5 Things to Know Before Flipping Your Fleet’s Switch

5 Things to Know Before Flipping Your Fleet’s Switch

With electric vehicle sales becoming more popular than ever, companies and fleet managers are increasingly curious about what an all-electric fleet could offer their business. We did a little digging among national sources to learn more about things that purchasers should be aware of before making the transition to electric vehicles.


Your Electric Company Can Be a Partner

In a guide called “Preparing to Plug in Your Fleet” by the Edison Electric Institute, a D.C.-based electric company association, the organization described that electric companies throughout the country “stand ready to partner with you” to support your fleet electrification goals. Representatives at your electric provider can help advise on things like infrastructure upgrades you may need, incentives that you might qualify for, and even recommendations for the best ways to charge your vehicles (more on that in the next section). Buyers are advised to begin this process early for the best results.

“Early engagement with electric companies will help customers achieve their fleet electrification goals efficiently and cost-effectively by better understanding the capabilities, roles, and responsibilities of each project partner,” the guide’s authors said.


How You Charge Affects Your Bill

The Edison Electric Institute described various electric vehicle charging scenarios that add up to very different electric bills – even for the same cars driven the same amount. The simplest way to surmise this is with the following examples:

  • Scenario 1, the four trucks charge concurrently for two hours at a power level of 150 kW each, resulting in a peak power demand of 600 kW.
  • Scenario 2, the four trucks charge concurrently for 6 hours at a power level of 50 kW each, resulting in a peak power demand of 200 kW.
  • The customer in Scenario 1 pays a monthly electric bill of $8,905 for an effective electric rate of $0.37 per kWh.
  • The customer in Scenario 2 pays a monthly electric bill of $4,105 for an effective electric rate of $0.17 per kWh.

So, it’s important to know that your company’s charging habits will significantly impact your utility billing, in some cases by double.


Maintenance Costs May Be Cheaper

Maintenance costs on an electric vehicle are generally regarded as cheaper than fuel-powered vehicles. Both vehicles will still need regular things like brakes, tires, and other miscellaneous repairs, but electric vehicles have less need for engine maintenance and never need things like an oil change.

As an example, Car and Driver conducted a maintenance comparison between electric and fuel versions of the same types of cars – in this case, the Hyundai Kona and Kona Electric, and the Mini Cooper Hardtop two-door and Mini Electric. Their findings on maintenance costs were as follows:

  • Mini: $0.0853 per mile / $3,839 for 45,000 miles
  • Mini Electric: $0.066 per mile / $2,970
  • Hyundai Kona: $0.0909 per mile / $4,091
  • Hyundai Kona Electric: $0.066 per mile / $2,970


Initial Costs Are Higher, But Total Costs Are Similar

The initial costs when purchasing electric vehicles are likely to be higher than the initial purchase costs of fuel-powered vehicles. But when you begin to consider the total cost of ownership over either vehicle’s lifetime, the fuel savings on electric vehicles can offset the initial purchase costs considerably.

When evaluated conservatively, total costs of ownership are almost balanced. If incentives were maximized however, electric vehicles have a sporting chance to be cheaper than fuel-powered over their lifetime.

The following chart from the Edison Electric Institute provides a great overview:

Source: Edison Electric Institute


Battery Lifetimes and Warranties Vary

There are several overly cited stats out there that indicate electric vehicle batteries can last well over 200,000 miles, but those figures may depend on how well the battery is treated over its lifetime. Instead, it’s better to focus on available warranties.

According to CarFax, most automakers offer warranties for at least eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Different manufacturers have varying stipulations in their warranties that should be carefully noted. Some only offer warranties against total failure, while others will replace the battery if it falls to a certain percentage of its total capacity.

CarFax authors said, “If it’s been properly cared for, an electric vehicle’s battery pack can easily be expected to last for 100,000 miles, and perhaps many more, before its range becomes seriously restricted.”


Lots to Think About

There’s definitely a lot to think about before making any big changes. But in many cases, electric vehicles could very well save your company a lot of money and help you generate fewer carbon emissions. Start by making your evaluations today to determine if electric vehicles are the right option for your business.

Category Features, IT & Tech