info@cleancar.io   +44 845 600 6880

Author Archives: Alex Baker

Dispelling the myths surrounding electric vehicles

Dispelling the myths surrounding electric vehicles

Fleets… …The switch to EV Suitability guide

Dispelling the myths surrounding EV’s

By Alex Baker, CEO CleanCar.io

First things First… Do we believe electric vehicles are right for everyone? No, we don’t! Our view is that as things currently stand, some people are perfectly suited to owning an EV and who would benefit greatly. There are others that due to their travel requirements and vehicle usage profile would not benefit from owning an EV at all and would find the experience either impractical or expensive compared to a traditional Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle.

In most cases it’s about finding the ‘sweet spot’. This ‘sweet spot’ can be measured based on a driver’s average daily, weekly or monthly mileage pattern, whether that be from commuting to work, job type or lifestyle. The sweet spot is usually reflected in a mileage profile that is neither too low, nor too high.

For example, if your daily mileage requirements are really low and you only drive a couple of thousand miles a year, then yes, an EV will probably work for you, but you are unlikely to see any significant WLC savings as you are not doing enough miles to gain the cost benefit. At the other end of the scale, if you have a daily commute of 120 miles and the EV’s “real” range is just 90 miles; it means a charge at least once a day, which may not be feasible or practical.

Each vehicle has a sweet spot, and they can be quite different from model to model. Those driver profiles that fall within the sweet spot are those who Fleets should target, at least in the short term. These drivers will offer the greatest cost savings and will benefit the most from the switch to electric.

NOTE: The ‘sweet spot’ of EV’s are constantly widening as vehicle pricing lowers due to demand coupled with new models with increased range. This means that more and more drivers are falling into this sweet spot, which is good news for all, especially for those running large fleet’s.

So why are UK Fleet’s slow to make the switch to EV’s?

Over the last three years, we have helped a lot of fleets to adopt an ‘EV transition’ policy and switch to Electric Vehicle usage. During that time, we have heard plenty of excuses and reasons from those that don’t currently want to make the switch today. To be fair, some of these reasons are perfectly valid, but most are simply misinformed and plain wrong.

Users Just Don’t Fit the Profile:

Above, we talk about ‘sweet spots’ where certain ‘journey profile’ drivers benefit the most if their usage pattern, especially where their mileage is relatively high (UK company car average is 17k per annum) and analysis shows they would to see real cost savings but is not too high to experience practical ‘range’ issues. Many fleets have drivers who fall outside this profile.

  1. We have seen certain company car or van drivers who only drive twice a week, but those trips can equate to 500+ miles of driving.
  2. There are delivery firms in London who only do 9 miles a day
  3. Some fleets have time-sensitive, last minute delivery commitments where a vehicle charge requirement, even just a 20 minute one, would not be a practical option.
  4. Many company vehicle duty rosters have unknown journey demands that are difficult to plan ahead for

Timing is Bad:

Since the 2008 financial crisis, many companies have had to take tough cost cutting decisions including reductions in employee compensation and overall benefits packages. Some organisations have gone through redundancies as well as removal of some benefits such as healthcare, reduced pension provisions and much more. Sometimes, in these situations, no matter how good an option an EV policy may look, a change to the company vehicle benefit or perk could be seen by employees at all levels, as ‘the last straw ’… Better to leave it on the shelf and take a look in a year or two when things have calmed down perhaps?

They don’t understand the benefit

Fleet management has evolved over the past decade or so and many fleets now have far more complex reporting and policy making arrangements and many do not have a full-time fleet manager as in the past. This makes it difficult internally in some businesses to keep up to date on all the aspects of running a fleet. Many don’t understand the true benefits of operating EV’s as part of the various fleet vehicle type ‘usage profiles’ such as a directors company car to the sales reps’ warhorse or the maintenance/engineering staff’s service van. Good news. That’s exactly what this guide is all about!

Kick the can down the road.

Why be a trailblazer when you can let others forge a path and learn from their efforts? Some decision makers within fleet operators are waiting to see what will happen before they make the switch as they would rather play it safe and watch others make the mistakes from which they can learn. The problem with this approach is they are tying themselves into lease contract commitments that can last for 3, 4 or even 5 years. This scenario is a missed opportunity that can and does significantly harm a company’s financial health. Our case studies prove that savings of over £3000 per year per vehicle are achievable for a significant and growing percentage of Fleet vehicle usage profiles.

Indifference, Misinformation and Complexity

Electric Vehicles present a new complexity for fleet management as there is host of new data, new ways of planning and new to processes to implement. Inevitably, with emerging technology driven innovation, there exists significant amounts of misinformation that results in confusion which naturally tends to lead to indifference and apathy with the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude prevailing.

Opportunity cost: My only comment on this is that this misinformation, confusion, indifference and apathy is getting in the way of some potentially significant cost saving benefits that can and would make a real difference to your business’s bottom line. In today’s competitive marketplace, it is even more important to clearly understand the potential cost benefit impact of switching all, some or indeed none of your fleet ops to electric mobility. You could unlock some significant cost savings now or, at the very least, find out when you would be ready to do so in the not too distant future.

