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Supply chains critical to educate fleet masses about electric vehicles

By Tomas Edwards, CMO, Daloop

Sustainability is a heavily discussed topic right now, with individuals and businesses seeking to have less impact on the environment as they become more aware of the increasing threats to our planet.

One of the clearest moves toward a more sustainable environment is the purchase of an Electric Vehicle (EV).  EV sales are continuing to rise alongside correlating proposals over infrastructure and manufacturing developments. With sales of new combustion-engine vehicles set to end in 2030 and the UK government’s latest proposal to legislate that 50% of automakers’ sales must be electric by 2028, the trend is clear.

However, anxieties over the transition remain ever-present in conversations that I have with fleet managers, drivers and in some of the more negative articles I’ve read.

The switch to EV is happening

The transition away from combustion engines is set to become mainstream. Recent surveys show that investment in EVs continues to rise with more EVs purchased in March 2022 alone than in the whole of 2019.

Alongside this impressive statistic, the trends indicate that increasing numbers of businesses and people are planning on making the switch. According to research from BP, 43% of managers and 41% of drivers expect to make the switch to EVs within two years. Survey results in May from major tyre manufacturer, Bridgestone, revealed that 67% of motorists intend to switch. Of that figure, 47% want to change to an EV to save on fuel bills, while 56% are sold by the environmental benefits. This is interesting and highlights the conscious effort being made to reduce carbon emissions and improve sustainability.

This is happening not only on an individual level but also across the vehicle industry. Over the past year, we have seen Ford, Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi all making commitments to massively invest in EV production. It is the same for luxury carmakers, with Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, and Jaguar-Land Rover all announcing pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Anxieties persist

Despite these positive statistics, anxieties remain around the EV transition process but some of these problems are simply out of most businesses’ and governmental control. Take for example, the issues surrounding global supply chains. Volkswagen announced earlier this month that they will deliver no new EVs to customers in Europe and the US for the rest of 2022 due to sell-out of battery-powered models, citing issues within supply chains as primary cause.

Away from supply chain issues, unfortunately, and broadly reflecting the same issues facing individuals, general anxieties around fleet electrification amongst businesses persist. The main concerns regularly discussed relate to the driving range of EVs and whether necessary infrastructure will be in place to support transport decarbonization. This is where education needs to occur, because such worries can only exist if you believe that the roadside on-demand fuel supplymodel will be replicated come 2030 and beyond.   It won’t.  Charging facilities will be found at home, at work, at leisure and retail sites – anywhere where vehicles are parked for the necessary length of time. That being the case, charge will be obtained before it’s necessary and road-side facilities will be used en-route for seldom taken longer journeys.

Regardless, the UK government’s promise to increase the number of electric charge points by more than ten times to 300,000 by 2030 was broadly welcomed across the industry.

This announcement included new standards and legislation which means EV operators will have to provide real-time data for customers to check the status of charge points, and apps for customers to find the nearest available charger. Enterprises clearly have a role to play in supporting this proposal. To reduce EV charging anxiety, it is imperative that the infrastructure to support the EV transition is in place.

This is where companies like Daloop, with our data-driven mobility management software, can deliver clear benefits to fleets and businesses and alleviate concerns that some may have about EV charging and range anxiety. The software that fleet managers and businesses use to manage their EV operations is just as essential in keeping their vehicles on the road as the charge points themselves. With the correct, data-driven approach, the EV transition can be a seamless and valuable choice for any individual or business without compromising on either efficiency or costs.

Invest in our planet

Sustainability and ‘saving our planet’ is clearly one of the top drivers for switching to EVs and, in April, we had the annual World Earth awareness day.  This provided an opportunity for us all to reflect on our impact on climate change and assess what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. The theme this year was “invest in our planet”. Evidently a key investment individuals and businesses are making to reduce their carbon footprint is with the purchasing of an EV. This remains an important step, especially as the transport sector has continuously been a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions across the globe.

Aside from the environmental factor, it also makes economic sense. Research from Compare the Market found that driving an electric car for a year cost almost £600 less than a petrol equivalent after recent fuel price increases. Moreover, for businesses’ by using the right software fleet managers can safeguard journey routes and ensure that EV fleets are maintained and operated efficiently.

