Jeff Hartley, President of Foss National Leasing and LeasePlan Canada shares a big picture view of some key pros and cons around operating EVs.

In 2017 electric vehicle sales in Canada increased by 68%. This wave of new vehicles is indeed coming, and sales will only continue to increase. The challenge fleet managers face is knowing whether or not EVs are a good fit for their fleet. For all of their benefits, electric vehicles still have some drawbacks.

 

PROS OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Reduce Fuel and Maintenance Costs

New research published in the Journal of Applied Energy found that the total cost of ownership of EVs is lower than internal combustion engines due to EVs having fewer moving parts. In addition, electric vehicles don’t need oil changes and brakes have a longer lifespan because their regenerative braking results in less wear and tear.

 

Demonstrate Sustainability Commitment

 By deploying electric vehicles, companies differentiate through their commitment to being eco-focused. Today’s customers are more aware of environmental issues, giving environmentally pro-active businesses a competitive advantage, helping attract more buyers.

 

Charge Up at Work or at Home

Although public charging infrastructure is currently sparse, there are still other great options for charging EVs. Fleet drivers can install a home charging station and charge the vehicle overnight. BC, Quebec, and Ontario all offer financial incentives for the installation of a residential charging station. In addition, businesses are starting to realize the benefits of installing workplace charging systems. Doing so can help attract and retain employees, and is another opportunity to display a company’s sustainability credentials.

 

Driver Safety

There’s still some debate around the safety of electric vehicles, compared to conventional gasoline vehicles. The good news is, advancements in battery technology mean the incidence of batteries catching fire is now a very rare occurrence. And in the event of collision, batteries automatically cut off, ensuring driver safety.

 

Financial Incentives

Drivers in BC, Ontario, and Quebec have access to EV incentives that can significantly lower the costs of EV acquisition. Incentives can save EV drivers thousands of dollars off the cost of a new electric vehices. Some provinces offer other incentives for EV adoption including free high occupancy vehicle lane travel.

 

CONS OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES

 

Higher Purchase Cost

New electric vehicles are generally priced between $30,000 and $45,000, while new gasoline vehicles start as low as $12,000. However, depending on which province the fleet operates in, financial incentives may help offset the initial purchase price.

Public Charging Infrastructure is not Widespread

There are currently just over 4,500 electric vehicle public charging stations in Canada. In contrast, there are around 12,000 gasoline stations. So EV charging stations have a ways to go before they catch up. However, a new plant that has the capacity to manufacture 60,000 charging stations a year has just opened in Markham Ontario. So consumers can look forward to more public charging stations appearing in the next few years.

 

Range Limits

There are a variety of electric vehicles with different driving ranges, some as low as 100km. In addition, all EV ranges are reduced during cold weather. So depending on the routes, some EVs will not be suitable. Generally, if more range is required, the vehicle’s price increases. For example, the Chevy Volt has a range of 383 km, but comes with a retail price tag of around $43,000.

 

Longer Charging Time

Charging electric vehicle can take up to 12 hours. While this may work fine if vehicles can be charged overnight, it can cause problems if a charge is needed in a pinch. One solution is to locate, or install a DC fast charging station, which can provide close to a full charge in about 30 minutes.

 

Electric vehicle technology continues to evolve and should be monitored by progressive fleet managers. Consider employing a small number of EVs into the fleet and assess how the technology works for the unique operating situation. This builds familiarity with the technology for the fleet manager and drivers alike. Develop company protocols associated with recharging infrastructure, costs, reimbursement and other associated issues. In understanding the advantages and disadvantages of this technology, fleets can plan smarter, do what’s best for the company and even save some money in the process. For more information: Click Here to access Foss National Leasings White Paper on EV fleet adoption

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