Petrol Heads:

Some people just like fast cars and believe that petrol vehicles rule! If this is you then I would simply ask you to Google YouTube’s ‘Tesla P100D drag strip’ video and watch this electric seven-seat saloon leaving behind a variety of super expensive supercars, worth four times as much. If you get a chance, have a test drive in any EV as I am confident you will be very surprised by the impressive torque driven acceleration and It may change your view about petrol vs. electric! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GZtTRKuE8A

Note on use of language

Experts in the EV sector may pick up on my use of terminology in this guide; I make no excuses for sometimes not using the correct terminology. The Electric Vehicle space is confusing enough without the use of dozens of acronyms that only an ‘EV industry stalwart’ understands. But I have designed this guide for those individuals who have direct and indirect responsibility for making decisions about Fleet vehicle procurement and logistical management. So this guide is designed with those roles in mind and a belief that the information, guidance and advice should be presented in a straightforward and helpful format. Hence I have tried to avoid the jargon but you can find links at the bottom of this guide to some very useful glossaries for clarity around industry buzz words.

 

Fleet Hybrid Guide

Fleet Hybrid Guide

Fleet benefit guide to EV vs. Hybrid in the switch to low/zero emission mobility

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) vs. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)

Do PHEV’s have a place in your fleet?

By Alex Baker, CEO CleanCar.io

If you check out the sales of “Electric Vehicles” (at the time of writing), the Mitsubishi Outlander is way out in front for Sales.

This PHEV claims on its website: Save up to £10,000 in Company Car Tax, With just 41g/km CO2, the Outlander PHEV is only 13% BIK, saving you thousands, Official fuel economy: 156.9mpg (EU Combined).

On the face of it, how could you say no? As a company car driver with access to this vehicle you will save a fortune on BIK company car tax and the company will save a fortune with such amazing MPG, it will never need fuel. The problem is this picture is unrealistic for many company car drivers.

Things you need to consider with PHEV such as Mitsubishi Outlander (many others are Available):

  • You are unlikely to ever see MPG close to the officially claimed figures unless you fit into a very small sweet spot where you will benefit mainly from the battery part of the vehicle.
  • A PHEV is suitable for just about anyone, i.e. it’s going to be practical to use, however the sweet spot range to see savings is much narrower. The driver needs to be regularly benefitting from the battery only range with the occasional long trip. Not your typical company car essential user, but maybe a perk user.
  • A PHEV is often a heavy car; after all, it has an engine, a motor and a load of batteries. If you are not using it efficiently, i.e. only doing lots of motorway driving, then you are carrying around a lot of extra weight. Many drivers who are not using the car properly will see MPG at around 20% of the claimed MPG rate at best.
  • If the car is not being used properly and as a fleet, you are paying for the fuel, it could end up being much more expensive than an equivalent petrol or diesel.
  • Many drivers love the PHEV because of the reduced BIK, this will change and while they will benefit, you, as a company, will often find that costs increase.
  • Some companies we have come across have drivers who ordered a PHEV and never installed a charger thereby gaining a pure BIK advantage, but no cost-benefit from reduced fuel usage.
  • The second hand value may well be the sting in the tail with these PHEV’s as given the BIK tax break as the main ‘buy decision’ often means that the electric powertrain has not been properly used and the (smaller) ICE engine consequently over used. This is resulting in poor resale condition vehicles with a disappointing residual value that have a negative impact on balance sheet asset values and will inevitably influence higher Fleet lease and finance costs!

In a nutshell: PHEV are great for many people such as those who do a 20-mile commute most days and the occasional long trip (not the only example), but for many traditional company car drivers, they are the wrong choice, and a low CO2 Petrol or Diesel may be a far better choice. So you need to think carefully about who chooses them and why to get a truly accurate cost benefit picture.

http://www.nextgreencar.com/electric-cars/statistics/

Nissan LEAF most popular EV in UK

Fleets need to look for potential pockets of Pure EV usage – such as a department or team who have the right ‘sweet spot’ profile.

As an avid fly fisherman, I sometimes spend hours on a boat in an Irish Lough and can catch very little, but then we come across a spot where the fishing is great, we catch every other cast, and the sense of fun is restored. My father in law and I like to call these chocolate spots.

To expand on this analogy only slightly more, go where the fishing is good.

Right now for most fleets in the UK, the available vehicle range and technology means a switch to EV is unlikely for your whole fleet but that does not mean you won’t have pockets of vehicles that are perfect for this switch.

A very good real life example is BAE systems who were looking for opportunities to switch and save money so they looked at their naval base in Portsmouth where 50 – 60 vehicles seemed to fit the vehicle usage profiles that would be ideal to switch to EV’s. Seer this link for the detailed case study xxxxx

So have a think about your own fleet; do you have any of the following?

  • A regional or geographical sales/service/maintenance team within a defined area
  • A specific project or customer (NHS Hospital, Local Council) that require a local presence.
  • Any of the above that have a regular long trip but are mostly location specific
  • PERK drivers who take a company car but spend five days a week in the office, just a stone throw from their home.

What behaviours need changing to make the usage profile ‘fit’ to switch?

Often when working with fleets in trying to find this ideal profile of drivers, we come across certain behaviours that make an EV impractical. Examples are:

  • The driver has to attend a monthly sales meeting at the head office 200 miles away.
  • The driver has to deliver something occasionally to a customer 150 miles away

Often these events occur only once a month and affect only a few members of the team, but it’s worth thinking what behaviours could be changed to address these events that impact the switch decision.

  • Challenge why everyone has to attend a monthly meeting at HQ, could there be a monthly meeting via video conferencing and a quarterly meeting somewhere that’s easily accessible via train
  • If most of the users are on one site, would it be a possibility to retain a pool van/car that can be used for the occasional long trip, especially if the savings are significant even with the addition of a pool vehicle?

Requirements for ChargePoints at Office and at Home

I have heard Charge Point manufacturers say that every person who uses an EV needs 2.3 ChargePoints. One at Home, one in the office and some public charging in between…but of course, they would say that they are trying to sell ChargePoints after all!

