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Transportation management

Electrify your vehicle fleet

Switching to an electrified fleet might save you money and cut down your emissions.
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What is an electrified fleet?

An electrified fleet is made up of electric vehicles (EVs) or zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs), two terms that are both used to describe the following types of vehicles: battery-electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles.

From cargo vans to pick-up trucks, buses to commuter cars, more and more automobile manufacturers are producing viable replacements for fossil fuel-powered vehicles. But you need more than just vehicles for a thriving EV fleet—you also need the appropriate charging infrastructure and a thorough fleet management plan.

The benefits of electrifying your fleet

Driving an EV is more energy-efficient than a gas-powered car, because EVs are more efficient at converting electricity into forward motion. The annual fuel costs for EVs can be nearly seven times less than it is for gas- or diesel-powered vehicles. EVs also generally have lower maintenance costs.

However, there are some drawbacks: EVs have high upfront costs, diminished battery performance in cold weather, and negative social and environmental impacts from the resource extraction required to make batteries.

Roadmap to electrifying your fleet

Study your fleet needs

Study your current vehicle use to help you switch to an EV fleet. Electric vehicles have different refuelling and maintenance needs than fossil fuel-powered vehicles. This means you may need to adapt your current driving routes, refuelling times and overhead cost projections to ensure a smooth transition when your EVs hit the road.

Search for opportunities to optimize your current energy use by altering your routes or redeploying vehicles. Then, with the help of research, make a list of EVs and types of charging stations that best suit your needs.

Set transition goals

For some companies, a successful transition to an EV fleet may simply mean making the switch from fossil fuel- to electricity-powered vehicles. Others might define “success” by a certain amount of money saved on fuel and maintenance. Deciding how you will quantify success will help you track your progress and bring your staff along on the journey.

Apply for incentives

There are many government incentives designed to encourage businesses and consumers to buy EVs, but as we start to see more and more EVs rolling on streets, government incentives may dry up. Canada has banned in 2021 the sale of fuel-burning new cars and light-duty trucks from 2035. Getting started on your fleet electrification plan now will allow you to take advantage of rebates before they are phased out.

Get moving

Consider installing more chargers than are immediately necessary when you buy your first EV. This will save you recurring installation costs as your EV fleet grows. Also, decide who will have access to your chargers. Your employees for their personal cars? Your customers? What about business visitors?

Finally, remember that EV ranges diminish over time. Having a fleet management plan that accounts for older EVs by assigning them to shorter routes will help you get the most out of your fleet. Consider as well what you’ll do when cold weather diminishes the battery performance and lowers the driving range—an unavoidable reality in Canadian winters.

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