Businesses transitioning to electric vehicles: here is what you need to know
The writing is on the wall: Corporate fleets are going green to reduce emissions. As a fleet manager or procurement professional, your question isn’t when your company will begin the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) — it’s how to do it without getting lost in the complexity.
Working with GoWithFlow and the Flow Sustainable Mobility Management Platform (Flow SMM), you’ll take a pragmatic three-step approach to fleet transition.
- 1. Create a Fleet Electrification Plan: Which vehicles to transition and a prioritized plan of when to make the changes.
- 2. Design and build a charging infrastructure: What charging infrastructure is optimal for your fleet needs, facilities and employees.
- 3. Integrate your fleet and charging management: How to have one platform for dual-fuel fleet management.
Let’s discuss each in a little more detail.
Create a Fleet Electrification Plan
The top fear we hear from clients about the transition to EVs is range — how can they trust an EV to be performance-ready for day-to-day business use? But the initiative to switch out EVs or plug-in hybrid electric (PHEVs) isn’t a simple swap.
When you begin with the Flow Fleet Electrification Plan, your first step is to take a good, hard look at your fleet.
How many miles does each vehicle drive? From an analysis of the more than 4,500 vehicles under management in the Flow SMM, we’ve seen that most fleet vehicles travel less than 95 miles per day.
Now, did you know the median range for EVs is a whopping 250 miles per full charge? That means that in the vast majority of cases, you could exchange a petrol- or diesel-powered vehicle for a fully electric vehicle.
What if you didn’t have to do the heavy lifting to research and make these decisions on your own?
Working with Flow, we’ll analyze factors such as your current fleet makeup and mileage of routes driven to identify the vehicles to transition to electric. We’ll also review whether you’ve purchased or leased your vehicles and prioritize the most cost-effective time to make the change. And, we’ll identify and provide recommendations on which make of EV or PHEV would be most optimal for performance and savings.
Flow also works hand-in-hand with some of the world’s most respected corporate leasing companies like LeasePlan and ALD, so we can help with vehicle-acquisition decisions, including input on whether to lease or purchase your own vehicles based on your particular needs.
When you start with a Flow Fleet Electrification Plan, you’ll create a prioritized roadmap for near- and long-term fleet transition so you can make informed decisions about your fleet makeup that meet your business objectives.
Design and Build a Charging Infrastructure
EVs are proven to have lower running costs — a study by UK insurer Direct Line found that the average operating cost of an EV is 21% less than an old-fashioned internal combustion engine (ICE) car. The savings included in the transition to EVS are lower maintenance costs and the lower cost of fuel, electricity being somewhat more economical than petrol or diesel.
The wrinkle for fleet managers is twofold: How do you determine what is an optimal charging structure, and how do you manage it?
To build your charging infrastructure, you’ll first need to evaluate your facilities and the available electrical load. Too little power, and you won’t be able to take advantage of rapid chargers or expand the number of charging stations as your needs grow. Taking the time to understand this basic level of reality goes a long way toward ensuring that your charging investments are smartly made.
Then, you’ll need to determine your charging setup and scheduling system — dual chargers, slow-speed chargers, high-speed chargers, smart chargers. With prices ranging from $1,000-$10,000 installed, it can be a capital expenditure you don’t want to have to justify.
Another critical component of charging is your employees’ home-charging capabilities. For company vehicles that are driven home at night, you can set up a chargeback scheme to cover the electricity costs of charging.
Plus, there’s the growing availability of public charging stations that could be tapped as needed.
There are a lot of variables for a fleet manager who’s used to filling gas tanks. What if you could have a detailed plan for which, how and when to implement your charging infrastructure to support your corporate fleet?
With the Charging Management functionality in the Flow SMM Platform, you’ll have the blueprints to plan for and optimize your organization’s commercial charging infrastructure and your employees’ home-based charging systems, minimizing initial capital outlay and tracking all costs associated with your fleet.
Integrate Your Fleet and Charging Management in One Platform
Anybody in technology can tell you there is value in data — if you can harness it.
With in-vehicle telematics, you’ll monitor the vehicle, its location, battery status and availability. But people don’t want to feel like they’re being tracked.
When you work with Flow and start the transition to EVs, you can define specific business practices about what data is collected, what it will be used for, and who can see that data. And there are ways to regulate usage to make the rules very clear.
For example, for someone with a company vehicle, it’s going to be helpful to have the fleet manager know when it needs service or maintenance. Or if there’s an issue, it’s great when the company can know about it before it becomes a real problem. But one of the perks of a company vehicle is having it 24/7. Secure telematics can have defined hours, or regular connection times that occur only during work hours. So they’re not interested in what the driver is doing in their off hours. And that’s what the data can reflect.
For the fleet manager, when you look at all your mobility-related data in one dashboard — vehicles, fuel status, location, maintenance, costs — you can see much more than usage or availability. Data lets you see things you can’t see in the physical, un-connected world.
What if you could see patterns in real time that can help you identify areas ripe for change and for improvement?
With the Fleet + Charging Management features in the Flow SMM, you’ll integrate your view of a dual-fuel fleet in one platform, making the most of the analytics in your fleet and charging infrastructure to meet sustainability objectives while you control costs, build efficiencies and create new opportunities.
Benefits of Working with Flow
Any change is hard, especially one that impacts your critical corporate fleet. You don’t have to make this journey alone.
Working alongside Flow, you have a partner that will take the complexity out of the process. This frees you and your team to think about the strategic changes you can make when you revamp your fleet.
With the Flow SMM, you’ll have the data and analytics to identify areas to improve and measure your progress against both cost-savings targets and environmental impacts.
And together, we’ll be changing the way people move — for the better.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” — Alan Lakein, Time management expert.