Is the future electric for organisations?
Over the past year we’ve started to see a shift in attitudes towards electric vehicles (EVs). Once considered unfashionable, expensive and unachievable, EVs have now found their place among corporate fleets. So what has changed?
In the UK, one the biggest barriers to EV adoption is that the traditional company fleet model has dominated the market for such a long time. It’s difficult for many managers to envisage how things might change, or even why. But challenges are emerging from several directions. Energy prices are rising, environmental pressures are increasing and organisations are under pressure to do more with less. In this environment, keeping a modern organisation on the move, while at the same time meeting environmental and financial obligations has become both an operational and strategic challenge.
At the same time, misconceptions around EVs are slowly being dispelled. Many organisations wrongly assume that EVs are unaffordable, won’t provide the desired range for their business requirements, or aren’t supported by enough charging infrastructure. Yet if they took the time to look into EVs in more detail, they would realise that introducing EVs is actually a lot less risky than first assumed.
The typical working range of a pure plug-in on a full charge is around 75 miles, but this is more than adequate for most business journeys. There’s also now a wide choice of workplace charging options while, for en-route charging, there’s the option of a simple pay-per-use charge card that company drivers can use at 80% of the UK's public charge points. At the same time, funding concerns are also being removed via Government grants and try-before-you-buy deals so fleets can ease themselves into EVs.
As traditional barriers to adoption are removed, EVs are becoming an increasingly viable option for businesses – particularly those in industries driven by strict environmental and cost targets, such as the Public Sector. In fact, our recent research revealed that nearly one fifth of public sector organisations are already using EVs for business travel, with 30% planning to increase the number in their corporate fleet within the next 12 to 18 months.
One example of such an organisation is West Middlesex University Hospital, which following advice from our AlphaElectric consultants, made the decision to lease a Nissan Leaf for employees to use for home visits. Previously, therapy employees would take taxis when visiting a patient’s home, but with 15-20 home visitors on the team, travel bills were soon rising to as much as £38,000 a year.
Since adopting the EVs the overall result has been phenomenal. Therapy employees are using the electric pool car instead of a taxi whenever they can, removing the need for fuel cards and garage receipts and lowering carbon emissions. On top of this – and most importantly – the hospital is able to redirect 40% of the money it once spent on business mobility into patient care.
Many believe that eMobility is still in its infancy, however this perception is misguided. It’s not just the public sector that are embracing EVs – today, sustainability is a priority for many companies, with an increasing number looking for ways to minimise fleet CO2 emissions and enhance corporate sustainability. With the benefits clear and the Government spending hundreds of millions of pounds on charging infrastructure and purchase subsidies for EV buyers, the current opportunity to invest in plug-in vehicles is something businesses simply cannot afford ignore.