Switching to EV? What you need to consider

As queues snaked into petrol station forecourts around Britain this autumn, the idea of an electric vehicle fleet must have seemed more attractive than ever for businesses, still reeling from the effects of Covid and supply-chain issues.  Leon Wong, EV Business Development Manager at Manchester-based Pilot Group, explains the key considerations for any company looking to make the switch.

Throughout my career I have seen the dramatic evolution of the electric vehicle.  I now work with Manchester-based Pilot Group to ensure businesses have the right charging infrastructure in place to power their business, but I used to be at the opposite end of the electric vehicle journey.

Many of the key questions remain the same, so here are some of the issues for you to ponder.

PERFORMANCE

While working with local authorities around the northeast of England, the initial EVs weren’t capable of going far, so the main consideration was so-called ‘range anxiety’ – how far could you drive without needing to be plugged in? If you take the first iteration of the Nissan Leaf, for example, a full charge could take a car officially 124 miles (NEDC) although more likely actually around 80-100 miles, but now EVs are capable of three times that which allows much greater flexibility.

That of course still raises issues for businesses which need to travel further, but there are new vehicles entering the market all the time, first generation E-LCVs were capable of around 50-60 miles or range, but fast forward to now and upcoming E-LCV’s are capable of up to 200 miles on a single charge, a huge advance for a vehicle of its size.

But there are other considerations which will affect performance and not everyone takes time to consider, including the weight of the cargo you will be carrying and the weather conditions in your area.  These have a big impact on your ability to extract value from the EV.

If distances are long, weights are heavy and the weather challenging, then perhaps you should be considering a hybrid alternative to ensure an optimal decision.

EDUCATION 

What I have also observed is that people need educating about electric vehicles.  For example how quickly they can charge, their weight, the ability of the battery to hold charge and how long they can last with repeated use.

There’s no better test of a battery’s ability to withstand punishing treatment than a fleet of vehicles which are used daily in all weathers with a variety of different loads. In a previous job role, I observed a fleet of Nissan Leaf taxis, and they were remarkably resilient.  Some of these cars had travelled over 100,000 miles in 2 years and yet there had been no obvious deterioration in the battery’s ability to hold its charge. This is a perfect example of where you would think an electric car wouldn’t work yet its proven it can be done.

EV fleets are resilient, and could become workhorse replacement for diesel vehicles, which have been the go-to for fleet managers over the years.

FUTURE PROOF

Can this be more a positive never been a better time for a transition to electric cars for individuals and fleet managers to explore? EV’s are at a point where the range is accepted by most people’s average commute – eliminating range anxiety. Automotive manufacturers now have E-LCV’s that businesses can consider changing their fleet to.

This of course is dependent on the miles you need to travel and your budget, but you must also factor in green grants which are on offer as part of the government’s carbon reduction strategy, and any deal with manufacturers which will allow software and hardware upgrades as part of the contract.

CHARGING

At Pilot Group we help businesses find charging solutions to ensure their fleet is always ready to go, to keep their business on the road.

Again, there are key considerations here including incoming power supply: what type of chargers are needed, how many chargers to install and does this future proof from evolving technology or expansion?

The public charge network is too complicated with yet another mobile app to download input all your details and setup payments to start charging your car. The Pilot Group EV user friendly chargers allow you to access fast charging points that can be easily installed at any location. Manage everything from transactions, screen interaction, electricity consumption, and operations in real time. With the options of using a colour touch screen for advertising and promotions, you can support both the environment and your business with increased customer interaction.  Our smart EV chargers are available with over 33 languages that allows you to pay with your most convenient option through contactless payment, chip and pin and also supports users with handheld devices allowing you to pay via Google pay, Apple pay, etc. A simple tap and go solution for charging.

GOOD FOR YOUR BUSINESS, GOOD FOR THE PLANET

Then there is another key consideration which many businesses should consider on the plus side of the ledger: the corporate social responsibility element of EV fleet adoption.

You are contributing to the global and national push to reduce carbon emissions and vehicles.  Remember this: transportation is the most polluting sector in the United Kingdom and produced the equivalent of 122 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e) in 2019. This represented roughly 27 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions that year.

There are commercial advantages in promoting your businesses’ commitment to the environment, over and above any savings you may make from charging the vehicles.

There are of course as many different questions as there are operations and logistics managers looking to change to an EV fleet, so please visit our website for more information www.thepilotgroup.co.uk .