Electric vehicle use in commercial fleets

March 12th, 2012 by Energy Saving Trust

(click on report cover to go to The Climate Group report download page)

Electric vehicles (EVs) can be commercially viable in business fleets today, states a collaborative report, “Plugged-in Fleets – A Guide to deploying electric vehicles in fleets” published in February 2012 by the Energy Saving Trust, The Climate Group, Cenex, and with support from TFL and TNT’s ‘Planet Me’ division.

Financial considerations aside, EVs offer drivers a smooth, quiet, driving experience and give all of us cleaner air in our towns and cities, so everyone benefits.

The EV20 Plugged-In Fleets report demonstrates the economic and environmental benefits of employing EVs in fleets and provides practical guidance for fleet managers looking to introduce them. It highlights:

  • The complete range of financial and operational incentives for fleet EV uptake
  • The ‘sweet spots’ that help EVs to bring commercial advantage and future-proofing
  • The steps needed to assess the EV business case, company to company

The report was endorsed in the UK Plug-In Van Grant (PIVG) announcement by UK Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening MP.  Additionally, Norman Baker MP, Transport Minister, and Mark Prisk MP, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, co-authored the report foreword.

The report highlights that EVs can make good commercial sense if they are deployed in the right place, and businesses benefit from a range of incentives from the UK plug-in car and van grants to enhanced capital allowances, and drivers of electric cars pay no UK company car tax until 2015.

Robin Haycock, Head of Transport at the Climate Group, said “more than half of all new cars and vans in the UK are bought by fleets and the report clearly highlights that savings are possible. Every situation is different, but our analysis has been able to identify areas where cost savings can be made. Outside London we have found sweet spots where an EV can save 7 pence per mile compared to a conventional vehicle, and an electric van in central London will benefit from 100% Congestion Charge discount.”

Nigel Underdown, Head of Transport Advice at the Energy Saving Trust, said “in today’s tough economy, fleets need to have confidence that operationally and financially EVs add up. Our work shows that for certain operations the business case for EVs is very strong indeed.”

Cenex has an established track record of partnership working with fleet operations on the planning and implementation of the latest generation of EVs,” said Robert Evans, CEO of Cenex.

“With the new and emerging generation of electric vehicles, fleet decision-makers have an alternative to petrol and diesel vehicles that can suit a wide range of applications. However, given their range and recharging requirements, for economic and operational integration of EVs, drive-cycle-based whole-life cost modelling is essential. This allows sweet spots of economic operation to be accurately identified. Our Fleet Carbon Reduction Tool can help fleet managers identify where introducing EVs makes operational and financial sense.”

The Climate Group’s joint research into EVs is an aspect of its Clean Revolution campaign; a swift and massive scaling-up of clean energy technologies, infrastructure, design and behaviour to improve efficiency.

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