Getting Your Fleet EV-Ready

30 May 2021

As we mentioned in our previous blog, the impending 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars has already caused a shift in our leasing offering here at SG Fleet, with 90% of our Novalease vehicles now being either EVs or hybrid models.

However, ten years further down the line is the government’s Road To Zero strategy, which earmarks 2040 as the year all vehicles should be ‘effectively zero-emission.’

2040 might feel far away right now – but making the shift to zero emissions across an entire commercial business is no small task, especially one built around transporting goods or people from A to B and back again.

With that in mind, these are nine questions to ask when getting your fleet EV ready.

How quickly does your fleet need to transition?

If your biggest reason to move to an electric vehicle fleet is the Road To Zero, you may think you have plenty of time to get the building blocks of an EV transition in place. From what we’re seeing, that would be a mistake. Our figures above show that EVs are now hugely popular, so moving quickly could help you capitalise on that shift.

Of course, there are a host of other factors to consider. If much of your transport takes place on routes that are already EV-ready, it might simply make sense to bring your switch forward and take advantage of the lower fuel costs over the next several years. Likewise, if your energy grid can support it, and your management team are all pushing for it, that could tip the balance as well.

Either way, the place to start is by looking deeply into the feasibility of an EV switch for your business across the way you use your vehicles; the way your business consumes and generates energy; and how receptive your company culture will be to the shift.

How will you get your people on board?

The benefits of switching your fleet to EV vehicles are obvious when you think about them (lower fuel costs, meeting government regulations, and an overall healthier planet being the big three!). However, it’s sensible to plan for a good portion of the people in your business to be resistant to change when the status quo has always served them so well.

Engaging your team at the corporate level might be an easy buy-in given the government emissions deadline. But the real work might be getting your drivers on board – especially when it’s likely to impact their routes, as well as the way they refuel. Putting effort into educating them about why EV is the future for fleets will go an awful long way to smoothing the change curve.

Have you deep-dived into the rules, regulations and incentives?

Zero Emissions road sign

We’ve already mentioned the Road To Zero strategy and the 2030 ban on new fossil fuel vehicles. When it comes to getting your fleet EV-ready also worth noting are:

  • EU CO2 emission standards for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles are 95 g/km of CO2 and 147 g/km of CO2 respectively.
  • There are ultra-low emission zones in London, Glasgow, Bath and Birmingham, with further plans for ones in Manchester, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield and Oxford. These impose a charge on certain types of vehicles driven within them – mainly commercial vehicles (though some target private vehicles too).
  • Recent changes in the Budget 2021 (including ones to plug-in grants) and what they mean for fleet businesses.

What are your best options from a cost perspective?

The costs of EV batteries and charging points are falling every day, making going electric more and more viable. The cost of running an EV is also considerably cheaper, so the long-term savings almost speak for themselves. However, if you run on an ownership model where each vehicle is your company’s property, the benefits of switching your fleet to EV vehicles might be offset by the sheer cost of scaling the transition. A more appealing alternative could be moving to a leasing model instead, where monthly payments cover the rental costs of the vehicle, servicing and maintenance, plus road fund licences and other services – even having a charge point installed! Which you choose will depend on what’s right for your business.

Is your solution future-proofed?

When it comes to getting your fleet EV ready, designing your EV strategy is only the start. You’ll also have to factor in installation, operation and maintenance of your EV fleet on an ongoing basis.

Each of these aspects will require thought and planning. For instance:

  • Procuring everything from charging hardware and software to reporting tools and fleet management solutions
  • Signage for any building works needed while your EV transition is happening
  • Arranging Service Level Agreements with software providers that provide around-the-clock coverage for your fleet, with minimal downtime
  • Additional power capacity considerations across your business
  • Generation of on-site renewable energy and storage of batteries.

    Commercial considerations aside, you’ll also want to consider the health and safety risks that come with running an electric operation. That will include putting in thorough safety measures to protect drivers during refuelling and giving ongoing training to make sure no accidents happen.

What’s your plan of action?

By this point, you’ve gotten clear on your reasons to move to an electric vehicle fleet, got your people onside, and explored regulations, prospective costs and planning for the unplannable. Now it’s time to put it into a solid plan. There are key decisions to be made here around:

  • Funding
  • Your EV policy
  • Identifying suitable sites
  • Availability of electric power
  • Gaining planning permission, and
  • Simple logistics around the space you’ll need to run an EV operation.

    You should also factor in the fact that both your business priorities and EV technology itself will both evolve – which can make looking ahead and planning for the unknown even trickier.

This is the part where having an experienced EV partner such as ourselves can make a huge difference. We can guide you through this step using the know-how we’ve gained from helping many other businesses deal with similar issues, in a variety of different circumstances.

Which systems will you need to upgrade or adapt?

Map pointers with electric vehicle plug on a city map background

You may already use fleet management software, but going EV might need a whole extra layer of integration with your existing systems – or even an overhaul of them altogether!

From managing your charging network, monitoring faults, and plotting driver routes accordingly, to managing how you reimburse drivers for charging payments, and even integrating solar power to make your business more sustainable, getting your fleet EV-ready will mean taking your fleet’s software systems to the next level.

How will you scale for the extra energy demands?

The point about solar power above is an important one, and worth expanding on. Indeed, one of the biggest benefits of switching your fleet to EV vehicles is the potential to generate your own fuel – which promises to benefit your bottom line, and the planet, in equal measure!

Doing so will help your EV strategy scale for the long term – though you’ll need to factor in the extra demands on your power grid before your in-house renewable energy production can get to that stage.

Who will you pick as your EV transition partner?

Hopefully, with this post we’ve fully gotten across why EV is the future for fleets. If so, then the last real question left to answer is – who will you trust to help you manage that transition?

At SG Fleet, we have extensive experience helping fleet businesses of all sizes and purposes move to a greener, more sustainable future. Our team are fleet logistics experts, and our suite of fleet management and telematics tools are built with an electric vehicle future in mind.

If you’re currently getting your fleet EV-ready – or even exploring doing so – we can help.

Visit our eStart page to find out more, or get in touch to talk through your options. You can call us on 0344 854 5100, or email