Vehicle fleet operators have been warned that electric vehicles will be a “very important” part of their business in the future, and that they need to be making sure they are up to speed on the technology, according to charging point specialist Chargemaster.

“We’re seeing it already with fleets – it’s a very important part of the business going forward and we think fleets need to take this very seriously as a lot are ideally placed with their back-to-base-type schedules,” chief operating office Simon Daukes told BusinessCar.

Daukes said the Government has “got to commit” to low-carbon cars. “The car market has got behind it so you know it’s definitely going to happen – it’s a positive business direction, it’s a positive ecological decision and if we don’t go in this direction then the Government is going to be fined over its air quality,” said Daukes. “That means it’s definitely 100% going to happen, the debate is over.”

Chargemaster, set up by David Martell who founded Trafficmaster, claims to be the clear market leader in terms of charging-point installation, with 320 orders in the second half of 2010, around 100 per month in the first two months of 2011 and “a couple of hundred” in March. Partners include Asda, Cambridge, Oxford and Milton Keynes city councils, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Shell and NCP.

Regarding fleet installations, Daukes said firms are looking for very sophisticated back-end reporting. “We believe what we have got now is completely scalable but we welcome new challenges because we’re getting over them quicker than anybody else,” he said. “We like a high bar because fewer people can get over it.”

Daukes recommended that fleets talk to a supplier early on, rather than thinking they know how they would want a charging station to be installed, as the cost difference of various options can be “utterly dramatic”.

“We’re happy to talk and advise. We’ve got a responsibility to behave in a market-leading way and that requires a fair bit of education.”

Follow BusinessCar on TWITTER