Manufacturers must fill EV knowledge gap, says BVRLA
At the event, BVRLA members highlighted how, with little detailed information on vehicle performance, warranty terms or the wear and tear of parts and components, they have virtually nothing to go on when trying to set residual values or predict maintenance and repair costs for electric vehicles.
'Due to a lack of historic information, we are out of our comfort zone as we are unable to rely on factual information, including gut instinct,' said Phil Turle, fleet services controller at ALD Automotive, speaking at the event.
He said that ALD was addressing this knowledge gap and had analysed the performance of its fleet of Toyota Prius hybrids to get an idea of their reliability and usage. In addition, the company was also road testing a number of EV cars and working closely with manufacturers to ensure their information is both accurate and reliable.
At the end of the Showcase, BVRLA delegates took part in a workshop aimed at identifying some of the key questions that need to be answered by manufacturers. They included:
• Can manufacturers provide range figures based on different working environments of electric vehicles, for example urban, inter-urban, laden or unladen?
• What is an acceptable level of rapid charging and how could this affect the vehicle warranty?
• Will refurbished batteries be available, and at what cost?
• What will the pricing and availability of electric vehicle parts be, particularly in the early years of their adoption?
• What level and availability of technical expertise can customers expect from franchised dealerships, independent garages and roadside assistance companies, in the early years of electric vehicle adoption?
• Will manufacturer handbooks contain enough information to keep fleet drivers aware of the different usage requirements of electric vehicles?
'The vehicle rental and leasing industry recognises the urgent need for fleets to adopt ultra-low carbon technology and is working hard to facilitate the shift,' said BVRLA chief executive, John Lewis.
'BVRLA members can be great advocates for the move to electric motoring, but we need to look beyond the short-term taxpayer funded incentives and marketing hype surrounding electric vehicles and find some of the answers that will enable early adopters to have the confidence to take on EVs in volume.
'We will see a number of electric evangelists making impulse purchases, but the vast majority of fleets will need reassurance that these vehicles are fit for purpose and that it makes financial sense to run them.'