Survey: Sustainability, Cost Biggest Fleet Electrification Motivations

A study has found concerns about cost are nearly as big motivations as those around the environment in company managers’ decisions to electrify their fleets.

GreenBiz and UPS’ Curve Ahead: The Future of Fleet Electrification report has found 83% of major companies surveyed cited “sustainability and environmental goals” as the main factors motivating them to electrify their fleets. However, almost as many (64%) cited the “lower total cost of ownership” brought by electrification as a deciding factor. And 30% admitted the perceived “PR/reputation[al]” boosts were the main attraction of electrification for them.

However, 55% of fleet operators questioned for the survey cited the purchase cost of commercial EVs as their main personal disincentives to adopting them. 44% also cited insufficient charging infrastructure on their premises as a disincentive. Furthermore, an overwhelming 92% admitted they couldn’t currently charge whole fleets of commercial EVs on their premises. Fewer than half of respondents claimed to “collaborate with government or with utilities” on improvements to charging infrastructure. 70% claimed to work with suppliers in this area. However, just 49% said they were working on it with governmental bodies.

Many fleet managers interviewed for the survey said “starting small”, rather than electrifying entire fleets at once, was key to increasing overall adoption of EVs at the commercial level. UPS senior director of automotive maintenance and engineering Scott Phillippi claimed: “The business case … will help us to reach a tipping point to large-scale EV fleet adoption”.

GreenBiz director of research Paul Carp added: “The vehicle technologies and options to upgrade infrastructure are quickly improving … industry collaboration will be critical to accelerate fleet electrification”. The report also claims EVs generally “require less maintenance than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles”, neglecting to mention the problems posed by charging them using domestic power supplies.

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