Across the world, commercial vehicle operators are considering how best to future-proof fleets. Transitioning to electric vehicle fleets isn’t a choice; it’s an inevitability – but businesses face difficult decisions about when to shift while balancing responsibilities to customers, clients, and stakeholders. They also face tough choices on when to invest in fleet charging infrastructure, including commercial EV charging stations.
Electric vehicles (EVs) and high-performance fast DC charging technology are now affordable and available, making battery power a genuine alternative to fossil fuel. In this article, we explore the drivers for change and the technology accelerating the shift to EVs – and explain why there’s no time to waste.
What’s driving the shift to Electric Fleets?
There is a range of economic and regulatory drivers pushing electric vehicles as a suitable choice, but – more importantly –concerns about the environment and customer perception. Individually, these factors are important, but collectively it’s a critical push for change.
Economic – Rapid inflation is putting pressure on every business's costs, and making cuts is critical. Transitioning to EVs and installing commercial EV charging stations is helping some businesses to make savings, boost their profile, and unlock new revenue streams. Companies operating 50 fleet vehicles could save over £65,000 (€70,000) each year, industry experts estimate.
Regulation – By 2035, all EU fleets must be carbon neutral. The clock is already ticking for fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, leaving fleet operators with no choice about shifting; it's simply a question of when.
Environmental – Fleets emit up to 12.5% of all the EUs carbon emissions. Climate change is already impacting our daily lives and will only worsen. Businesses must play their part in promoting sustainable alternatives. Swapping to EVs could dramatically cut carbon emissions, EU figures show.
Customer perception – 80% of customers want to buy from ethical businesses, giving them a clear advantage over competitors. Transitioning to EVs clearly demonstrates that a company takes its carbon footprint seriously and is acting to reduce it.
Are EVs a practical choice for fleets?
Transitioning to an electric fleet is a strategic business decision that impacts everyone from the boardroom to the person behind the steering wheel. For most fleets, simply switching to EV isn’t practical. Instead, they operate a hybrid solution incorporating both fossil-fuel-powered vehicles and EVs. This approach enables businesses to experience the benefits of EVs while continuing to deliver for customers. It also spreads out the essential investment in vehicles and charging technologies.
The gradual integration of EVs enables companies to tackle emerging challenges – such as access to charging infrastructure or driver training – that could hamper adoption. Over time, the vehicle mix can change with a greater number of sustainably powered vehicles – and crucially, the right type of EVs – in the vehicle mix.
Investing in DC charging infrastructure
Investing in a dedicated commercial charging solution is a critical part of your EV strategy. You must ensure that chargers can manage the capacity and deliver the charging speed required to keep your business working.
One of the biggest barriers to EV fleet adoption is concerns about range and charging. Specifically, operators are worried that vehicles may be unable to cope with a delivery vehicle's demanding life. A new generation of fast DC charging stations can rapidly replenish an EV battery, optimizing the operational life of every vehicle. Commercial EV chargers like the Heliox Flex 180 can simultaneously deliver power to three vehicles, providing a 100km charge in just 33 minutes. For inner-city bus operators, that's a day's distance in less than a lunch break.
In addition to capacity delivered by a commercial EV charging station, the price of power is an issue for every company. While the market remains volatile, modern EV charging stations have intelligent features that optimize charging and minimize cost. Chargers interact with the grid and can take the power they need when it’s cheapest, keeping costs as low as possible. Charging solutions are also more effective in incorporating sustainable energy sources into the mix, reducing our collective reliance on coal and nuclear power.
Today’s generation of EV chargers can provide valuable insights into usage patterns, energy consumption, and maintenance requirements for every vehicle – and driver. This data helps operators to develop greater intelligence that can be used to improve driver behavior and EV charging strategies that can improve fleet operations. Increases in productivity and profit come at the same time as a reduction in vehicle downtime.
Investing in DC charging stations is a long-term commitment to scalable and sustainable solutions. The ability to charge multiple vehicles means businesses add fleet vehicles, supporting the transition to EVs while maintaining control. While upfront costs can be high, fast-charging stations may provide a valuable additional revenue stream. Many commercial fleet operators are considering allowing the public to access EV charging stations during off-peak operation times – and charging them. This can help to offset the cost of charging stations and create a new – and highly lucrative –source of income.
Beyond the financial and operational issues, investing in commercial charging technology and EV fleets significantly diminishes a company's carbon footprint and sends a clear message about a company’s commitment to corporate responsibility.
Enterprise-ready charging solutions
Companies that invest in commercial electric vehicle charging stations can cut costs, manage capacity, and stay in total control of their fleets. Next-generation fleet charging technology, including that created by Heliox, is reshaping the way businesses operate.
The ability to rapidly charge multiple vehicles means concerns around range are disappearing, and with energy costs stabilizing, there's no better time to consider shifting to EVs.
Heliox offers fleet operators of all sizes access to enterprise-ready DC charging stations and solutions. As well as providing the infrastructure, we can support your transition journey – working to develop a roadmap to a sustainable fleet. Contact us today to learn more.