With the growing realisation that the world is facing a climate crisis, many governments are bringing in low emission zones, higher taxes on vehicle emitting greenhouse gases and legislated dates for outright bans on the sale of fossil fuelled vehicles.
Those businesses wanting to be seen as good corporate citizens are now committing to reducing their ‘carbon’ footprints – and a significant part of this for many is the emissions from their vehicle fleets.
However, just as the change from horse and carriage marked a major learning curve in the financing, running, maintenance and applications of the newfangled ‘horseless carriage’, so too is the EV offering new challenges and learning needs to fleet managers.
EVs have different characteristics, refuelling models and even potential new ownership options – all of which can prove a difficult experience for fleet managers used to a TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) model based on decades of previous ICE vehicle purchase/lease, maintenance and disposal experience.
With EV sales in many advanced markets effectively moving from ‘early adopter’ and into ‘early majority’ levels, one could argue that the business EV fleet transition is the next important hurdle to address in smoothing the path of mass market EV adoption. (See fig. 1)
There are a number of private businesses already offering services to guide and assist fleet managers through this brave new world, but with the worldwide growth of EV sales (particularly in Europe), the major manufacturers are beginning to see the opportunities in developing EV expertise within fleet departments too.
In Europe, Groupe Renault have just introduced a ‘Mobility Consulting’ service to advise and guide businesses through the process of developing green EV fleets in place of environmentally damaging ICE based ones.
Or, as they put it: “Mobility Consulting by Renault facilitates and accelerates the transition of company fleets to lower-carbon mobility”.
Here in Australia, ARENA has just announced a program for reducing the costs of consultancy fees for fleet managers who want to develop electric vehicle procurement plans that include economic and environmental assessments and charging infrastructure.
Given the low level of Australian EV adoption, providing some financial support is probably the best approach to improving fleet management EV knowledge.
At least until EV adoption levels here reach those in the more developed EV markets, where the benefits (and potential sales figures) of fleet EV adoption make it worthwhile for the manufacturers to offer such services as Renault’s Mobility Consulting downunder.