Ion this basis then I use about 1.2 ChargePoints for my Nissan Leaf; mostly charging at home and the occasional public charge.

I know some businesses that use 0.5 chargers per vehicle, i.e. they have a bank of chargers at the office or depot, where vehicles charge when they need to operate two vehicles per charge point.

Each instance is different, and your requirements will be unique. However I think in the short term it’s better to be conservative and robust in your requirements.

  1. Be Conservative: By this I mean don’t push the boundaries too far and look for the easy wins. I would recommend switching drivers to EV who at most require the vehicle to be charged at home or office no more than each night (or day if night shifts). I would not recommend looking for the drivers who need to charge 2 or three times per day to make an EV work. The technology is improving and very soon those drivers will fall into the once a day charging profile. So focus on the easy wins and keep an eye on the changing technologies and reassess every few months.
  2. Be Robust: Through our analysis, we often help fleets to understand how many ChargePoints they will require for the EV’s they intend to buy or lease. If for example, our analysis shows they require a minimum of 24 x 7kw for their 50 Electric vans, we would always recommend they go a little higher and plump for say 27 chargers. The cost impact is minimal to the overall cost benefits and it improves the user experience and caters for the occasional high use periods.

Insert a conclusion paragraph here

NOTE: Just because we recommend 27 ChargePoints it does not mean it is always possible. The ChargePoint installers will need to check the site first and check it has the grid capacity to operate this number of ChargePoints or outline the works required to bring it up to this capacity and capability.

  • Improvements in public charging network, however still cannot be relied upon.

Often when we speak to fleets, we get questioned about utilising the public charging network as the sole and only way of charging. If this is something you are considering, I would strongly urge you to think again.

As an EV driver, I love the public charging networks, there are some favourites I like to use when I park in the city, and the fast chargers at the services have been a godsend over the years.

Note on home charging:

It’s important to check that your employee has a home suited to a charge point. Otherwise there may not be the option to install one. Things to consider:

  • Does the employee own their home?
  • Do they have approval from a landlord to fit a charger?
  • Is their home in a suitable location, i.e. is it a 3-story flat or a terraced house?
  • Are they in temporary accommodation or about to move to a new house?
  • Are there any restrictions such as being listed or in a conservation area?
  • Is there off street parking and suitable location for a charge point install?
  • Is there any other reason why a home charger is not an option?
  • Also, if they stop being your employee, or move house you should be clear in what happens to the charge point. If you are insisting on recovering your kit then this could cause problems with a house move and surveyor reports etc.

The issues with range vs. range anxiety.

It’s a funny thing when you first drive an EV, as there is no doubt that you, like most people, will get range anxiety. You will see 20 miles of range left, which, if in a petrol or diesel car, would bring you out in a cold scary sweat. But, you just kind of get used to it and to be honest these days I only start to worry if I hit 7 miles or less.

Let’s not underestimate the impact though, as diesel car today will do 500 miles on a full tank yet an EV will do maybe around 100 and this difference takes some getting used to. That’s why we use the CleanCar process with our customers (more below), so we can understand how someone really uses a vehicle and what their journey profile actually means when it comes to range requirements. We can then explain and display this accurate usage profile to them in a simple to understand way and prove that an EV works for their specific usage requirements.

Range Anxiety in many respects is like learning to drive. You start out, and you must think about everything such as changing gear, using the pedals, the indicators etc., but before long its normal and you don’t even think about it. Range anxiety is something you can’t avoid, you just have to get on with it but it soon disappears, especially with planning, knowledge and experience.

In the future, range anxiety will be a forgotten phrase, a bit like the noise of a phone modem connecting; you had to be there for the very short time when it mattered. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsNaR6FRuO0

Note on use of language

Experts in the EV sector may pick up on my use of terminology in this guide; I make no excuses for sometimes not using the correct terminology. The Electric Vehicle space is confusing enough without the use of dozens of acronyms that only an ‘EV industry stalwart’ understands. But I have designed this guide for those individuals who have direct and indirect responsibility for making decisions about Fleet vehicle procurement and logistical management. So this guide is designed with those roles in mind and a belief that the information, guidance and advice should be presented in a straightforward and helpful format. Hence I have tried to avoid the jargon but you can find links at the bottom of this guide to some very useful glossaries for clarity around industry buzz words.

How to Gain Maximum Range with An EV

How to Gain Maximum Range with An EV

CC-Logo

How to gain maximum range for the EV’s in your Fleet

CleanCar’s Top 10 EV range performance tips

Simple, easy advice that can extend your EV mileage range by 25% or more…

Aggressive driving styles, hot and cold seasonal weather conditions and differences in route topographies will all combine to negatively impact on the range capability of the electric and hybrid vehicles in your Fleet. Here are some very straightforward tips and advice on how drivers and Fleet managers can gain optimal EV range performance. By encouraging your company vehicle drivers to adopt these habits not only alleviates any ‘range anxiety’ issues but also ensures both company and employee gains the maximum cost benefits from switching to low/zero emission transport. It’s good for profits, pockets and the planet!

