Electric Vehicles

'Electrify' Your Fleet

July 2012, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

It’s the hottest thing since front-wheel-drive. “Going green” has fleet managers in all corners of the industry scrambling to figure out how to reduce companies’ carbon footprint and fossil fuel use, while, at the same time, making certain that the fleet mission is accomplished. Resistance, particularly from drivers, makes going green a challenge, but shareholders and CEOs often have made environmental initiatives a company-wide priority that must meet pre-determined benchmarks.

One solution to the green challenge lies in electric vehicles (EVs), but many fleet managers have difficulty envisioning an application for these units. However, with a little creativity, fleets of all types can find ways to incorporate EVs.

All About the Mission
Ground zero for all fleets is finding vehicles that can accomplish the mission safely and efficiently. It’s not unlike staffing. Human Resources are given a position to fill, the job has certain educational and experience requirements, and candidates are judged on how well their backgrounds meet those requirements. The company wouldn’t likely fill a position in accounting with an engineer, or a plant manager opening with a salesperson.

The process is the same for fleets. Vehicles have a mission and a job to do, and the fleet manager reviews the “resume” of each vehicle and determines the best fit.

As EVs have been introduced into the marketplace, finding applications for their use in fleets has been, to say the least, a challenge. Occasionally, it is a matter of a fleet manager dismissing EVs as not fitting any of his or her existing fleet applications, e.g. sales, service, or marketing.

Existing fleet usage is generally not a good application for electric vehicles, for any number of reasons:

Range. Most electrics have limited range when compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles — less than 100 miles, give or take. For fleet vehicles that accumulate 20,000 miles per year or more, this can certainly be a drawback.

Lack of infrastructure. Drivers have confidence that wherever they are, if they need gasoline, they can find it quickly. They don’t have that same confidence with EVs; charging stations are only now being installed for public use. Some areas have many, some none at all.

Size. Electric vehicles are necessarily small — compact or subcompact — with limited cargo and passenger space.

When fleet managers are trying to match EVs with their overall fleet mission, such reasoning makes perfect sense. There are (or can be), however, applications for business use that more creative-minded fleet managers will consider.

Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.



Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Grants & Subsidies

Alternative Fueling Station Locator

Alternative Fueling Station Locator

Find your closest station or plan a route. Locate biodiesel, electric, ethanol, hydrogen, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquified natural gas (LNG), and propane across America.

Start Your Search