By the end of 2021 there were more than 140 plug-in vehicles on the market, with 50 more expected to be launched in 2022. It’s likely we’ll see these numbers surge year on year and while many are aimed at private owners, an increasing number are being made with the needs of commercial fleets in mind.
Let’s take a look at some options for commercial fleets.
Small two-door compact vehicles like the Fiat 500e or Renault Zoe might not seem like ideal vehicles for commercial fleets, but they have their uses. If your company has a small fleet in which one or two employees travel around a small area with little or no equipment, then these vehicles might be ideal. They are typically inexpensive compared to larger vehicles and although they have quite limited range (the 500e has 194 miles, and the Zoe 238) they are very efficient when it comes to their intended use of short trips around cities.
Vehicles like the Polestar 2, BMW i4 and, at the higher end, Mercedes EQE, are all ideal company cars for organisations that want their executives and salespeople to make an impression while keeping fuel costs low. They are nearly indistinguishable from their ICE equivalents and have the same suite of features that you would find in any four-door saloon and hatchback.
Of course, there are plenty of roles for which vehicles like this aren’t suited. Deliveries, repairs and other jobs requiring large storage capacities - or just something more economical – are better handled by other vehicles. For the C-suite and similar, however, they are ideal.
EV range is typically a function of size and weight: larger vehicle can fit larger batteries, but weight will limit the range of even the largest vehicles. Since hatchbacks and saloons are in the sweet spot between city cars and their larger brethren, they often have ranges above 300 miles: 341 for the Polestar 2, 365 for the BMW i4 and 384 for the Mercedes EQE.
Vans are the backbone of many commercial fleets, and although their weight limits their range, they are still viable for anything apart from extreme long-haul use.
The Peugeot e-Partner, Vauxhall Vivaro-e and Citroen e-Relay are a small, medium, and large-sized van respectively, though the e-Relay has an impressive range of 169 miles, compared to the e-Partner’s 170. As they are new models they come with the latest technology, so drivers can more easily connect digital devices and get directions through SatNav.
HGVs, construction vehicles and other large vehicles tend to be too large to run purely on batteries, but that is changing over time. DAF, Tesla and even Amazon have all released fully electric HGVs, but it remains to be seen if they will be the standard at some point in the future. In the meantime, if your fleet needs higher capacity vehicles than vans, then low-emissions options are available. Although hydrogen refuelling points are rare, if you have them on your routes then they are an excellent option for both range and ease of refuelling.
Alternatively, biofuels are an option that can allow companies to cut emissions while making refuelling relatively easy, although like hydrogen they can be hard to find. It may be necessary to have tanks of biofuel on your premises if you can’t get access to a ready supply from commercial sources.
Some fleets will need a combination of the above, some need just one type of vehicle to perform a particular task. Whatever your needs, you will find that there are electric vehicles to meet them, or that there soon will be.
To learn more, download our new whitepaper 6 Steps to an Electric Fleet: What to consider in the transition to EVs or for all the latest EV news and insights, please visit our Allstar EV Insights.