  1. Encourage your EV driver’s into the habit of pre-planning their vehicle charging needs and ensure, whenever possible, they reach the 80% optimal battery charge level. Apart from gaining optimum range, the long term effect will also maintain and extend the battery ‘life’ and when recorded regularly, is reliable ‘good condition’ documentation that supports asset resale or lease returns
  2. When planning a longer than normal trip do remind them to make sure they are aware of more than one or two of the public network charge point locations en route as they cannot always be relied upon to either be working or available! – There’s an App for that so search for Zap-Map, Chargepoint or PlugShare in the app stores
  3. In cold weather, recommend them having the heater on during the last 20- minutes or so of charging so that minimal heat settings will suffice during the journey – Seat warmers do the trick nicely! – If its hot weather then the same applies to the air conditioning
  4. Also, when out and about encourage drivers to park in the shade/sheltered bays for the same reasons as above
  5. Encourage your EV drivers to develop a smooth breaking and acceleration driving style! This improves battery performance and range efficiencies as well as safety!
  6. Educate them to try to avoid high speeds, especially over 50 mph given that EV’s are almost the opposite to petrol & diesel as slow stop/start style city driving suits electric vehicles
  7. As ever, longer trips in an electric or hybrid vehicle should always be planned so remind them that high cruising speeds on motorways for long periods will reduce the stated range capability
  8. Encourage them to use their vehicles ‘ECO settings’ to aid battery performance and conditioning
  9. Advise them to leave the kitchen sink at home! More unnecessary weight equals less range
  10. Ask them to test and compare their regular route options as some so called ‘faster’ routes could be less range efficient (higher speed – flat motorway) and lack regenerative breaking benefits (up hill and down dale!)

In short, cold and warm weather conditions use up more battery power (performance fluctuation caused by extreme temperatures) and also results in heavier use of both power draining vehicle heating and air conditioning systems. Higher speed cruising over longer flat distances drains battery power faster given the lack of regenerative breaking system benefits

EV ChargePoint Guide

EV ChargePoint Guide

A ChargePoint Infrastructure guide for the EV’s in your Fleet

Requirements for ChargePoints at the office, depot and at home

By Alex Baker, CEO CleanCar.io

SM_20141112_152042_Acopy.jpg I have heard ChargePoint manufacturers say that every person who uses an EV needs 2.3 ChargePoints. One at Home, one in the office and some public charging in between…but of course, they would say that they are trying to sell ChargePoints after all!

On this basis then I use about 1.2 ChargePoints for my Nissan Leaf as I mostly charge at home with the occasional public charge.

I know some businesses that use 0.5 chargers per vehicle, i.e. they have a bank of chargers at the office or depot, where vehicles charge when they need to operate two vehicles per charge point.

Each instance is different, and your requirements will be unique. However I think in the short term it’s better to be conservative and robust in your requirements.

  1. Be Conservative: By this I mean don’t push the boundaries too far and look for the easy wins. I would recommend switching drivers to EV who at most require the vehicle to be charged at home or office no more than each night (or day if night shifts). I would not recommend looking for the drivers who need to charge 2 or three times per day to make an EV work. The technology is improving and very soon those drivers will fall into the once a day charging profile. So focus on the easy wins and keep an eye on the changing technologies and reassess every few months.
  2. Be Robust: Through our analysis, we often help fleets to understand how many ChargePoints they will require for the EV’s they intend to buy or lease. If for example, our analysis shows they require a minimum of 24 x 7kw for their 50 Electric vans, we would always recommend they go a little higher and plump for say 27 chargers. The cost impact is minimal to the overall cost benefits and it improves the user experience and caters for the occasional high use periods.

NOTE: Just because we recommend 27 ChargePoints it does not mean it is always possible. The ChargePoint installers will need to check the site first and check it has the grid capacity to operate this number of ChargePoints or outline the works required to bring it up to this capacity and capability.

Public Charging Networks

charging-station.jpg Improvements in public charging network, however still cannot be relied upon. Often when we speak to fleets, we get questioned about utilising the public charging network as the sole and only way of charging. If this is something you are considering, I would strongly urge you to think again.

As an EV driver, I love the public charging networks and I have some favourites I like to use when I park in the city, and the fast chargers on the Motorway services have been a godsend over the years.

Here are a few things to consider though:

  • Many of the older chargers are simply a waste of time unless you are parking overnight. They are often 3.7kw chargers which means snailpace slow with them being merely a slight upgrade compared to a three-pin plug. You could park you Nissan leaf at Tesco, plug in your car and come back to a whole ‘two miles’ of extra range.
  • Broken, Vandalised, Behind Locked Gates…not there! These are all things I have experienced before, and sometimes it can take a very long time to get them fixed and working again. If you are dependent upon a specific location based ChargePoint and it’s suddenly not useable then it could have a serious impact on your charging capabilities.
  • ICED. This regular and often frustrating occurrence is where someone with an Internal Combustion Engine vehicle is parked in the spot reserved for electric vehicles.
  • Charge Rage! I have seen it happen, where a charge point is ICED or where a plug-in hybrid is charging, and a Pure EV needs to charge. A simple of the cuff remark can soon escalate into an unpleasant situation.
  • Charge Point Blocking: I have especially seen this on the CHAdeMO (Super-Fast Chargers) where a PHEV is charging slowly (some cant take advantage of the fast charging), and a pure EV needs to get some power. Can lead to charge rage.
  • Expensive: Many of the Public Charge schemes that were originally government funded (like Ecotricity’s electric highway) used to be free to charge for EV owners. However, as EV usage has increased in popularity, there are very few free to charge locations left and these are quickly diminishing plus some of them are unreasonably expensive. You need to factor this into your decision-making process.
  • Decentralised Networks. To use all the known networks in the UK would require a heap of RFID, cards, swipe cards and mobile apps. There is no one single network, and EV users who rely on public charging will need to gain some knowledge about what’s out there. And it’s changing quickly.
  • Poorly located ChargePoints. On more than one occasion have tried to use a charge point that is located in an underground car park in London where the company that provides it has moved from an RFID card to an APP. The problem is the app won’t work underground without a mobile signal, so you are up and down two flights of stairs while you put all the required info into the app and gain a signal. It keeps you fit at least! Frankly, I just don’t sometimes bother as its just too much hassle!

