Insights / 5 considerations before switching to EVs

5 questions to answer before considering switching your fleet to electric vehicles

8th October 2020

The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) reports that the transport sector is the largest contributor of UK greenhouse gas emissions. Against this backdrop, many businesses are considering replacing their fleets with EVs. Drax Electric Vehicles’ lead, Adam Hall, shares the five key questions your business should ask before considering making the switch.

Read more below:

5 considerations before switching to EV's - main image

1. Why switch your fleet to EVs?

There are two main drivers motivating businesses to change to electric vehicles.

The first is economics. Would it be cheaper to operate your fleet using electric vehicles ?

The second is one of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Will reducing your emissions – and helping to improve air quality by moving away from internal combustion engine (ICE) cars – help you achieve your CSR goals? And will it have a significant positive effect on your staff and customers’ perceptions of your company?

2. What are your operational requirements?

The transportation requirements of your business reflect your operational needs. So, it’s essential that switching to an electric fleet isn’t going to have a negative impact on your operations.

When considering the replacement of your existing fleet of vehicles, you need to work out how many (if any) are suitable for electrification. You can base this on several simple questions about each vehicle, including:

  • Is it near the end of its useful economic life or lease? Or would it be more economically viable to change later?
  • Is the daily mileage for the vehicle achievable with an EV?
  • Is there enough average ‘idle’ time to enable within-day charging (taking account of the varying charge point speeds available – see question 3)?
  • Does your business have special transportation needs (e.g. choice of refrigerated EVs is currently limited)?

If your answers indicate that a switch to electrification would benefit your business, there’s even better news: there’s a much wider range of EVs available today than ever before. This range even includes an ever-growing number of electric vans, with more being launched over the coming over the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.

3. Does your business have the right electrical infrastructure for EVs?

Getting your fleet’s charging infrastructure right is crucial. For example:

  • EVs from different manufacturers may require different charge point connections.
  • The length of your fleet’s ‘idle’ times – the opportunities to charge your vehicles between periods of usage – may determine the speed of the chargepoints you install (some are faster than others).
  • Do drivers take the vehicles home when they are not on shift? This may mean that home charging makes the most sense, and if so, how will this be managed?
  • Are you happy for employees and visitors to use your charge points for their own EVs?

4. Do you have the right electricity tariff for EVs?

Changing your fleet to EVs will mean that your business consumes more electricity. Depending on how much more power you use, and when you’re using it, you may need to consider changing your electricity tariff to one that is aimed at EV ownership. It could even be worthwhile investing in your own renewable electricity generating capacity.

You can also develop your energy management strategy further by using your EV fleet to store electricity, either to power buildings or sell back to the Grid. This is called Vehicle to Grid technology, and although still in its infancy, it has huge potential in supporting a more stable grid.

5. Who can help you make the switch?

Switching your company’s fleet to EV isn’t entirely straightforward, so many businesses find an experienced energy partner to help them manage the change.

Last year, utility provider SES Water turned to Drax Electric Vehicles to convert some it its fleet to EVs, as well as using 100% renewable electricity to charge them.

Henrietta Stock, Energy and Carbon Manager at SES Water, said, “We have already significantly reduced our carbon emissions over the last year and working with Drax has enabled us to create a bespoke EV solution. Now we can understand exactly how to save the most energy, further lowering both our carbon emissions and our costs”.

To discover how Drax can help your business develop, deliver and manage its electric vehicle strategy, get in touch using our contact form.