Why You Should Encourage Employees to Go Electric
In the US, road transportation represents one of the largest sources of human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for 28% of the total; the same as that created by electricity generation.
And over half of the cars on the road, today, belong within business fleets. If organizations can succeed in switching to low carbon fleet vehicles and can encourage their employees to select ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), then the reduction in climate-changing greenhouse gases could be significant.
Making the transition to an electric fleet is one of the simplest ways for businesses to lower their emissions and to contribute to tackling climate change. Not only that, but it also offers businesses a chance to significantly reduce their operating costs; both for the company and employee-owned vehicles.
Benefits to Your Organization of Going Electric
Running an electric fleet can present your business with great marketing and brand image opportunities, allowing you to attract more customers and win more business by showcasing your organization as being green and responsible. Company-owned EVs can be branded with inspirational messaging to broadcast your progressive environmental ethos to the general public.
From an operational cost perspective, the mileage and maintenance costs of running EVs are significantly lower than for conventional vehicles. Depending on electricity rates, it can cost as little as $0.04 per mile in energy to run an EV, compared to $0.10 per mile for an average light-duty conventional vehicle.
The lower maintenance costs due to EVs having regenerative braking, simpler engines and fewer parts requiring replacement also brings down the total cost of running an EV compared to a gas or diesel vehicle. When these cost savings are multiplied across the entire fleet, fleet managers have the opportunity to drastically reduce their operating costs and vehicle downtime.
Organizations that have upgraded their company fleet to electric have found that they also benefit from improved employee morale as their drivers start to enjoy the comfort, ease and reduced environmental impacts of driving an EV.
For organizations that have large employee-owned fleets (grey fleets), or that provide company cars to their employees, mileage reimbursements for EVs can be calculated to be slightly lower than for gasoline or diesel vehicles due to their lower running costs.
Assisting your employees to upgrade their personal vehicles to electric also lowers your organization’s carbon footprint and environmental impact. It has even been shown to improve employee morale, with many drivers feeling good to be able to contribute towards reducing emissions and making our planet a healthier place.
Drivers of EVs may benefit from being able to use carpool lanes, making their commute to work faster and easier, resulting in them being less stressed and more productive at work.
Incentives and Mechanisms to Encourage Employees to Go Electric
If your business has strategic plans to reduce its environmental impact by electrifying the fleet, then you will need to get the engagement of your employees. To do so, there are various incentives and mechanisms that you can implement to counter some of the resistance that you may encounter.
Many of these are the same whether the upgrade to electric is within a company-owned fleet of service vehicles, company cars, or a grey fleet. When encouraging employees to change their own vehicles to electric, there are some further strategies to consider.
Provision of Sufficient Charging Infrastructure
Two of the major hurdles that prevent many drivers from wanting to switch to electric is the concerns over mileage range and access to charging points. This makes the provision of appropriate charging infrastructure a vital mechanism to tackle this problem head-on. Enabling employees to easily charge their vehicles when they are parked up at work means that they are guaranteed a convenient charge every day without having to consider how to charge their vehicles at home.
Fitting your vehicles with Fleet Management Software or a telematics system that is compatible with EVs makes it easy for fleet managers to identify where vehicles remain stationary for a prolonged period of time, and how many vehicles are at each location. This shows the optimum locations for upgrading charging infrastructure, and how many chargers each site will require.
The additional investment required to build a suitable charging infrastructure puts greater pressure on the fleet manager to get a positive ROI on the EVs. To ensure this, driver charging discipline must be managed.
FleetCarma’s SmartCharge Manager enables you to manage your vehicle charging infrastructure efficiently, optimizing charge scheduling to reduce peak demand and avoid higher demand charges. And by helping you to utilize your charging infrastructure more effectively, it enables you to scale up your EV programs without the prohibited costs of service upgrades.
Electric Car Pooling
Rather than allowing employees to use their own vehicles and claim back the mileage costs of business trips, many companies lease or purchase a fleet of electric vehicles, creating a carpool that their employees schedule to use when necessary. Electric car pooling can be a highly efficient mechanism to reduce the environmental impact and running costs of the fleet, but the pool vehicles must be well utilized to generate the best ROI.
A telematics solution compatible with EVs provides fleet managers with information on battery state of charge, charging patterns and vehicle usage patterns so that they can optimize usage of these pool vehicles, ensuring the best ROI on their investment.
SmartCharge hardware will give fleet managers real-time battery state-of-charge data, so that they can ensure that the drivers always have enough charge by the time they need it. This is crucial to ensuring maximum employee engagement and uptake of EVs.
Financial Assistance to Help Employees Buy Electric
Some organizations offer their employees a bonus to help them offset the higher cost of purchasing an EV. When this payment is combined with federal tax incentives and reduced-rate insurance, this financial assistance can greatly help to improve the rate of EV adoption in a company’s grey fleet.
The investment that this requires from the business is easily compensated by the employee goodwill that it creates, enabling organizations to effectively recruit and retain the best talent. Businesses have also found the scheme to improve employee productivity, reducing their commute times by enabling them to use carpool lanes.
Aside from providing direct financial assistance, employers should also make sure to provide all employees with access to information about all the federal and local grants and incentives available to them for purchasing their own electric vehicle, minimizing the capital investment required and making an EV a more attractive option.
By providing employees with eco-driver training, they will learn how to conserve energy and therefore increase the range of the EVs, making them more appealing and acceptable for drivers.
Driving skills such as improved anticipation and maintaining momentum are as applicable to EVs as they are to conventional vehicles. However, there are other important considerations that are unique to EVs, which once understood and practiced can increase vehicle range by around 20%. Offering employees access to training days or programs lets them tap into these skills, improving their appreciation of the vehicles and bringing down the costs of on-site charging.
Provision of Resources
To help ensure the maximum uptake of EVs within your grey fleet, make sure to provide employees with access to resources that will help them understand the benefits and practical considerations of purchasing electric. For those that are yet to buy, it will help to remove some common hurdles, and for those who have already bought an electric vehicle, it will help to aid them in the transition, ensuring that the vehicles are well utilized and appreciated.
Companies that are Transitioning their Employees to Electric
Many large multinational companies have already made commitments to swap their large conventional vehicle fleets to electric vehicles, as well as to install electric battery charging infrastructure by 2030. Some of these companies include:
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
PG&E provides energy to almost 16 million Californians. It operates one of the cleanest company fleets in the energy industry, with nearly 1,600 electric-based vehicles. It also offers an EV incentive program for its 24,000 employees and has more than 500 charging units at its own facilities to encourage employees to go electric.
LeasePlan provides fleet management services to private and public-sector entities across 32 countries. It has made a public commitment to achieve net zero emissions from the corporate automotive sector by 2030. The organization also has set a target for all of its employees to be driving EVs by 2021.
IKEA Group sells home furnishings from its 355 stores across 29 countries. Over half of its stores already have EV charging stations installed for their employees and customer to use, with plans to roll this out globally. IKEA is also working to transition its delivery fleets to EV; currently, over 50 EV trucks operate in China, and 20 will be deployed in Los Angeles and New York from 2018.
These companies are leading the field in transitioning their operations to electric and encouraging their employees to do the same. With the incentives and mechanisms discussed in this guide, your business can join the building wave of EV adoption and start to enjoy the financial, environmental, staff welfare and reputational benefits of doing so.