Conclusions

In a nutshell, only rely on public charging networks if you really must, otherwise charge at home or work. Think of the public charging network like that friend you have, who, when you see them are the life and soul of the party but also has a habit of letting you down at the last minute. A bit like that friend, the network is gradually getting older, more refined and over time will start to settle down, become much more reliable, but may be not quite as much fun!

Note on home charging:

It’s important to check that your employee has a home suited to a charge point. Otherwise there may not be the option to install one. Things to consider:

  • Does the employee own their home?
  • Do they have approval from a landlord to fit a charger?
  • Is their home in a suitable location, i.e. is it a 3-story flat or a terraced house?
  • Are they in temporary accommodation or about to move to a new house?
  • Are there any restrictions such as being listed or in a conservation area?
  • Is there off street parking and suitable location for a charge point install?
  • Is there any other reason why a home charger is not an option?
  • Also, if they stop being your employee, or move house you should be clear in what happens to the charge point. If you are insisting on recovering your kit then this could cause problems with a house move and surveyor reports etc.

The issues with range vs. range anxiety.

It’s a funny thing when you first drive an EV, as there is no doubt that you, like most people, will get range anxiety. You will see 20 miles of range left, which, if in a petrol or diesel car, would bring you out in a cold scary sweat. But, you just kind of get used to it and to be honest these days I only start to worry if I hit 7 miles or less.

range anxiety.jpeg

Let’s not underestimate the impact though, as diesel car today will do 500 miles on a full tank yet an EV will do maybe around 100 and this difference takes some getting used to. That’s why we use the CleanCar process with our customers (more below), so we can understand how someone really uses a vehicle and what their journey profile actually means when it comes to range requirements. We can then explain and display this accurate usage profile to them in a simple to understand way and prove that an EV works for their specific usage requirements. Range Anxiety in many respects is like learning to drive. You start out, and you must think about everything such as changing gear, using the pedals, the indicators etc., but before long its normal and you don’t even think about it. Range anxiety is something you can’t avoid, you just have to get on with it but it soon disappears, especially with planning, knowledge and experience.

In the future, range anxiety will be a forgotten phrase, a bit like the noise of a phone modem connecting; you had to be there for the very short time when it mattered. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsNaR6FRuO0

Gain Maximum Range…even more cost saving!

And finally here are some very useful tips to ensure you gain maximum range from the EV/PHEV’s in your Fleet…

  1. Encourage your EV driver’s into the habit of pre-planning their vehicle charging needs and ensure, whenever possible, they reach the 80% optimal battery charge level. Apart from gaining optimum range, the long term effect will also maintain and extend the battery ‘life’ and when recorded regularly, is reliable ‘good condition’ documentation that supports asset resale or lease returns
  2. When planning a longer than normal trip do remind them to make sure they are aware of more than one or two of the public network charge point locations en route as they cannot always be relied upon to either be working or available! – There’s an App for that so search for Zap-Map, ChargePoint or PlugShare
  3. In cold weather, recommend them having the heater on during the last 20- minutes or so of charging so that minimal heat settings will suffice during the journey – Seat warmers do the trick nicely! – If its hot weather then the same applies to the air conditioning
  4. Also, when out and about encourage drivers to park in the shade/sheltered bays – as above
  5. Encourage your EV drivers to develop a smooth breaking and acceleration driving style! This improves battery performance and range efficiencies as well as safety!
  6. Educate them to try to avoid high speeds, especially over 50 mph given that EV’s are almost the opposite to petrol & diesel as slow stop/start style city driving suits electric vehicles
  7. As ever, longer trips in an electric or hybrid vehicle should always be planned so remind them that high cruising speeds on motorways for long periods will reduce the stated range capability
  8. Encourage them to use their vehicles ‘ECO settings’ to aid battery performance and conditioning
  9. Advise them to leave the kitchen sink at home! More unnecessary weight equals less range
  10. Ask them to test and compare their regular route options as some so called ‘faster’ routes could be less range efficient (higher speed – flat motorway) and lack regenerative breaking benefits (hills and dales!)

Note on use of language

Experts in the EV sector may pick up on my use of terminology in this guide; I make no excuses for sometimes not using the correct terminology. The Electric Vehicle space is confusing enough without the use of dozens of acronyms that only an ‘EV industry stalwart’ understands. But I have designed this guide for those individuals who have direct and indirect responsibility for making decisions about Fleet vehicle procurement and logistical management. So this guide is designed with those roles in mind and a belief that the information, guidance and advice should be presented in a straightforward and helpful format. Hence I have tried to avoid the jargon but you can find links at the bottom of this guide to some very useful glossaries for clarity around industry buzz words.

Looking to the future check out this video by Tony Seba one of my personal favourites. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0

Glossary of Terms – We love our acronyms and personally, I like this one https://pod-point.com/landing-pages/electric-car-glossary

Here is another for the taxi industry http://www.levc.com/technology/glossary/ …And another http://evsafecharge.com/ev-terms-glossary/

Electric Vehicle Driver Suitability

Electric Vehicle Driver Suitability

How to identify suitable drivers in the Fleet to Switch to EV use?

An approach that works…

By Alex Baker, CEO CleanCar.io

 

This is our guide to uncover the maximum number of EV opportunities in your fleet with an easy, straightforward process that can be broken down into the following simple steps.

