We exhibited at Fleet and Mobility Live, and caught up with fleet managers to ask them how they are finding the transition to electric vehicles.
Paul Wiffen, fleet manager at Bob Rudd Leisure, runs a fleet of 127 vehicles – 20% of which are LCVs.
“We’ve just started migrating our management vehicles to plug-in hybrids, but going fully electric is difficult for us because of our very irregular fleet mileage patterns. We have trialled two Renault ZOEs for employees who cover low mileages, but the full-scale migration to EVs will take some time for our car fleet.
“It’s the same story when it comes to electric vans – all our CVs are Luton bodied and at the moment there is just not the range capacity for electric to work for us.
“We also have the problem that our business has service level agreements with our nationwide clients – we have to be at their premises if required within 45 minutes so we can’t risk not having a vehicle get there because it is charging. To go fully electric will probably require us to change our business model.
“For the interim period, our vans will be diesel and our cars petrol or hybrid – we’ve moved away from diesel cars because of the tax and rental increases, plus petrol models are closing the gap on diesels when it comes to fuel economy.
“We’ve recently added 27 Toyota Corolla hybrids for our service engineers, with 20 mild hybrid Yaris models due to come on fleet. We’re doing what we can to reduce emissions.”
Andrew Spencer, fleet manager at N2O, runs an ever-changing fleet which features vehicles taken on for promotional work.
“Electric vehicles are something of a mixed bag from our point of view. All of our clients want to run a sustainable fleet operation, but the network and products are not quite there yet.
“One of our clients wanted to run an electric HGV for a Christmas promotion and tasked us with researching it, but the model only had a 100-mile range and there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding HGV charging points. Conversely, we ran seven electric cars for a FIFA World Cup promotion event, and that was simple.
“I’ve been researching electric vans but have concerns over issues such as driver licensing and vehicle range.
“We will be staying with petrol and diesel for a while yet but in the future I think a mix of hydrogen and electric will be the key.”
Paul Tate, category manager fleet for Adler and Allan, runs a fleet of around 700 cars, vans and trucks.
“I’d like to be further down the EV road than I am but our operational requirements mean we simply can’t go much further at present.
“For instance, one part of our business operates disaster response vehicles, so sending an EV to an incident involving the spillage of a volatile substance simply can’t happen.
“We don’t have any electric LCVs on fleet at the moment, but I’m looking into them – it’s about getting the balance between the environmental aspect set against our operational requirements such as routing, timing and distance.
“I also don’t want our drivers sitting charging their vans on work time… there’s a lot of ‘worst case’ scenarios to work through, including the charging infrastructure – what’s available in each area, are the chargers available, are they located in restricted height areas (this is an issue for some of our vehicles)?
“Fleets have really got to do their homework when it comes to EVs, particularly on the LCV side. We all want to go on the journey but the infrastructure issues are a concern.”
Debbie Floyde, group fleet, risk and facilities manager for Bauer Media, runs a 326-vehicle fleet.
“We are trying electric vehicles and have had charging bays installed in our offices for three years now. We started pushing electric about two years ago but then got caught up in the problems of lead times and increasing prices.
“We’ve got about 50 electric vehicles on order but the lead times are a problem – I’ve said to those employees that they can opt out if they want.
“I have no concerns about EVs in general though – I think it’s the way to go, so long as the pricing issues sort themselves out. Range is not an issue, although some of the infrastructure needs to catch up. Also important is ensuring a change in mindset among employees and getting them used to charging their vehicles at set times.
“I was hoping that by 2025 we would not have any petrol or diesel vehicles on the fleet, but thanks to the supply issues that will probably be 2026 now. Next year I will only be ordering electric vehicles – we have trimmed our choice list accordingly.”