An analysis of 200 UK-based fleet companies with a turnover of over £1m by Centrica Business Solutions shows demand for electric vehicles (EVs) from business customers is skyrocketing, with 62 per cent saying they anticipate full operation to have an electric fleet within the next four years.
Private ownership of electric vehicles has risen sharply in the last year, but a significant number of UK road users are those employed by delivery and courier fleets.
This is especially true in urban areas: The World Economic Forum’s report “The Future of the Last-Mile Ecosystem” shows that by 2030 there could be 36 per cent more delivery vehicles in inner cities and that without intervention this could now lead to a 32 per cent increase in CO2 emissions within a decade.
Despite this positive development, however, two-thirds of the companies surveyed said they were concerned about access to public charging points, which is why 48 percent have already installed charging infrastructure on their own premises and 36 percent plan to invest in on-site charging infrastructure in the next 12 months .
Companies have the right idea to invest in on-site charging infrastructure; However, concerns about public access charging stations are misguided, argues Aidan McClean, CEO and co-founder of Ufodrive and best-selling author of Electric Revolution: Myths and Truths About Electric Vehicles and Climate Catastrophe Instead, McClean says, fleet managers should pay more attention to effective management software that optimizes charging schedules, manages battery health effectively, and provides more accurate analytics in addition to understanding route data and driving style.
“I am thrilled to see corporate fleets starting to accept EVs – as they are running out of time; both in environmental terms and ahead of the UK production ban on new internal combustion engines in 2030,” said Mr McClean. “Furthermore, fleet electrification continues to be viewed as an ‘easy win’ to achieve corporate net-zero ambitions. However, despite these positive numbers, it is clear that many people are still not adopting the EV mindset necessary for adoption. Concerns about “range anxiety,” particularly from fleet managers and their drivers, are understandable – but misplaced. Treating electric vehicles as fossil fuel vehicles is an oversight; With a busy day at work ahead of us or with journeys to be made, nobody has time to sit around at work and wait for their electric van to be charged like we would at the gas pump.
Instead, McClean adds, they need to be confident that their daily work starts with a full battery and that the software manages the charging schedule of each vehicle, as well as the entire fleet. This means fleet managers need efficient software that prioritizes the vehicles that need charging the most while parked in the depot. In addition, there is a significant lack of data around electric vehicles. This includes things like how driving style and routes realistically affect range, as well as real-time data on which chargers are available and working. When a driver needs to make a charging stop, which shouldn’t happen often, they need to know where chargers are on their journey, which ones are working, and which ones they can access.”
“The general population is already mentally primed to adopt electric vehicles,” McClean said. “After all, most people charge their phones overnight and wouldn’t necessarily incorporate a ‘pit stop’ with a full charge into their day-to-day work – especially if someone is on the road and hasn’t parked in one place for a long time. We need to adopt the same mindset when it comes to electric vehicles – and fleet managers are no different, except that they have to balance many chargers; This is where smarter, better software is essential.”
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Centrica Business Solutions