With the government setting clear commitments for all new HGVs to be zero-emission by 2040 and all car and van sales similarly needing to hit 100% zero-emission by 2035. EVs are now one of the most important investments that can be made to achieve global net-zero by the mid-century.

Your potential to reduce carbon emissions

This year, to support Earth Day 2022, Daloop launched a new online platform: Daloop.Earth. This platform provides business owners with an accurate, visual reflection of their potential to reduce global carbon emissions. The platform uses a simple calculation to illustrate the potential impact of a business’s fleet transition and quantifies emissions for focus and action as we all begin to make efforts toward a more sustainable transport industry.

Is Boris’ ban of petrol and diesel vehicles going to crush the transport industry?

The UK Government has announced official plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. From then on, new hybrids or electric cars will be the only types of vehicles allowed to be manufactured – and after 2035, only pure electric vehicles can be sold.

This legislation was introduced to support the reduction of fossil fuel consumption and transition to a net zero society. Billions of pounds are being invested in electric vehicle charge points across England as well as for grants to help people afford to install charge points on their private property.

This petrol and diesel ban could help cut car emissions to 46m tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030, down from an equivalent of 68 MtCO2e (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) emitted today.

The sale of electric vehicles has increased in the UK by 185.9 per cent year on year; however, the majority of cars that are imported from other countries still have an internal combustion engine (ICE) – meaning they are either petrol, diesel, or hybrid. Around 26 countries are huge exporters of ICE vehicles to the UK, including the Czech Republic, Turkey, South Africa, Poland, and Italy. In the Czech Republic, the car industry accounts for nine per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). 154,468 petrol and diesel models were exported to the UK in 2019.

Challenges posed

While yes, the move to electric vehicles will drive down global emissions, which is becoming a crucial consideration for governments and populations worldwide following the United Nations’ ‘code red for humanity’ climate change warning, it will be expensive.

Road Haulage Association Managing Director Rod McKenzie told Sky News that alternative fuels for transport such as hydrogen and electricity will be too costly or won’t offer enough range. For such a drastic shift to a different method of fuel, there needs to be less doubt and more certainty for something that is hugely relied on.

McKenzie commented: “This proposal is unrealistic. Alternative HGVs don’t yet exist. We don’t know when they’ll exist, and we don’t know how much they’ll cost, and it’s not clear what any transition will look like.

“So this is blue-sky thinking way ahead of real-life reality. For many haulage companies, there are big fears around the cost of new vehicles and a collapse in the resale value of existing ones.”

Businesses involving heavy goods vehicles will be faced with many significant challenges – it will likely take a while for the price of alternative HGVs to be driven down while we wait for research and development to innovate them and make them cheaper to manufacture and run. Transitioning an entire fleet to alternative fuel won’t be cheap. However, there is a huge need for the transport industry to be electrified – according to the UK Government, 79 per cent of domestic freight was moved by road in 2019, and transport was the largest sector for emitting domestic greenhouse gases.

Greg Archer, UK Director of the European green transport campaign group Transport and Environment, argued for the ICE vehicle ban and the ever-growing need for this ambition. He said: “This plan is a milestone in the shift to a more sustainable UK transport system. The decision to only use zero-emission road vehicles – including trucks – by 2050 is world-leading and will significantly reduce Britain’s climate impact and improve the air we breathe.”

In a bid to help businesses, seven major British companies have joined forces to accelerate the transition to hybrid and electric vehicles – some of which have some of the largest commercial fleets in the UK.

Cost advantages for business

Businesses can save money on fuel – a report by British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association report found that electric vehicles cost between 2p and 4p a mile whereas the equivalent in diesel costs 12p per mile. Tax refunds are also available for the purchase of electric vehicles, meaning you can relieve some costs.

The government is offering grants towards the cost of a new van of up to 20 per cent and 75 per cent towards the cost of installing a rapid charge point at your place of business. Congestion charges such as the ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) have been introduced in some cities to achieve cleaner air to breathe. While a great initiative for local ecosystems, it makes some cities impractical or expensive to drive through with ICE vehicles. All of these considerations make van leasing deals seem a more attractive prospect for businesses relying on fleets.

What do you think about the plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles? Is this giving you the push you need to adopt greener alternatives in your life?