Transitioning to a green fleet has become an inevitable reality in the past year after the UK government announced that it would end the sale of ICE vehicles in 2030 and hybrid vehicles in 2035. This means that fleet operators need to incorporate the development of a new electric fleet into their plans.

There’s then a question that arises: what is next for fleet managers? How can they solve all the challenges that this change brings, and what key factors should be considered in the process to gain all the significant environmental, financial, and operational benefits associated with going electric?

In this article, we will take you through 4 tips that will help you to take your electric fleet to the next level, so you can make the most of the switch.

Determine the right pace

In order to establish and grow your electric fleet, you need to find a balance between sustainability and your business demands. This is why it is important to assess your current fleet’s capacity and requirements, as this will provide you with key information you need to roll out your new EV fleet.

The first step to determining the right pace for your fleet development is to answer important questions, such as: What kinds of EVs are currently available, and which ones are equivalent to the vehicles currently in your fleet?

In the past few years, we have seen an increase in the number of automakers entering the electric vehicle market with both cars and heavier vehicles. And, based on Bloomberg’s Electric Vehicle Outlook Report for 2021, electric trucks of all sizes have become the cheapest option for fleets to invest in. The increase in the number of charging stations in the UK alongside the creation of much higher energy density batteries has also resulted in battery-electric trucks becoming a viable option.

The main features of an electric vehicle are the battery and the electric motor propulsion. These are key in evaluating an EV’s range, as they dictate how far a vehicle can travel on a single charge. There are also other factors, such as temperature, load, geographical conditions, and driver habits that can also influence an electric vehicle’s range. This is why it is important to check other parameters, including the mileage of your entire fleet, how much time is spent on the road, whether your vehicles return to your base at the end of the day and whether your vehicles frequent motorways or urban routes.

Once you have gathered this data, with the help of fleet management services and solutions, you can determine which EVs are best suited to your fleet. Then, the next step in your transition to an electric fleet is to evaluate your financial plan for the acquisition of vehicles. This will help ensure the success of your business and promote profitability.

Further data collected by Bloomberg shows that the price of a new electric vehicle is higher than a comparable petrol or diesel model. With this in mind, the UK government has introduced a plug-in grant to help buyers offset some of the costs associated with buying a new EV. Given the low cost of EV maintenance and the grants available, the expenses associated with EVs can fall in line with those associated with an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle.

Analyse EV fleet performance

To define your EV fleet performance, you first need to consider which EV models make up your fleet. There are many different types of EV:

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)

The manufacturing of the last three models will stop in 2035, as they do use fuel. This is something to take into account when building your electric fleet as, in time, they will probably need to be replaced with fully electric vehicles.

As we mentioned previously, when analysing electric vehicles, it is important to consider each one’s range. This can differ based on a number of factors, such as whether or not the vehicle is fully electric or hybrid, and specific model characteristics. It is vital to consider range when analysing performance because it is essential in planning and optimising routes. It is also important to consider that the use of petrol and diesel effectively extends the range of a vehicle, which in turn means that it takes longer to refuel and recharge.

Another important factor in analysing fleet performance is the maintenance of batteries. Batteries degrade over time, which means they lose some of their ability to store energy and deliver power. However, the Bloomberg Electric Vehicle Outlook Report for 2021 shows that battery degradation is typically minor when the vehicle is looked after and driven sensibly. There have also been developments in the use of new chemistries in EV batteries to improve and optimise them. This new formula within the batteries has been proven to deliver higher energy densities and a longer battery life. Alongside this, EV batteries are covered under manufacturer warranties, which help to reduce costs should you require replacements.

Optimising electric fleet technology

When transitioning to an electric fleet, there are a number of steps you’ll need to take to prepare. One of these is the installation of charging points on your base.

To determine how many chargers you should install and which types are going to be right for you, there are some questions you should answer, such as:

How long are the vehicles being used each day? What is their average route mileage? Do they return to your base at the end of the day?

The answers to these questions, alongside the data you have already collected about the average range of your vehicles, will help you decide how many you’ll need. The goal when installing charging points is to ensure that no drivers in your fleet find themselves on the road without any charge.

To help you install charging points, the UK government has created the Workplace Charging Scheme, which provides businesses, charities, and public-sector organisations with grants to help with purchasing and installing electric vehicle charging points.

Monitoring your EV fleet with advanced fleet management solutions will help you keep track of your fleet and its condition in order to make data-driven decisions when taking further steps in improving your performance and productivity.

Ensuring eco-driving

Monitoring your fleet’s performance and taking corrective action when needed will help you create a set of good practices which, in turn, will reduce your fleet’s energy consumption. In the case of EVs, this is to help your vehicles conserve their battery power and increase their range.

There are some differences between fuel and electric vehicles’ performances. Some of these are directly related to energy efficiency. For example, EVs feature regenerative braking, which works by sending kinetic energy back to the battery whenever the driver brakes smoothly. By doing this, most of the energy is recaptured and reused by the vehicle. This feature is shown on the main display of some EV models, so drivers can see how much energy is recaptured. This ensures that the battery will not drain as quickly, helping to avoid disrupting operations and increasing productivity.

Driving with correctly inflated tyres can also decrease energy consumption. If the tyres are under-inflated, not only will this increase energy consumption, but it will also make the tyres wear out quicker, creating a further expense for the maintenance of your fleet. There have been advances in tyre technology, such as intelligent tyres that reduce carbon emissions, which can be used to improve fleet performance.

Monitoring your fleet also provides you with data about your drivers’ behaviour on roads. This is helpful as it allows you to deliver specific driver training to implement a more eco-friendly driving approach.