Over the past couple of years fleet electrification has been gaining in popularity with large corporations like Amazon, FedEx, PepsiCo, and UPS. In a way, large corporations are serving as a road map for smaller businesses considering transitioning to an electric fleet. However, before many businesses consider fleet electrification they have a few questions and concerns.
These include access to information, incentives for upgrading to a small electric fleet, operational planning, and infrastructure costs to name a few. We’ll take a look at why some small businesses are hesitant to electrify their fleets and recommend some best practices.
Why Some Businesses are Hesitant to Electrify Their Small Fleets
Increasing profits while lowering operating and fuel costs are some of the benefits associated with small fleet electrification. Another is reducing their impact on the environment. Tax credits, grants, and other financial incentives are helping to lower EV purchasing and infrastructure costs, making the switch to a small electric fleet more feasible, but business owners have concerns.
Vehicle availability is a common one but it is being addressed. As more manufacturers roll out electric fleet vehicles, meeting your business’s transportation needs is easier.
While one concern is easily addressed other hesitations include potential operational and financial challenges.
- Vehicle specs and performance
- Calculating charging routes
- Determining optimal power needs for EVs and the charging stations
- Engaging stakeholders – if applicable
- Planning charging schedules
- Creating a project timeline
- Managing any project delays
- Creating a disaster management strategy
- Navigating incentives, rebates, and tax credits
- Calculating infrastructure cost
- Comparing diesel fuel with electric cost
- Calculating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and break-even Return on Investment (ROI)
Navigating through the financial considerations is a primary reason small businesses shelve the idea of transitioning to electric fleets. Engaging with resources that include the utility provider and municipality can provide guidance, along with a charging partner like Apogee Charging Solutions. We can assist you through the financial and operational stages.
Did you know we have an entire feed dedicated to Fleet Electrification? We will find blogs cover the latest worldwide news, first steps to electrification, recommendations, tips, eBooks, guides, and so much more. Check out the Fleet Electrification Blog Feed here.
Fleet Electrification Best Practices
Here are some best practices to help you through the fleet electrification process.
1. Engage leadership
Engaging top leadership is crucial for a successful transition to an electric fleet. Managers and top company officials are essential throughout the planning and implementation stages. Some may even be able to provide unique insights that can help move the plan along.
2. Have a set timeline
Having a set timeline helps keep stakeholders engaged. Ensuring everyone knows some parts of the project will take several months will help keep them interested in the ongoing project. Leaving some room in the timeline also limits stress and anxiety if something goes wrong during any of the project stages.
3. Plan for uncertainties
Defining risks and planning for uncertainties at the start of the project will help reduce any hesitancy top-tier management may feel about small fleet electrification. Some of the common uncertainties include range anxiety and vehicle breakdowns. Partnering with an EV leasing company can help mitigate some of the uncertainties along with choosing electric vehicles with the ability to meet certain range expectations.
4. Understanding financial incentives
Finding and qualifying for financial incentives can be a frustrating process. Working with someone who understands the processes will go a long way toward reducing hesitancy and helping move the fleet electrification plan forward.
Our affiliated organization Incentive Rebate360 offers commercial incentive and rebate recovery services for all of North America. As the only fully turn-key incentive and rebate recovery service provider, we have the knowledge and ability to maximize your incentive and rebate returns.
5. Carefully consider range
Small fleets typically stay within city limits, so range anxiety is not always a primary concern. Most small businesses look for electric fleet vehicles with a range of around 250 miles.
6. Finding EVs that fit your timeline
Taking a slow and steady approach to finding and purchasing small fleet electric vehicles can help move the project along. While the demand for EVs is high with small businesses, carefully considering vehicle size, range, and available financial incentives can prevent or minimize any disruptions to your operations.
7. Considering starting with off-road vehicles
To limit interruptions to operations, some small businesses are choosing to electrify off-road vehicles before turning their attention to their fleets. Some examples of off-road vehicles include forklifts, ground support equipment at airports, bucket trucks for utilities and electric contractors, electric bicycles, and motorized scooters for urban food deliveries.
8. Partnering with Dealerships/OEMS/ Fleet management companies
Staying in contact with the OEM or EV dealership allows small businesses to know when an electric vehicle is available. Businesses can also test EVs to determine if the model is a good fit for their small fleets. The popularity of testing vehicles before leasing or buying is becoming a common practice as Fleet Management Companies (FMS) are seeing an increase in requests.
9. Contact the electrical provider during the project’s planning stages
Electric providers are a crucial part of small fleet electrification. Reaching out to the electrical service provider/utility in the early planning stages will give small businesses the support they need to understand the necessary infrastructure, what permits are required, and assistance creating a charging schedule that does not overload the existing grid.
10. Connect with other small businesses considering fleet electrification
Connecting with other small businesses considering electrifying their fleets is an effective way to share data, resources, and information to make planning and installation more effective and minimize disruptions to daily operations.
11. Understand TCO and Roi
Factoring all of the costs associated with small fleet electrification can highlight the benefits electric vehicles provide to businesses while also showing when stakeholders can expect to start seeing a return on the investment.
12. Use real-world data
Leveraging real-world data in the form of independent reviews, case studies, and pilot projects can help eliminate some hesitancy from upper-level management.
13. Consider bundling your EV solutions
Bundling the necessary equipment and vehicles is becoming a popular option with small businesses. The practice can save time and money. Some aspects of the project your business may want to bundle include vehicles, infrastructure management, site design, planning, financing, and implementation.
Work with Apogee Charging Solutions
To learn more about small fleet electrification best practices or to get started on your project, contact Apogee Charging Solutions today. We can help you with every step of your project, including addressing concerns upper-tier management may have about small fleet electrification, and financial incentives.