8 Mar 2023

How to start your electric journey

Five things to consider when thinking about transitioning to EV.

New Zealand is committed to a carbon-neutral government by 2025, in what the prime minister Jacinda Ardern called “one of the greatest challenges of our time”. The government sector will be required to buy only electric or hybrid vehicles, the fleet will be reduced over time by 20%.

EVs are becoming more appealing to fleet managers and consumers as make/model availability grows, purchase prices becoming more inline with other vehicle options and charging infrastructure reach increases. As initial cost of buying comes down the benefits of cheaper running costs and lower emissions will become more compelling.

Here are five considerations if you are thinking about a transition of all, or part of your fleet to either EV, PHEV or Hybrid.

1.  What is the fleet mission?

Which cars are allocated as a tool of trade, and which are pool vehicles? Pool vehicles are usually straight forward to transition to EVs. Transitioning your tool of trade vehicles will require more staff engagement and likely a review of various vehicle policies (e.g. tow bars) and a clear plan for charging arrangements. Diving deeper into the detail, you also need to understand the employee role type and role location, the distance typically travelled and why they need a vehicle in the first place not to mention how they are being used. Are all your pool vehicles being used at the same time? Are there some that are not being used at all and could a car-share be a better option?

We cannot stress the need for staff engagement highly enough. Forcing electric vehicles on unwilling staff is a recipe for disaster. A company vehicle for some people is regarded as a status symbol and the last thing you want is for good people to leave.

The way that you acquire your vehicles will affect how agile you can be. Do you really need to own your vehicles? Could the cash needed to buy vehicles be better spent in areas that generate more income? If you are already leasing, are your vehicles expiring in the next 6 - 12 months? Can you leverage that expiry to transition early?

2.  Choosing the right vehicle.

The range of EV’s in the market is growing and will continue to do so over the coming years. This will make it all the more important for businesses to access various sources to make sure they end up with electric vehicles that suit their needs (EECA’s website is a great source of advice as a starter – www.electricvehicles.govt.nz). To better understand how your vehicles are being used, you could use GPS data but if don’t have this, you should at least do some calculations based on odometer readings or fuel card data. You need to find a vehicle with the right features for your application (e.g. cargo space) and sufficient range.  Finally,

3.  Give your team a taste!

When you introduce EV’s you are introducing change and that can be tough. Get out there and test drive as many as possible. Have manufacturers provide as much information on the types of vehicles they have including technology, features and benefits. It can take people time to understand the opportunity which is why test driving is critical.  More often than not, as soon as someone drives an EV, they’ll be happy to go electric full time.

4. What about charging?

Vehicle selection is the fun part, but sorting out charging infrastructure is something else all together. The cost to put in chargers can vary massively according to the site. How much electrical supply capacity is available at your site? Are you charging slowly overnight, or fast during the day? How you answer these questions can be the difference of spending a few hundred dollars, to tens of thousands of dollars. If you allow staff to take vehicles home, you’ll need to sort out who pays the bill, not only for the power used, but potentially to install a specialised charger. And what happens when the employee finishes at the company? Do you rip it all out?

5. How do the numbers stack up?

If you are just starting your journey, there is no way around it – it’s going to cost you more upfront to buy a new EV than its fuel equivalent. But you save on operating and maintenance costs.  And you don’t have to buy vehicles outright. Leasing may be a better option.  You get access to the lower fuel cost and emissions savings without the big upfront spend.  To find out if leasing is right for you, a lease company can complete an in-depth, whole-of-life financial model, taking into consideration key components such as operating lease terms; potential break fees; FBT implications; the price saving of electricity over liquid fuel; and the cost of setting up charging infrastructure. When you do the maths, there are pluses and minuses. To make the right decision, you will need run the numbers carefully.

At the end of the day, if you are considering a transition to EV, this is a great opportunity to review your current fleet and rationalise vehicle numbers, costs and usage.

Click HERE for more information or talk to FleetPartners today about a solution that best suits your needs.