Due to the changes in emission standards enforced by the US government, many fleet managers want to switch to
electric vehicles or EVs for fleets. If you plan to go down the same road, you need to understand the
particulars of the transition.
Transportation contributes to approximately 20% of all CO2 emissions because of burning fossil fuels. Then
again, vehicular travel is indisputably mandatory in numerous industries, including transportation,
construction, and the economy in general. EV use can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which is one of the
reasons fleet managers have been planning to shift to an electric fleet.
From a business point of view, there are several reasons that you must consider when you upgrade your current fleet with EVs, but, of course, there are a few obvious advantages to using electric vehicles in your fleet in some capacity.
- A cleaner fleet
Enough has been said and claimed about the harmfulness of traditional fuels and how they affect the environment. Naturally, adopting to a environmental friendly approach by switching to electric vehicles within the fleet is an excellent way to showcase your commitment to helping save the environment. Investing in an entirely electric fleet connected by fleet vehicle GPS trackers can work in your favor because it will become an exceptional selling point for potential clients.
- Cheaper to maintain and run
If you hope to invest in EVs only for business purposes, you should know that an electric vehicle is much cheaper to maintain and run than anything else. EVs have just a few moving parts compared to automobiles running on diesel or petrol. Therefore, an EV will need significantly less servicing and fewer parts to fix when anything goes wrong. Electric vehicles can work without exhaust systems, radiators, starter motors, etc., which reduces how much you pay over a vehicle's life span.
- Fuel consumption tracking
Most people know just how important it is to fleet managers to track and measure fuel consumption. These people need mandatory access to an entire host of data associated with the fuel consumption of each vehicle. Keeping tabs on the problem-ridden areas of a business regarding costs is essential to ensure the fleet runs smoothly.
Despite all the pros of electric vehicles, there are a few cons that you should be aware of.
- Overcharged batteries
One of the most significant pitfalls of electric vehicles in their current state is that their batteries may sustain damages if overcharged frequently. EV batteries work like phone batteries - the latter will not hold enough charge if charged more often than necessary. Most EV manufacturers suggest charging the battery to around 80% capacity. If you need the entire battery capacity, you can take it to 100%, but avoid doing that as much as possible.
- Can't cover long distances on one charge
Another significant disadvantage of electric vehicles is that they can't cover long distances on one battery charge. That is why it is especially difficult for fleet managers looking to replace conventional vehicles with EVs. After all, they can't use their fleet for long-haul deliveries.
- Not enough charging stations
Since an EV cannot cover long distances, it will need to be charged mid-way. However, there is a significant lack of charging stations across the nation. The alternative fuel locator of the US Department of Energy claims;
- There are 129,598 EV charging ports available to the public. These ports are spread over 50,401 public charging stations.
- There are 14,673 private charging ports over 3,743 personal charging stations, excluding residential charging points.
- There are 290 planned public EV charging ports along with 76 planned public charging stations.
- There are 361 additional planned private EV charging ports over an extra 79 planned personal EV charging stations.
Indeed, all these public and private EV charging stations are currently available, but they are not enough to cater to the millions of electric vehicles that need charging.
Easing the transition
Is your business ready to prioritize the shift to an electric fleet? Start by considering it a change management project that is deemed an agency-wide effort.
The first thing to do is make sure your employees understand the need for change and your organization's future vision. To conclude the project successfully, you will need a diverse group of people to work together, identify challenges, and carve a path forward. Collaborate with enthusiastic visionaries and cautious analysts to forge practical solutions.
Humble beginnings, large thoughts
Local governments that have transitioned their fleets to EVs, claim the process works best in phases. Fleet managers should initially focus on transitioning a specific vehicle type to electric, such as small SUVs or sedans. Focusing on only one type of vehicle lets you assess its capabilities and limitations for covering different distances or for multiple uses quickly. This provides baseline data that makes the task of training employees on the use of new EVs easier. Simultaneously, you can manage expectations relative to a fuel-powered vehicle.
A phased conversion timeline can start with a modest portion of the fleet and then increase the percentage of EVs steadily to your organization's established goals. Some local governments are phasing in this transition by adhering to multi-pronged procurement strategies: purchasing EVs for agency uses, targeting hybrid vehicles for other uses, and finding renewable diesel vehicles for heavy uses.
During the earliest stages of transition, fleet managers may not have the in-house staff expertise needed to maintain EVs. Some agencies initially outsource EV maintenance by paying for service warranties with vehicles or taking the automobiles to a trusted mechanic and dealerships. Thankfully, the US Department of Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office calculates that the maintenance costs of EVs are about 40% of the cost of maintaining regular fuel-powered vehicles.
Options of procuring
There is a strong demand for EVs right now. This situation makes it challenging for manufacturers to deliver vehicles to buyers quickly. Fleet managers know well beforehand when an automobile needs to be replaced, and someone who plans ahead and is open to exploring alternative procurement sources will have more chances of succeeding in finding the right EV within a predetermined time frame.
The Climate Mayors EV Purchasing Collaborative is a one-stop, online procurement portal that provides local governments access to bid on EVs competitively and charging infrastructure. The members of the WSU Green Transportation Program can further assist regional governments in identifying EV sources.
EV charging infrastructure plans
Having convenient access to charging infrastructure is mandatory for the transition to an EV fleet. Towns, counties, and cities must work with their electric utility establishments to determine the optimal siting and electricity upgrades necessary for fleet charging stations. By introducing a utility to the conversation early, an agency can plan in advance for managing and shifting electric loads to accommodate EV fleets.
Several facilities based in Washington are offering incentives to install charging stations, including Snohomish PUD, Puget Sound Energy, Avista, and Energy Northwest. Additionally, a few electric utilities may be able to provide startup charging infrastructure at zero cost
The phenomenal efforts of the many leaders in the public and private sectors deserve recognition too. For instance, Massachusetts and California governments aims to achieve 100% EV sales by 2035. Here are a few more stats.
- Uber and Lyft aim to be 100% electric by 2030.
- Xcel Energy wants to invest $110 million to prepare for 20% EV market penetration in Colorado by 2030.
- Amazon, FedEx, and UPS aim to undertake massive fleet electrification projects.
- GM plans to spend $27 billion across the world through 2025. It also wants to deploy 20 new EV models in North America.
Utilize helpful resources
There are many excellent resources for local governments and businesses transitioning to an EV fleet. The staff members work extensively with local governments and can support organizations in taking the next step in fleet transition. Whether you are just starting to consider this issue or already on your way, you can benefit from government-run programs or anything similar running in your state. Such programs host meetings for public fleet managers, policymakers, and industry stakeholders so that they can share experiences and get updates on funding and other opportunities.
The fame of electric vehicles is more than a call to improve the environment - it is the way of the future. With in-depth research and proper planning, shifting to EVs in fleets will prove to be a valuable asset and an inspired move. Fleet managers planning for an electric future today have put themselves in a position to bolster their future successes.