What is EV fleet management and how does it work?
When most people think of electric vehicles, they think of a friend or colleague who’s made the switch to electric and got themselves a new Tesla or Polestar. But electric vehicles are becoming more common as company cars and fleets, too. If you're considering switching to an electric vehicle fleet there are some things that are good to know. With an electric fleet there are different things to think about compared to a fleet of diesel or petrol-powered cars.
Here's our roundup for what to think about when considering electric vehicle fleet management, as well as some of the top reasons for why you might want to switch your company cars to electric.
What is an EV fleet?
An electric fleet is a group of vehicles owned or leased by one company for business use. A lot of businesses are switching to electric car fleets or electric van fleets to reduce their carbon emissions and save money. Some companies also have mixed fleets of vehicles for different purposes and situations. More than two or three vehicles is considered a fleet, and some larger EV fleets will have hundreds of vans or cars in them.
Why do companies choose EV fleets?
There are many reasons that companies pick EV fleets over more traditional ones with petrol or diesel vehicles. For example:
- Financial incentives - There are lots of grants and financial incentives available for businesses to people who want to buy electric vehicles or switch their business fleet to electric vehicles. Grants available include plug-in small and large van grants, and grants for workplace EV charging points. Plus, electric vehicles offer other benefits such as lower Benefit-in-Kind tax rates, 0% road tax until 2025, and exemptions from London Congestion Charges. Plus VAT registered companies can claim back 50% of the VAT on vehicle payments or maintenance costs.
- Lower maintenance costs - Traditional engines require more maintenance than electric vehicles and have more moving parts, which means there’s more chance of parts breaking and needing repair.
- Improved reputation - Customers like companies who show social responsibility, and lowering emissions through the use of EV fleets is a great way to show that your business cares about the environment.
- Improved work environments - Electric vehicles can be smoother and quieter than petrol or diesel vehicles, making them more pleasant for your drivers, and making your work sites and local area less polluted.
What is EV fleet management?
Any fleet of vehicles needs to be managed properly to make sure your business operations run smoothly. Good fleet management makes sure that your fleet of vehicles is working efficiently and within budget, as well as making sure that deliveries and transport are on time. Fleet management is very important and large enough companies will often have multiple people whose only job is to make sure that fleet operations run well.
How does EV fleet management work?
So, how does EV fleet management work and what do you need to look at? After procurement of your fleet, there are two major aspects to look at within fleet management, which are charging and maintenance. Of course, it's rare for a company to get its fleet together all at once, so you’ll also need to think about how and when you get new vehicles to increase the size of your fleet or to replace older vehicles when they reach the end of their useful life or when their lease term ends.
There are some elements of fleet management that are part of day-to-day operations, and others that only come up monthly or yearly. Of course, as with any vehicle, there are always unexpected issues that can pop up without warning, which means you’ll need to have good protocols in place to make sure these are dealt with quickly and safely.
Some of the challenges will be the same for any type of fleet, but there are still additional things to think about with an electric vehicle fleet. The main things to look at with EV fleets, are:
Vehicle range: Electric vehicles have a maximum number of miles in their range based on their battery size. They need to be charged up to make sure they have enough range to get from A to Bs, meaning that you need to consider this when planning which vehicles go where. For long journeys you might want a vehicle with a bigger battery and can give more range on a single charge. Some companies will get around this by having petrol and diesel vehicles for longer journeys where there might be limited charging options and electric vehicles for shorter trips.
Charging points: Petrol or diesel fleets can get fuel at any petrol station or service station throughout the country, but finding electric charging points can be a bit more difficult in heavily rural areas. There are ways around this thankfully, including planning routes carefully to make sure the drivers have plenty of chances to recharge their vehicles. For larger companies, it’s a good idea to install electric charging points at your different offices or work locations to allow the fleet to recharge when on the road.
Recharge time: Logistics works on tight timelines and everyone wants their fleet to get from A to B within the minimum lost time in between. Refilling the fuel on a petrol or diesel vehicle can take a few minutes, but for electric fleets, the charge time is longer, and the charge time depends on the size of the vehicle's battery and the speed of the charger. You need to build those charging times into your operations, for both the vehicle and the driver.
Maintenance: Luckily there are fewer moving parts on electric vehicles to maintain, but you still need to ensure that your vehicles are all inspected regularly. This includes services, checking the tyres and checking any issues raised by the drivers. You'll also need to have plans in place for any unexpected maintenance needs that come up, for example, a blown tyre, a collision, or a cracked windscreen.
Leasing an electric fleet for your business
Whether you need only one or two vehicles or an entire fleet, you want to make sure that you are getting a good deal on your fleet leasing. Leasing an electric fleet is easy through Octopus Electric Vehicles. We offer a comprehensive package for leasing business vehicles, including the vehicles themselves, charging points, maintenance, tyres, and more. Simply pick your electric vehicles, choose your mileage, contract length and payment plan, and we’ll sort out all the paperwork to sign so you can drive away your new business fleet. get in touch or look at our electric vehicle business deals today.