Prequalification Process

  1. Consider what you want to achieve and why, I always say, so consider what does success look like?  It could be as simple as “we want to get 5 EV’s on our fleet by the end of this financial year”.  Or “We would like to save £20,000 by introducing Ultra Low Emission Vehicles” and “We need to achieve a 10% emissions reduction as part of our CSR policy commitments’.  Once you have a starting point, you can gauge if the process has succeeded or not.
  2. Understand the potential benefits to the organisation, the fleet and the employees and put them in order of priority. E.g.
    1. Fleet: Save Money, Reduce C02, Gain some Valuable PR
    2. Employee: Save TAX and personal fuel costs, avoid congestion and emissions tax, park in the prime position in the car park!
  3. Consider the quick wins and think about the parts of your fleet where you feel it will work such as the team that drives only in the major cities, or the cars that work in the Airport or port. Or could also be the service/maintenance or toilet cleaning van that does the same route every two weeks.  You may as well pick the low hanging fruit to start with.
  4. Send out a quick questionnaire to the drivers who may be part of the process.  Explain what you are trying to do, and the reasons why and then ask any of the simple questions such as:
    1.  Is the employee supportive of the switch to EV, if yes why but if not why not?
    2.  Where are their vehicles located when not in use? e.g. business car park, public car park, employees’ home, other
    3. For how long are their vehicles parked when not in use (e.g. overnight)?
    4. Estimates of daily/weekly usage pattern (number of trips/destinations, the distance between destinations, total daily mileage)?
    5. Any seasonal variations in usage?
    6.  If a charge point is required at a home address and if so, is it possible to install a charge point at home (see note on Home ChargePoints)
    7. If a vehicle only had a range of 100 miles a day, are there any occasions where this would cause issues and if so, would a pool car solve this problem?

The above are just a few examples; you can come up with your own based on what you are trying to achieve but do keep it short and simple and concentrate on the key areas that could cause issues later.

Data Analysis Process:

The next step is a bit of a pitch or our services but I make no excuse for that, as I believe it the best approach.
CleanCar is a solution that uses a small plugin GPS device or a Phone app to record when and how a driver uses their vehicle.  Over a period of a few weeks or a few months (depends on requirements and seasonality) we build up a profile of the driver allowing us to:

  • See if a driver’s vehicle usage is suited to an EV or not
  • See which vehicle is best suited to this purpose
  • Show potential cost saving by making the switch
  • Recommend ideal charging requirements

The process is as follows:

  1. Step 1 Define the Cohort: We work with a Fleet/Organisations to try and understand which users or groups of users are most likely to be suited to the restrictions and benefits of an EV.  We then define this group and start a communication plan (outlined above)
  2. Step 2 Collect Data: A small GPS device is sent to these drivers, which is self-installed into the 12v Cigarette lighter socket of the vehicle.
  3. Step 3 Collect Behaviours: The driver simply goes about their routine as normal.  When the vehicle is used, the GPS position of the vehicle is recorded and sent via the mobile network to our big data portal.
  4. Step 4 Analysis: Once a suitable amount of data is recorded (anything from 2 weeks to 3 months depending upon requirements) the user can log in to see:
    1. Are they suited to an Electric Vehicle
    2. Which EV’s are best suited to their needs
    3. What will be the cost/saving of making the switch compared to a new version of their current vehicle
    4.  What is the ideal location and type of charge point
  5. Step 5 Reporting: A report is provided to a fleet manager or manager of the organisation as well as the driver. All of this data is fully protected, Data Protection legislation compliant and is anonymised where required.

Fine Tuning:

The final step is unique to your Fleet’s requirements and involves a consultative approach, to fine-tune and optimise how you make the switch to EV’s for those suitable drivers/vehicle duty rosters in your fleet.

Areas worth consideration include:

  • The optimum way to fund your new vehicles, to maximise tax efficiency.
  • Optimum lease/finance terms and mileage breaks
  • Bulk purchase/lease discounts
  • Mileage reimbursement
  • CSR policy compliance and C02 reduction target performance

Some words of warning!

Be very careful using manual mileage expenses data to do your analysis as, having run a mileage capture business for six years; I can say with some conviction and experience that most mileage expenses are pretty useless most having a significant overestimation of journey lengths.  If you have any doubts, avoid it.

By way of a quick anecdote, it may not be the drivers who are overestimating but the measurement tool or software itself.  Based on our previous analysis for a company we won’t name, we found many of its employees were perfectly suited to switching over to an EV as they were doing up to 20 small trips per day in and around the major cities.  When we compared the accurate GPS data against the postcode to postcode look up in Google, we found a 16.24% discrepancy in the distances reported.  This is simply because Google lookup was set to quickest route, not the shortest.  The driver had local knowledge and took the shortest route, whereas Google was suggesting a less direct route. 16% discrepancy when you only have 80 miles range to play with can make a big difference.  Using GPS data remove ambiguity.

 

The eight questions you should ask to find the ideal EV candidate

If you are not sure where to start with your fleet profiling why not send out a quick questionnaire to all your drivers.

Here are the questions I would ask to uncover the users that are most amenable and likely to be suitable for switching:

  1. Would you be happy driving an electric vehicle if it saved you money and was practical charge easily and conveniently?
  2. Is it possible to have a charge point installed at your home and would you be able to access the charge point each night?
  3. If your car started every day with 100 miles of range, please answer the following:
    1. This would be suitable for all my work and social requirements
    2. This would impact me at least twice a week
    3. This would impact me once a week
    4.  This would impact me twice a month
    5. This would impact me one a month
    6. This would impact me occasionally
  4.  Do you have access to more than one vehicle, i.e. is there another petrol or diesel vehicle that you can use.
  5. Are you interested in finding out more about electric vehicles and their benefits?
  6.  Are there any reasons you know of that would prevent you from using an electric vehicle?
  7.  Do you have any misgivings about electric vehicles?
  8. Do you feel the environmental benefits are worth the switch to electric from petrol/diesel?

