24 August 2020

As you may already know, the Road to Zero plan expects all UK vehicles to be electric by 2040. Whilst this is a couple of decades away, you could take this opportunity to get ahead of the crowd and benefit from an electric fleet sooner rather than later.

With Government grants and the sheer number of vehicle options available, now is an excellent time to start building an electric fleet. Here’s a ‘How-to’ guide for businesses to make a start.

Steps you can take to convert your fleet to electric

If you would like to transition your company vehicles to electric, here are some things you can do to ensure the changeover runs smoothly.

Determine the whole life cost

Replacing your traditionally-fuelled motors to electric vehicles (EVs) may sound expensive. But, instead of looking at the up-front costs, it is more beneficial to consider the whole life cost (WLC).

WLC gives you a better estimate of how much you would spend on your fleet over a period of time, resulting in a better overall cost analysis. The reason this works so well for EVs is that while they may currently be more expensive to buy, they are much cheaper to run.

Why are EVs cheaper to run?

man charging an electric car and holding a credit card. businesses transitioning to electric fleets will see a reduction in running costs.

Review suitability

Whilst you might find the idea of going green appealing, it might not be wise to do so without assessing your current fleet first. For example, if your fleet is leased, when is the contract expiring? Or, if you do switch to electric, do you have the infrastructure to charge the vehicles or space where you could install charging points?

There is little benefit in converting your fleet if you still have time on your lease, as that would mean you end up losing money. Similarly, if you don’t have the infrastructure for vehicle charging, is this something you wish to invest in right now?

This question then leads to whether it’s best to own the charge equipment or rent them. If you’re renting, will your building owners allow structural changes? As you can see, whilst you may be ready to transition, you should review your suitability first.

In the meantime, you could start planning your EV transition for when your current lease expires, or plan to invest in charging infrastructure at a later date.

Assess vehicle usage

Every fleet has its own sets of needs. Some might have vehicles that are being driven across the country while others operate locally. Certain companies might have company cars that workers only use to commute, while others might use them for variable distances daily.

At present, EVs offer a range of about 150 to 350 miles per charge. If your business uses vehicles for distances longer than that, you might have to consider extra time for recharging. In some cases, it might be more efficient to use an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle instead of an EV.

Consider your options

As we mentioned before, if you are looking to replace your fleet with electric options, you need to assess suitability. For example, if you can get petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles at a much lower price, it might not be cost-effective for you to replace these with costlier EVs.

Alternatively, if your fleet frequently travels long distances, you might not find it advantageous to get a vehicle that needs to be charged halfway into the journey.

Whilst there is a wide variety of EVs available in the market currently, you may need to assess if there are options that are suitable for your business. Whether it is price, range, or use, you need to make sure that current EVs can effectively replace your fleet.

a lorry representation made out of leaves. Find suitable electric vehicles when converting your fleet to electric.

Phased approach

If possible, implement a phased transition plan. This may not only be more cost-effective, but will also give you the opportunity to trial EVs before committing to them straight away.

In case you are planning to make a complete change all in one go, consider arranging an EV trial first. This will give you a better understanding of how the vehicles perform and how they would fit in within your business.

Plan your charging solutions

As we mentioned earlier, assessing if your infrastructure is ready to support charging points is one of the early steps. If you’ve considered it and have committed to transitioning, you will need to start implementing these solutions.

Depending on your business and how the vehicles are used, you could install charging points at work or encourage the drivers to invest in home charge points. There are grants available for both options.

Another important point to consider is that there are several public charging points drivers can use whilst en route. Whilst the vehicle can be charged overnight at home or at work, drivers also have the option of keeping the battery refuelled using public chargers.

Consult your employees

Even though you might be convinced about converting your fleet to an electric one, speak to your employees to see if they are equally enthusiastic. As company car drivers, they may not initially see the benefits of an EV.

Instead of rolling the changes out without consultation, have a conversation with them and explain how EVs might provide a better option, not just for the environment but also for them, through lower BiK tax rates, reduced running costs, and a quieter commute.

Further reading

At sgfleet, we are committed to helping businesses that want to transition their company fleets to electric vehicles. This is why we offer eStart, an award-winning service designed to help you do just that. We can help you plan your transition in a manner that works best for your business. We also offer advice and resources for managing green fleets.

If you would like to find out more about introducing EVs to your fleet, get in touch with us by calling 0844 854 5100 or emailing CSalmon@sgfleet.com.

car with eStart branding, a service that helps businesses convert to an electric fleet