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Going green to stay clear of the red

Date: 09 July 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

New business wins thanks to a greener reputation are one of the ways companies could benefit from adopting EVs, it has been said. Sean Keywood reports.

Businesses that start integrating electric vehicles (EVs) into their fleets could win increased favour with clients thanks to changing attitudes towards the environment.

That is according to leasing company Leaseplan, which has published new advice about the best path to adoption.

The company is a founder member of EV100, a global initiative that aims to accelerate the adoption of EVs and make electric transport the 'new normal' by 2030.

According to Leaseplan's head of consultancy and customer data services Matthew Walters, higher awareness of environmental issues means going green makes increasing business sense.

"It is becoming increasingly important for business owners to be mindful of changing attitudes towards the environment," he said. "Showing willing and change has the potential to have your business viewed more favourably by potential clients, which is always good for the bottom line. 

"After all, many will be looking to work with or buy from organisations that share the same values as them."

Walters said that businesses need to be championing changes that contribute to a greener society, as the Climate Change Act recommended that businesses be held partially responsible for ensuring the UK is able to reduce its carbon levels by 80% before 2050. 

He added: "To do this, businesses will need to, if they haven't started already, integrate sustainability plans company-wide to begin futureproofing their fleets."

Walters said that while putting widespread electrification into place might seem a little overwhelming for businesses, taking small measured steps, such as changing a select number of vehicles each year, would help to ensure a smooth transition.

He said firms could start by providing EVs to senior managers, or by switching shared vehicles to ease drivers into the change, as well as including EVs in their car policy. According to Walters, it is important for fleet managers to assess whether the EVs currently on the market are a viable option for all their drivers.

He said: "It is vital to research the individual needs of the drivers, looking at current routes and driving activity to ensure the switch doesn't impact your business and its services. 

"There are companies such as Geotab that use in-vehicle data to study driver behaviours in forensic detail. For example, this data can identify new routes that incorporate charging points, and even work out if the average mileage will be possible with current range constrictions. 

"Using this data will allow you to identify which vehicles can realistically be changed for an EV.

"While it may not be appropriate for all your vehicles, with the development of new technology this won't always be the case, so it is worth reviewing this every few years if you can."

Walters said that while EVs are still more expensive to purchase than conventionally fuelled cars, longer-term costs make them more appealing, with savings not only on fuel, but also on tax and servicing.

Other factors that Walters said fleets should consider include the improving driving range of EVs, a potential increase in their availability due to pressure on manufacturers from government policies, and the pending widespread adoption of clean air zone charges, from which EVs would be exempt.

He did however caution that while UK fleets should no longer need to feel hindered by a lack of public charge points, journeys would still need to be planned ahead of time to allow access to them if necessary.

He added: "While the number of locations with charging points across the UK has continued to rise, there are several different providers running public charging schemes - all of which require registration. 

"This means you may have to sign up with more than one provider to pay when you charge.

"In addition, if you are providing your drivers with EVs, you will also need to consider home charging points. There are government grants available of up to £500 for these, meaning setting one up at the office or depot is affordable."



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