It should be pretty clear from the responses to the above questions as to your driver’s initial suitability plus their attitude to and preconceptions of an electric vehicle. Also, some of the questions might seem very similar but are asked differently for accuracy purposes.

Remember you are trying to find the low hanging fruit so there is no point convincing a climate change sceptic who lives in a rented apartment on the 15th floor to make the switch when there are much easier opportunities to focus on.

Also, you want to try and draw out any objections that you can address early on.  Such as “I need to drive from Birmingham to Plymouth every six months to visit an elderly aunt.”  If you can overcome this by offering a pool vehicle or rental, then better to understand the potential issues sooner rather than later.

Scenarios: What does the ideal candidate for an EV look like?

PLEASE NOTE: These are simplified views for illustrative purposes, so we will not delve into all the potential tax efficiencies available.  These profiles are designed to sell the concept to your drivers.

Persona 1: Julia

Works as a Regional Manager, looking after 5 sites/offices in the Black Country.  Julia must go into the HQ in Dudley two days a week and then visits the other 4 sites in and around the Dudley and Wolverhampton area throughout the month. Julia lives locally and drives between 30 and 70 miles a day in her Renault Megane 2.0 petrol.

After 3 months of GPS analysis, it is proven that Julia could benefit from owning and Electric Vehicle and she decides upon the Nissan Leaf 24kw which is leased for around £270 per month fully maintained which is about £13 per month more than her previous Renault Megane.

The simple results:

Because Julia does lots of stop-start driving, her fuel economy was shocking giving her around 28mpg so this is where she sees the biggest savings as her monthly fuel costs have dropped from about £300  for petrol to around £38 for electricity.

Also, her company car tax has also reduced from around £2,467 to around £1,489.

Saving: Around £3500 in fuel and around £1000 in company car tax:  In all Julia saves around £4100 per year from the reduced costs to run the vehicle and savings on company car tax.

Persona 2: Bob the Cleaner

Bob works for the local council have the job of cleaning the public toilets in the area.  Due to the nature of the work, the vehicle ( a small van) does the same route every two weeks and each night is parked in the local depot.

The council wants to know the following:

  • Will it be possible to switch from a Diesel Van to an EV
  • Should they choose the Renault Kangoo or Nissan ENV200
  • Will they save any money?
  • Would a 7kw charger be suitable.

After driving about for two weeks with the CleanCar dongle we were able to run the trips through the analysis and found the following:

  1. Yes the vehicle is suited to an EV, despite the Electric Van costing nearly double the amount compared to the Diesel alternative there were considerable Whole Life Cost savings
  2. A 7kw charger is perfect for requirements.
  3. The Nissan ENV200 is the ideal choice, with a WLC payback in  just over 1 year

Persona 3: John the Rep – A real-world example

John is a Sales Representative for a large multinational who’s previous car was an Audi Diesel A4 and he chose the Mitsubishi PHEV Outlander as his new car from a list of virtually any make and model of vehicles given his reasonably senior banding on the choice list which is based entirely on Whole life cost rankings.

When choosing his vehicle, he looked through the list and spotted the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV which some of his colleagues had also recently ordered.  He did some research and realised that based on the details of the car, he could get quite a lot of car with very little BIK company car tax to pay.  He looked at the official MPG, and after speaking to his colleagues realised he would be lucky to see 30% of that from real-world driving, but frankly, he did not care.  The company, after all, pays for his fuel, and he could always fudge his mileage claims just a tad to compensate.

So John ended up ordering the Mitsubishi Outlander and as part of the deal, was offered some kind of “government initiative” to pay for a charging point on the side of his house. After looking at the paperwork and also thinking he may soon move to a new house, it all became a bit too complicated so he figured, as he was gaining the tax benefit anyway, that he didn’t really need to charge the vehicle at home.

It transpired that John’s employer has consequently seen his vehicle’s running costs increase significantly and are now looking at ways to penalise john for not using it properly, which involves now insisting he now pays for all the fuel used on his fuel card and then having to claim back the business element costs based on an “actual fuel cost” pence-per-mile basis. It has all got very complex with both John and his colleagues becoming very unhappy by the whole process, as after all, he just chose a car from the company’s list to choose from! He is up for a fight and has a union rep on his side.

John’s employer now plans to restrict the choice of the Outlander only to those employees who are suited to gaining the benefits of using one.  Problem is they do not know how to measure and calculate the benefits or disadvantages accurately in a simple, straightforward manner. Consequently, they will most likely end up simply removing this vehicle from the choice list altogether.

 

Other Useful Links:

Looking to the future check out this video by Tony Seba one of my personal favourites. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0

Glossary of Terms – We love our acronyms!
Personally, I like this one https://pod-point.com/landing-pages/electric-car-glossary

Here is another for the taxi industry http://www.levc.com/technology/glossary/

And another http://evsafecharge.com/ev-terms-glossary/

Note on use of language
Experts in the EV sector may pick up on my use of terminology in this guide; I make no excuses for sometimes not using the correct terminology. The Electric Vehicle space is confusing enough without the use of dozens of acronyms that only an ‘EV industry stalwart’ understands. But I have designed this guide for those individuals who have direct and indirect responsibility for making decisions about Fleet vehicle procurement and logistical management. So this guide is designed with those roles in mind and a belief that the information, guidance and advice should be presented in a straightforward and helpful format. Hence I have tried to avoid the jargon but you can find links at the bottom of this guide to some very useful glossaries for clarity around industry buzz words.

