info@cleancar.io   +44 845 600 6880
Dispelling the myths surrounding electric vehicles

Dispelling the myths surrounding electric vehicles

Fleets… The switch to Electric Vehicle Suitability guide

By Alex Baker, CEO CleanCar.io

First things First… Do we believe electric vehicles are right for everyone? No, we don’t!

Technology is improving all the time. Especially electric car technology…

Our view is that as things currently stand, some people/businesses are perfectly suited to owning EV cars or having an Electric Fleet. There are people who would benefit greatly. There are others that due to their travel requirements and vehicle usage profile would not benefit. Finding out the benefits of electric vehicles and how it would be able to adapt to your driving life would be great. That’s why we have the CleanCar system to find out if switching to an EV would be beneficial either personally or as a fleet, this is how it becomes a fleet solution.

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. It can 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 is a couple of thousand miles a year an EV car will probably work for you. You are unlikely to see any significant WLC savings if you are not doing enough miles a year. However, this is for the cost benefit overall. If you have a daily commute of 120 miles the EV’s “real” range is just 90 miles. This will result in a charge at least once a day. This may not be feasible or practical for yourself.

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. The target should be at least for 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 cars are constantly widening. Vehicle pricing lowers due to demand coupled with new models with increased range. There is an increase in drivers that are falling into this sweet spot. This is good news for all especially for those running large fleet’s.

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. CleanCar has helped fleets to make the switch to Electric. During this time, CleanCar has heard plenty of excuses and reasons from Fleets and Drivers that are not currently wanting to make the switch to an Electric Fleet etc. However, some of these reasons are perfectly valid. Most excuses and reasons 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). The analysis shows they would see real cost savings but it 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. Although 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. In these situations, no matter how good an option or 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 policies for making arrangements. Many Fleets do not have a full-time fleet manager’s 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 cars 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. It is getting in the way of some potentially significant cost saving benefits. It could 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. I am confident, you will be very surprised by the impressive torque driven acceleration. It may change your view about petrol vs. electric!

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. The use of dozens of acronyms is that only an ‘EV industry stalwart’ understands. I have designed this guide for those individuals who have direct and indirect responsibility. These individuals would be making decisions about Fleet vehicle procurement and logistical management. This guide is presented in a straightforward and helpful format. I have tried to avoid the jargon. You can find links at the bottom of this guide. The links are useful glossaries for clarity around industry buzz words.

Wanting to find out benefits of Electric Cars that would suit you and save you money? Contact CleanCar info@cleancar.io or visit Cleancar.io.

Benefits of Electric Vehicles VS Hyrbid

Benefits of Electric Vehicles VS Hyrbid

Our Fleet Hybrid Guide

Fleet solutions is the way forward to switching your fleet to an Electric Fleet. This guide will show the benefits of Electric cars VS hybrid’s in the switch to low/zero emission mobility.

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

Do PHEV’s have a place in your fleet?

By Alex Baker, CEO CleanCar.io

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

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. The company will save a fortune with such amazing MPG, it will never need fuel. The problem is this picture, it 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. If this is the case, 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 benefiting 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 etc. Many drivers who are not using the car properly. We see MPG at around 20% of the claimed MPG rate at best.
  • If the car is not being used properly or as a fleet and 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). For many traditional company car drivers, they are the wrong choice. A low CO2 Petrol or Diesel may be a far better choice. 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. However, we come across a spot where the fishing is great. We catch every other cast. 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. This 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 behaviors 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 behaviors. This is what makes 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. It’s worth thinking what behaviors 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… 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 electric vehicle 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.

  • 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. You just get used to it. Honestly these days I only start to worry if I hit 7 miles or less.

Let’s not underestimate the impact. As diesel car today, it will do 500 miles on a full tank. An EV will do maybe around 100 Miles. The difference in miles takes some getting used to. That’s why we use the CleanCar process with our customers (more below). We can understand how someone really uses their vehicle, what their journey profile actually means when it comes to range requirements. Then we explain and display this accurate usage profile to them. We explain and prove to the driver 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 and everything else. However, 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 Electric Vehicle 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, like we said electric car technology is growing and we want you to make the switch knowing it will beneficial to you or your fleet.

I have designed this guide for those individuals who have direct and indirect responsibility for making decisions about Fleet vehicle procurement and logistical management. 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.