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  • Are Electric Vehicles (EV's) a good option for your fleet?

    With the Government placing more pressure on businesses to reduce their overall CO2 emissions, are Electric Vehicles or Hybrids a good choice for your fleets?

    Whilst monitoring fuel consumption is a quick and easy way to make significant reductions in CO2 emissions and savings to the business, adopting Electric Vehicles (EVs) or alternative fuel vehicles will be the way forward in terms of running a greener fleet. Uptake amongst public sector organisations are certainly high where carbon output and air quality are extremely important.

    Electric Vehicles (EVs)

    Reductions in CO2 production from Electric Vehicles will not only help towards saving our environment, but will also allow for savings from lowered company car tax bands and exemption from London congestion charges, as well as the obvious reduction in fuel costs, making valuable economic sense to business directors. As vehicle emissions are coming under greater scrutiny and Government targets need to be met it is important to be aware of the options available to you and how you can balance the financial impact of having higher CO2 emissions. If you do adopt a low emission vehicle then you will also have the added benefit of advertising as a carbon-friendly business which is a claim that currently holds huge credibility and public relations opportunities.

    What are the options for an Electric Vehicle?

    There are three options available, which include both a Hybrid Electric Vehicle and a pure Electric Vehicle:

    Hybrid-Electric Vehicles (HEVs) whose battery is charged through regenerative braking and the internal combustion engine or

    Plug-in Hybrid-Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) whose battery is plugged in to charge, or

    All-Electric Vehicles (EVs) whose batteries are charged by an electric power source and utilise electric energy only.

    Hybrid vehicles are powered by both a conventional engine and an electric motor and were designed so to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. A mild hybrid uses the electric motor to reinforce the petrol engine so the engine will switch off when stationary or coasting but the electric motor will never drive the car alone. Whereas a full hybrid allows the electric engine to fully power the car at low speeds. Hybrids do still predominantly run on petroleum-based fuel so they are not true alternative fuel vehicles when compared to pure EVs, but certainly offer substantial reductions in CO2 emissions.

    What are the issues with Electronic Vehicles?

    Electric vehicles are still in the early adopter stage within most fleets due to high costs and concerns on ease of adoption. Even when fleets have a sustainability goal the additional purchase costs can clearly outweigh the overall benefits to the business, but we are starting to see the initial purchase prices coming down and many manufacturers also offer the option of purchasing the vehicle whilst leasing the battery.

    If your fleet adopts a sustainability initiative and wants to reduce their carbon footprint then EVs are a sensible option. Clearly also the price of petrol versus the price of electric fuel is a key driver in this adoption, but fleets can also save a lot of money in maintenance costs of Electric Vehicles.

    Adoption of EVs for fleets is currently more driven by the driver mileage. In many cases the number of miles driven are just too high to sensibly adopt an Electric Vehicle. In addition to this Fleet Managers will need to carefully select the drivers of these vehicles who will need to be open to driving such vehicles and able to easily charge their vehicle.

    Many business drivers also cite the lack of adequate recharging infrastructure as a reason for not choosing an Electric Vehicle as their next company car. However, this partly comes down to knowledge on this type of car and whilst there are already sufficient charging points across the country for the number of vehicles adopted, the best way to charge will be from installing charging points at your base (either at home or within the fleet base) so vehicles can be charged overnight. Level 3 ChargePoints (dc Fast Chargers) are currently less common across the country but would make sense to be adopted in Fleet premises for use by taxi fleets and delivery vehicles, for example.

    Most Electric Vehicles will need to be charged every 100 miles. Therefore there is a need to charge overnight at your base and you are not likely to use at normal petrol stations as charging time takes too long (up to 8 hours). This in itself is an education as many drivers will be expecting chargers to be readily available at every petrol station they come across. Hence, the perception of lack of recharging infrastructure.  

    Electric motoring is currently not the best option for sales reps who travel hundreds of miles, but if daily trips are around 70-80 miles then your fleet will save allot of money. Savings in fuel from an electric vehicle can be as much as three times less when compared to a petrol-based engine. In fact it has been known for running costs to be as little as 2p per mile. It is also considered that large fleets are less likely to see the full benefits from adopting an electric fleet in their current form.

    Once the batteries of an Electric Vehicle are advanced enough to be more affordable and to deliver a longer performance charge for greater distances (and the number of charging stations are increased) then adoption will become more widespread. Perhaps for now, trucks and light vans are a better choice of vehicle when adopting EVs due to the fact that they only need to use about 10% of the power to keep them moving once they have started in motion.

    Fleet Insurance for Electronic Vehicles

    In addition to savings on tax and fuel you may also be able to benefit from savings on fleet insurance by adopting an electric fleet. The cost of repairs and maintenance are significantly lower on pure EVs due to fewer moving parts, and you can also receive a better deal based on the vehicle perhaps being smaller and less powerful therefore attributing less risk, as well as insurers providing discounts for driving environmentally-friendly vehicles.

    Bluedrop motor fleet insurance for Electric Vehicles can even provide a flexible policy to cover a mix of fuel sources if you are looking to adopt a percentage of vehicles as EVs. Be aware that if you lease a battery from the manufacturer for your vehicles then you will need to let your insurer know.

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