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Is my fleet suitable for transitioning to electric vehicles?

Those who follow automotive market trends can (hopefully) see that the future of the industry is electric. Though this may sound like a bold statement, you only need to look at the statistics to realise just how quickly electric vehicles (EVs) and EV telematics are proliferating within the world of business. According to a recent BP survey of UK fleet managers, over half (52%) of businesses already have EVs in their fleets, and of those that haven’t, 54% plan to switch within the next five years. 

Although the use of commercial EVs is quickly growing, there’s no right or wrong time for fleet managers to do away with their internal combustion engine (i.e., petrol and diesel-powered) fleet vehicles in favour of electric-powered alternatives. Every business has its own needs after all. 

At the same time, it’s also important for fleet managers to keep in mind that (1) there are now fewer than 10 years left until the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicle sales, and (2) there are many government-backed incentives currently available to businesses that choose to electrify their fleets, including grants, tax relief, and capital allowance benefits. 

Starting your transition

Given these benefits, and the fact that fleet managers will eventually be forced to transition anyway, it makes sense to consider making the switch now, gradually, ahead of time. Not only will this enable organisations like yours to benefit from the obvious such as tax incentives and lower operating costs, but it will also help to futureproof your fleet and enable your organisation to remain competitive in the long term. 

However, we understand that the prospect of electrifying your fleet may sound daunting. With the abundance of EVs available, it’s not like you can just point to the most cost-effective option and hope for the best. You’ve also got to make sure that your chosen EVs will be compatible with your fleet operations.  

Things to consider when transitioning to EVs

To help you get started, we’ve put together a small list of things that you will need to do when you decide it’s time for your fleet to make the switch to e-mobility. 

1. Carry out a top-down evaluation

There are several factors that need thorough consideration before making the switch to EVs, and you should look at these first as they will give you a rough idea of whether compatibility issues exist between your current fleet operations and any EV models that you’re considering. These factors include where your drivers are based, daily mileage, typical weights and loads carried by your existing fleet, average weather conditions across key routes, staff availability, fleet housing options, and more. 

2. Perform market research

On top of assessing your fleet, it’s also important to carry out thorough market research to paint a complete picture of the capabilities of any EVs that you’re considering. Charging rate, maximum driving distance, battery type, and more are all key things that you need to factor into the decision-making process. This is particularly true right now because charging infrastructure is still in its infancy. It also pays to be mindful of EV power consumption needs and understand that these can be affected by factors beyond your control such as weather conditions, unexpected route diversions, and traffic conditions. 

3. Assess charging infrastructure needs

Understanding factors such as power consumption and charging rate can help fleet managers optimise their charging infrastructure based on operational needs. While low-power chargers are cheaper and more widely accessible, for example, more expensive high-powered chargers may be more cost-effective for your fleet because they can charge your vehicles more quickly and keep them on the road for longer. 

Fleet managers must also plan on how to keep up with developments in EV supply equipment to ensure that investments are not lost before they’ve had a chance to be put to work.

4. Perform financial analysis

Transitioning a fleet is quite an involved task and, as you’ll hopefully understand by now, thorough research. It’s no use spending money on technology that will be outdated by the time you’ve installed it, and thorough financial planning and analysis is an important part of e-mobility implementation that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

For instance, while the initial capital outlay for EVs may seem very high in comparison to conventional vehicles, the right EV infrastructure will last for decades if it’s well-maintained. And, as we touched upon earlier, it’s well worth thinking about how you could benefit from incentives such as government grants and tax subsidies. 

5. Choose an electric vehicle telematics solution

Electric vehicle telematics is the key to unlocking maximum value and seamless operation from your electric fleet. Features such as driver tracking, route planning, real-time visibility, and maintenance scheduling are all the more critical in an electric-powered fleet where new challenges such as range anxiety and fitting in recharging must be overcome by fleet managers. 

What’s more, when paired with data analytics, EV telematics solutions can deliver deep insights into information like driver habits and behaviour, see and manage recharge costs, and identify vehicle issues well in advance of them developing into anything serious, allowing you to highlight and rectify inefficiencies within your fleet to make even more cost savings. 

It’s time to embrace fleet electrification 

You can kick the can down the road, but one way or another you’re going to have to accept the inevitable and replace your petrol and diesel-powered fleet vehicles with cleaner and more efficient electric alternatives.

For fleet managers, planning is the most important part of any EV fleet strategy, and this must cover everything from market research and technical considerations to financial analysis and choosing a robust EV telematics solution.

Although we can’t tell you when or how to make this transition, the team at Trakm8 can help you extract maximum value from your electrified fleet. We are a leading provider of fleet tracking and fleet telematics technology, helping you to monitor your vehicles in real-time from anywhere and improve operational efficiency across the board. Read more in our Guide to Electic Vehicle Telematics.

Talk to us today to learn how our innovative electric vehicle telematics technology can help you.

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