How fleet operators can encourage EV adoption
The major barriers to electric vehicles (EV) adoption (such as range anxiety, limited infrastructure, lack of model availability, an individual’s acceptance of EV technology) have to-date prevented widespread EV adoption (except for Norway). Policymakers have reacted with incentive programs, for instance, financial payments in the form of grants or tax credits to reduce the upfront of the vehicle, or, infrastructure incentives to reduce the cost of home installation. Also, a combination of non-financial incentives, for example, HOV lane access, toll exemptions, and free parking are in place to promote EVs.
However, as adoption remains slow, traditional incentives alone have demonstrated the need for new methods of enticing individuals towards EVs.
The need for consumer engagement
Historically, customer engagement has been ignored. However, in a recent push to encourage EV adoption, policymakers have turned to various forms of marketing campaigns in an attempt to increase EV consumer awareness.
For example, in the UK, the government has launched an EV experience center in Milton Keynes, where you will find all the information you need about EVs, and specifically which EV would suit your personal needs. Importantly, potential buyers have the option to gain the first-hand experience with the technology.
Both, financial and non-financial incentives will remain a crucial factor in adoption. However, arguably the public need to engage and feel comfortable before purchasing behavior changes, because let’s face it internal combustion vehicles have been the norm for a very long time.
Fleet exposure might be the answer
Awareness policies are beginning to build traction. The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) recently brought attention to the need for awareness and highlight several ways of increasing the public perception of EVs, one of which is exposure from fleets. The report claims that fleet acquisitions of EVs can directly provide more significant exposure to prospective owners. This is because larger EV fleet purchases generally increase the usage of EVs and give more people the opportunity to drive an EV.
It can also bring considerable news coverage. For example, one of the most well-known international airports, Heathrow, has partnered with Jaguar and WeKnowGroup to supply a fleet of 200 fully-electric Jaguar I-Pace vehicles that will be available to passengers traveling to and from the airport. Another celebrated example is UPS, who can already be seen delivering packages in the streets of London (UK) and Paris (France) in specially marked EVs. Their commitment to EVs continues to break new ground, with a recent announcement of adding 950 EVs to their current fleet.
Crucially, something as simple as recognizing an EV in your community could make you think twice before buying another gasoline vehicle.
As part of a strategy to increase EV fleet numbers, a growing number of financial incentives have become available. In September 2015, Boulder County launched the first US EV group buy program. The program negotiated by the local government provides limited time discounts on EVs with car dealerships and vehicle manufacturers. Following the initial success, further initiatives to encourage fleet EV acquisitions have been introduced. According to the ICCT, in the US there are now state fleet purchases incentives in 20 regions, local EV fleet targets in 21 regions, and actions to increase the use of EVs in public transport in 16 regions.
Telematics – the power of data
As fleets continue to adopt EVs, there is growing realization over the importance of telematics. A recent survey of industry executives who operate fleets highlighted three main reasons for doing so:
- Improving fuel economy
- Improving driver safety
- Cutting costs
The survey highlights as the cost of the technology decrease and the functionality increases, it’s appeal will become ever greater to fleet operators. For a more in-depth discussion of the benefits of telematics see this previous article.
FleetCarma’s world-class Fleet Management Software is an all-in-one platform to optimize the running of your fleet. While increasing the current EV offering, the software also supports gas and diesel, and hybrid vehicles. Main benefits include reduced costs by optimizing charging patterns, staying on top of maintenance schedules, and provide data-rich fleet reports. For EV’s, this is the only comprehensive solution to maximize fleet utilization.
Business efficiency is a number one priority; telematics provides the best solution through the power of using vehicle data. In technology terms, this is just the beginning.
In sum, fleet operators benefit in many ways by switching to EVs, namely through telematics and improving vehicle efficiency. Furthermore, EV fleets have become a part of a broader strategy to increase the visibility of EV technology. The integration of EVs into fleets directly increases the use and exposure, which can help break down the barriers to mainstream adoption. Two words, visibility, and exposure.