To say the least, the recent years have been challenging for the transport & logistics industry. Whether in regard to trucking, delivery, commercial, or transportation, vehicle fleets have had to swiftly adapt to any difficulties that have arisen within the general landscape. Categorically, the effects on the supply chain have been felt globally. Of which, it is the responsibility of fleet managers everywhere to seamlessly tackle these obstacles so that operations function as smoothly and optimally as possible.

Of course, the posed burden is, understandably, not easy to navigate through. Fortunately, however, there are current advancements underway which signal a seismic shift in the overall efficiency of the work carried out by fleets of vehicles. This causes 2023 to be a decisive juncture for transport and logistics, a defining point in time that will determine the future success of the industry as a whole.

At the head of this pivotal year is fleet electrification, i.e., the use of fleets consisting only of electric vehicles (EVs). The widespread adoption of electric fleets represents a solution to many topical issues. And so, although EVs are often associated with a certain luxury, in reality they are evincing themselves to be more of a necessity. Below, we’ve compiled the top reasons as to why this is the case, as well as the key proponent factors.

Carbon Footprint Reduction

Fundamentally, fleet electrification is accelerating because it has to. Namely, adequate responses to the environmental crisis that we’re experiencing become increasingly urgent as each day passes. This is true for every area of society, and even on an individual level it is now rightfully considered a primary duty for us to limit the carbon footprint that we leave behind.

The negative consequences of climate change have been evident for some time, but the matter remains directly related to the transportation sector. Transport is the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, comprising nearly a quarter (24%) of the UK’s total contributions.

This figure alone highlights the present state of emergency, a state that must inevitably be addressed. Traditionally, the onus has been on the fleet manager to discern the most efficient routes for their drivers so that the absolute least amount of fuel is consumed per journey. The need for analysis and actionable insights in this context is slightly negated due to how electric vehicles produce no GHG emissions and, as such, consistently entail minimal environmental impact.

Therefore, fleet electrification embodies a way of achieving the substantial benefits of reducing CO2 within fleets, all while intrinsically making the crucial job of the fleet manager easier. From this perspective, it’s plain to see why those in the transport and logistics industry are adamantly promoting the implementation of electric fleets in favour of using internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles on a global scale. That is, it’s not about projecting a corporate image, but rather saving the planet through sustainable practices.

TCO Reduction

Alongside optimising the fuel usage of a fleet, a fleet manager's main concern is also comprehensively reducing cost. Naturally, there is some overlap here because minimising a fleet’s carbon footprint by optimising (or eliminating in the case of EVs) its fuel consumption inherently equates to a clear reduction in expenditure.

The importance of a fleet’s monetary resources, as with any business operation, cannot be understated. While electric fleets may appear more expensive at a surface level than ICE fleets, they ultimately work out as more cost-effective, and thus much better for business in the long run as a result of their efficiency in this area. This is especially relevant today, given the exponential rise in the price of fuel.

Further still, although expenditure dedicated to fuel makes up a significant portion of a fleet’s total cost of ownership (TCO), it doesn’t account for every facet. For instance, how conventional vehicles require regular maintenance if they are to be compliant with both on-road regulations and set standards of safety. The same is not necessary for EVs, e.g., oil changes are not a problem, nor is the replacement of various parts which eventually become dysfunctional. Likewise, EVs often have an integrated regenerative braking system which reduces wear and tear over time.

Consequently, the time and money that is usually needed for satisfactory vehicle maintenance is drastically reduced when a fleet employs EVs over ICE vehicles. Again, this lightens the load of fleet managers too in order for them to be able to allocate their time towards improving productivity, as opposed to spending long hours handling administration and upkeep. In this way, a dramatic reduction in a fleet’s TCO makes electrification a singularly attractive option, hence why its prevalence is increasing.

Technological Improvements

In the past, the strongest argument against fleet electrification was that the technology which surrounded it had not sufficiently caught up with the central product. Specifically, that the infrastructure for electric fleets was not developed enough to make using the vehicles practical, relative to the accessibility of petrol stations.

Indeed, when EVs were in their infancy, it was a subject of difficulty for fleet managers to coordinate the charging of an entire vehicle fleet at a single location so that they were prepared to make deliveries in an efficient manner. Having said this, things are now entirely different.

Not only can you easily find charging points everywhere, there are also smart systems which allow for the mass charging of electric fleet vehicles. These systems circumvent previous issues, such as those that necessitated having a window of several hours in which the vehicles would be charged and prepared for their prospective journey.

Technological improvements in EV infrastructure, in addition to advancements concerning the vehicles’ batteries have made electric fleets a genuine alternative to their ICE counterparts. Not to mention, purpose-built solutions and bespoke services (like MICHELIN Connected Fleet) exist to help fleet managers make critical decisions surrounding energy costs and time-saving opportunities. These solutions come in the format of an integrated dashboard, one that is geared to streamline management, provide analytical insights, and troubleshoot any problems that might appear before correcting them in real-time.

When all of the above is displayed, it becomes reasonably obvious as to why fleet electrification is accelerating. That is, because the benefits are so all-encompassing. Fleet managers are typically expected to collectively optimise the productivity, efficiency, safety, and sustainability of the fleet that they are responsible for, and electric fleets automatically make this intimidating prospect more attainable.

To summarise, electric fleets represent a way for fleet managers to alleviate the strain of their daily tasks, as well as the strain that their operations generally have on the environment. The crux is that the technology is now up-to-date and ready to be utilised. If you’re interested in doing your part to make the industry safer and more sustainable, then be sure to make an enquiry into our fleet management solutions today.