at its November meeting:
- Fleets with EVs on trial tend to schedule a maximum of 100 miles per day. They have work charging but also a stipulation that drivers must have home charging (for both full EV and plug-in hybrid). “EVs was a culture change for petrol heads, but they have adapted to EVs very quickly. BIK has been a big driver of change,” said one.
- Plug-in hybrids are being used as a stepping stone to full EV. “It’s an easier transition from plug-in to full EV because they are used to plugging in. Our drivers have to sign a disclaimer to say they will plug-in wherever possible and we monitor their fuel use. We have taken cars off people if they don’t plug in at home. They achieve 45mpg when they are plugging in and less than 30mpg when they aren’t.”
- One commented: “Pretty much every new car order is now a plug-in hybrid and within a couple of years, we believe it will be for full EVs.”
- A 300-mile range is seen as the “psychological barrier to hit” to accelerate wide-scale uptake. “We don’t advise our staff to drive for more than two hours without taking a break so a range of 250-300 is sufficient as long as the infrastructure is there. We need to have sufficient mileage for unforeseen circumstances, such as congestion. Drivers have to be confident that they will always get to their destination.”
- However, one fleet wants to jump straight to full EV, missing out PHEVs. “We think it’s possible and it’s more environmentally friendly. We will allow holiday swaps for a hire car alternative for up to 14 days a year.”
- EV adoption is seen as easier for cars than vans, especially when the fleet is not returning to base.
- Issues with installing charge points at leased buildings is being overcome by a combination of having a long lease and promising to leave the charge points in place should the company leave. Landlords seem to accept this.
- Barriers include cost, choice (especially size) and range. But they are all now disappearing. “Cost remains the biggest issue to overcome,” said one fleet. “But if you overcome that, everything else is possible. Cost includes the charging infrastructure because there are so many cards for charge points en route, while depot investment in on-site battery storage can be huge.”
- One success with EVs involved getting committed people/internal champions who can spread the positive message within the business.
- Those who traditionally buy vehicles might need to change to contract hire. “With all the changes in the urban environment, we don’t want to be stuck with vehicles that might not be in demand in the used market,” said one fleet.
- Cars, whether EVs or otherwise, are still seen as a recruitment tool, especially for younger people who might not be able to buy, insure and run their own car. “The employees taking cash are often the older staff,” said one fleet.
- One fleet considered replacing the car scheme with cash. “We didn’t see a saving but the risk of offering cash was a concern,” he said. “We proved to ourselves that it wasn’t the right approach.”
- The lack of sight of future BIK caused problems for companies, especially in relation to EVs, but not necessarily staff who rarely take much interest or notice in the impact of changing BIK levels. “But it impacts our ability to incentivise the right behaviour because we don’t know future EV BIKs.”