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EV trials require robust monitoring to make full business case

Fleets trialling electric and hybrid vehicles must compile accurate and reliable data on their use to make a compelling case for further roll-out.

Peter Golding, managing director, FleetCheck

Peter Golding, managing director, FleetCheck

So says FleetCheck as it warns that many fleets carrying out trials are failing to effectively monitor such vehicles.

According to managing director Peter Golding, there is “limited effort put into working out the best applications for this technology and teaching drivers how to use it effectively. Especially, there is little gathering of good quality data.” In a surprising number of cases, Golding said there was no recording of how the vehicles performed in real-world conditions and fleets were falling back onto using official manufacturer figures, which had limited relevance.

He added that fleets should be using on-the-road information gathered through telematics and conducting careful analysis of this data using fleet software.

This includes for PHEVs, where there is often considerable disparity between official fuel consumption and actual figures.

“With reliable data and thorough analysis, you can look at why this is happening and try to close the gap – is it a question of driving style or perhaps the type of journeys being undertaken? Can action be taken that improve these issues? For fleets that view PHEVs as a long-term replacement for diesels, these questions are important.”

Similar thinking could be applied to EVs, Golding added, especially examining whether common, perceived issues such as range and charging times affected work efficiency.

“We very much believe that EVs will quite quickly become an essential part of the overall fleet mix but they need to be used in the right applications. A driver who adopts an EV as a company car and then complains about how they spend half their day looking for the nearest, free charger could negatively affect perceptions across an entire fleet.

“Only by compiling information and building an economic and operational case can fleets push their organisations towards wider EV and hybrid adoption. Unless they are able to do this, acceptance of these vehicles could very possibly be restricted.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.