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Everything you need to know before integrating electric vehicles in your company’s fleet

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In the last few years, the technology behind electric vehicles developed at a significant pace and this is the right time for organizations to start integrating electric vehicles in their fleets.

If you are thinking about changing the composition of your fleet, it’s important to have all the necessary information to make an informed decision. In the following sections, we’ll take a brief look at the changes you can expect and the factors you must consider while deciding to add electric vehicles to your fleet.

Common types of electric vehicles

There are several different types of electric vehicles available in the market. For simplicity, they are divided into three major categories:

  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
    These vehicles do not have an IC engine and solely rely on batteries and motors. You can charge the batteries at an outlet or a charging station.
  • Hybrid vehicles
    ‍Simultaneously use the IC engine and an electric motor to reduce fuel consumption. Batteries get charged through regenerative braking.
  • Plug-in Hybrids‍
    These cars operate on the same technology as BEVs, but have an internal combustion engine as well. The IC engine kicks-in, and operates just like any regular car once you’ve exhausted your batteries. Like BEV’s you can charge the batteries at any charging station.

Electric vehicles are excellent! They are greener, easy to maintain, and are more advanced. However, they have some limitations as well. The following section will compare the positives and negatives of electric vehicles from a fleet’s perspective.

Advantages of EVs

  1. Environmental benefits
    This is perhaps the most well-known advantage of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are greener as they do not release any emissions. If the electricity you are using comes from a green source (solar or wind), the environmental benefits get even better.

    As a business, working on reducing your carbon footprint is not only your moral and ethical responsibility; it also makes sense as a business decision. If leveraged properly, establishing yourself as a green-fleet can give you a chance to connect with the consumers. Furthermore, it also allows you to enjoy tax-breaks and other green incentives offered by the government or other private entities.
  2. ‍Low operational costs
    The overall operational cost of electric vehicles is lower than their gasoline alternatives. According to the US Department of Energy, switching to an electric vehicle can save around $200 every month. Now scale that up to your fleet of 30 or 50 cars. Saving $10K sounds awesome! Doesn’t it?
  3. Simple maintenance
    Modern electric vehicles are notoriously simple to maintain. Since there are a few moving parts, the regular maintenance issues that are very common in gasoline cars do not crop up as frequently.
  4. High data visibility
    You must have noticed that many electric vehicles are significantly more advanced than their alternatives. Just take a look at any Tesla. It will be full of features you’ll never expect in other cars. This noticeable discrepancy is due to engineering reasons. Electric cars have fewer moving parts, so the onboard computer can handle more tasks simultaneously and have better internal diagnostic systems.

Disadvantages of EVs

  1. Limitations in battery technology
    Battery technology has come a long way, but there are still a few limitations. For instance, take a look at the charging times. Even Tesla’s supercharger takes about 75 minutes to completely charge the batteries. Compared to that, you’ll only need 2 or 3 minutes to fill your tank with gasoline.
  2. Low range
    The time it takes to charge an electric vehicle is not the only issue. Generally, electric vehicles with a 100% battery will have a lower range than a petrol-driven car.
  3. Initial ownership costs
    Electric vehicles are great, but there is a huge demand in the market with a few global suppliers. Moreover, the technology is relatively new, so you’ll have to bear a significant initial cost.
  4. Lack of charging infrastructure
    If your fleet is restricted to New South Wales or Victoria, you are safe. However, for people in Canberra or Tasmania, an electric vehicle fleet will be a nightmare. Statistics show that the two areas have a combined total of 15 charging points for electric vehicles. Unless there is a huge boost in the number of charging points across all states, going 100% green does not make business sense.

The choice is yours

To sum up, it is without a doubt that the future of the automation world belongs to electric vehicles and a successful business always stays ahead of the curve to maintain its edge. Now that you are aware of the pros and cons of adding electric vehicles, you can evaluate their viability for your fleet by considering the following factors.

  • Vehicle prices and other non-recurring costs
  • Driving range and your operational requirements
  • Charging infrastrucure in the area of intended use
  • The total benefits and their costs (cost/benefit analysis)

Generally, a staged integration of electric vehicles is the best approach for any fleet manager. This allows managers to achieve a perfect balance by minimizing the aforementioned negatives and maximizing the positives. The staged approach allows your fleet to keep up with the current trends, and gives you enough time to wait for the infrastructure to develop, which seems inevitable.

Tim Hill

CEO and Cofounder of Fleetyr