How CleanCar works

How CleanCar works

CleanCar is a solution that uses a small plug in GPS device or a Phone app to record when and how a driver uses their vehicle.  Over a period of a few weeks or a few months (depends on requirements and seasonality) we build up a profile of the driver allowing us to:

  • See if a driver’s vehicle usage is suited to an EV or not
  • See which vehicle is best suited to this purpose
  • Show potential cost saving by making the switch
  • Recommend ideal charging requirements.

The process is as follows:

  1. Step 1 Define the Cohort: We work with a Fleet/Organisations to try and understand which users or groups of users are most likely to be suited to the restrictions and benefits of an EV. We then define this group and start a communication plan (outlined above)
  2. Step 2 Collect Data: A small GPS device is sent to these drivers, which is self installed into the 12v Cigarette lighter socket of the vehicle.
  3. Step 3 Collect Behaviours: The driver simply goes about their routine as normal. When the vehicle is used, the GPS position of the vehicle is recorded and sent via the mobile network to our big data portal.
  4. Step 4 Analysis: Once a suitable amount of data is recorded (anything from 2 weeks to 3 months depending upon requirements) the user can log in to see:
    1. Are they suited to an Electric Vehicle
    2. Which EV’s are best suited to their needs
    3. What will be the cost/saving of making the switch compared to a new version of their current vehicle
    4. What is the ideal location and type of charge point
  5. Step 5 Reporting: A report is provided to a fleet manager or manager of the organisation as well as the driver. All of this data is fully protected, Data Protection legislation compliant and is anonymised where required.

Fine Tuning:

The final step is unique to your Fleet’s requirements and involves a consultative approach, to fine-tune and optimize how you make the switch to EV’s for those suitable drivers/vehicle duty rosters in your fleet.

Areas worth consideration include:

  • The optimum way to fund your new vehicles, to maximize tax efficiency.
  • Optimum lease/finance terms and mileage breaks
  • Bulk purchase/lease discounts
  • Mileage reimbursement
  • CSR policy compliance and C02 reduction target performance

 

Are EV’s right for everyone?

Are EV’s right for everyone?

Do we believe electric vehicles are right for everyone?

No, we don’t!  Our view is that as things currently stand, some people are perfectly suited to owning an EV and who would benefit greatly.  There are others that due to their travel requirements and vehicle usage profile, would not benefit from owning an EV at all and would find the experience either impractical or expensive compared to a traditional Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle.

In most cases, it’s about finding the ‘sweet spot’.  This ‘sweet spot’ can be measured based on a driver’s average daily, weekly or monthly mileage pattern, whether that be from commuting to work, job type or lifestyle.  The sweet spot is usually reflected in a mileage profile that is neither too low, nor too high.

For example, if your daily mileage requirements are really low and you only drive a couple of thousand miles a year, then yes, an EV will probably work for you, but you are unlikely to see any significant WLC savings as you are not doing enough miles to gain the cost benefit.  At the other end of the scale, if you have a daily commute of 120 miles and the EV’s “real” range is just 90 miles, it means a charge at least once a day, which may not be feasible or practical.

Each vehicle has a sweet spot, and they can be quite different from model to model. Those driver profiles that fall within the sweet spot are those who we should target, at least in the short term.  These drivers will offer the greatest cost savings and will benefit the most from the switch to electric.

NOTE: The ‘sweet spot’ of EV’s are constantly widening as vehicle pricing lowers due to demand coupled with new models with increased range.  This means that more and more drivers are falling into this sweet spot, which is good news for all.

How The CleanCar System Works for Different Types of Customer

How The CleanCar System Works for Different Types of Customer

I regularly get asked how the CleanCar solution works and depending on the audience I will tell a slightly different story.  It’s not that we have multiple solutions for a variety of Use Cases but the benefit of the CleanCar system does change depending on your perspective.  In this quick article, I will explain the CleanCar business model and give a quick overview of the benefits depending upon your point of reference.

To start let’s review the image below that explains the flow of data into CleanCar, explains what we do with it and how we report on it.

Overview of CleanCar

To explain the image in more detail, the CleanCar solution is split into the following areas:

CleanCar Consumer

CleanCar consumer, aimed at the average person on the street; it’s the trimmed down version of CleanCar that allows a user to see if they are suited to an Electric Vehicle, which EV would suit their requirements and if they would save any money by making the switch.  Our route to market for this service is generally via a third party or as we like to say a channel partner.  This is an organisation like an energy company or vehicle manufacturer, who know their customers would benefit from the use of an EV and simply need a tool to help prove it.  That where we come in, we assist those organisation is showing the benefits of an EV to their customers.

CleanCar Business

CleanCar business is where we started out; aimed at the larger organisations who run a fleet of vehicles. They have a good understanding of the benefits of an Electric Vehicle but simply can’t make that decision to move to this new technology.  We often find they feel the decision is a “bit risky” and there are too many unknowns.  By following the CleanCar approach, we show them which vehicles they should switch and help them to understand the financial benefits; we also can make suggestions regarding how many charge points they need and where to put them.  Its powerful stuff and it is great for anyone looking to de-risk a decision about their e-mobility requirements

CleanCar Intelligent Mobility Solutions

This part of CleanCar is our Data Science bit (if my old maths teachers at school could see how excited I get these days with numbers and data, they would simply not believe it).  In a nutshell, we can collect very accurate data about how people use their vehicles and from their build up profiles of usage; we can also then combine this data with other data sets to tell a story.

If you have a project where understanding how people use vehicles is important then let us know, we can likely help info@cleancar.io

Making this the first true generator on the internet

Making this the first true generator on the internet

Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years Read more »