If you’re thinking about making your company’s vehicles electric then the next hurdle will be creating buy-in amongst the people who use the vehicles.
This is particularly true if you want to go electric now or in the near future: battery electric vehicles (BEVs) only account for 6.6% of the UK car market, while plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) account for 4.1%. Although collectively they account for nearly one in ten vehicles being sold, they still might appear to be a niche concern, at least until the total ban on sales of new internal combustion vehicles comes into effect in 2030. How then can you win people over to electric vehicles (EVs)?
You will need to have a clear idea of the costs and benefits of switching to electric, as your employees may be worried that you are making a large investment that may not pay off, particularly if you suffered losses during the pandemic. Being as transparent as possible about the costs will help: lay out how much you expect to spend and how much you expect to save.
You can also point out that employees themselves stand to benefit. For company car or salary sacrifice drivers, the cost of taxation is lower than with petrol cars: 0% for the 20/21 tax year, then 1% the following year and 2% the year after. If they pay for their own fuel when driving vehicles for personal use, then they stand to save there too.
Most of the time, your drivers won’t notice the difference between their new EV and its petrol-driven forebear, but there will be a few ways in which their workday will alter to accommodate the change.
The most obvious way will be charging. Your company may be lucky enough to be able to keep your vehicles overnight in a location where they can be charged, but if you have vehicles which are kept at employees’ homes or in locations without charging then they will have to schedule time for charging. Although it is much faster than it has been previously, charging an EV, particular a van or HGV, can take hours, so provisions should be in place to allow time for charging or to build charging facilities.
If some of your employees are lucky enough to have been given company cars that they can use outside of work, then they are going to need to get used to a new way of charging their vehicle and paying for fuel. They will be eligible for the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which gives them £350 off purchasing an EV charging point for their home. You will have to work out whether they or your company will pay for the rest and how to compensate them for any charging or extra electricity use.
The range of EVs is improving all the time, but some do not have the same range as their petrol or diesel counterparts. This is particularly true of larger vehicles with heavy cargo, and you will have to take weight into account when planning routes.
It could be a good idea to work with your drivers to find if they will still be able to do their tasks as normal in an EV. Having a grassroots view of how the vehicles will really be used will give you a better idea of how many vehicles you need and what type would work best – it may not be as simple as replacing every vehicle in your fleet with its nearest EV equivalent. Involving drivers in the process has the added bonus of increasing their level of buy-in.
Making the switch to an EV fleet isn’t to be taken lightly, but it can be far easier if it comes after a period of consultation with stakeholders rather than as a diktat from above. If you have a clear idea of the benefits, a solid plan for the changes it will bring and are willing to listen to your employees then you should have no trouble creating buy-in from your workforce.
Download your copy of our 6 Steps to an Electric Fleet here.
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