Think an electric vehicle (EV) fleet might be right for your organization? Good timing—there are many perks for those going this route. However, not all paths are the same. Here are some baseline tips for those embarking on their EV journey.
Know the EV basics.
PHEV, BEV, FCEV—these abbreviations are often overwhelming for the EV novice. Gaining a base level of knowledge will help you sort through all the offerings. To start, know what types of electric vehicles are available in your area. Here’s a good primer on electric vehicle variations.
Schedule a test drive of an electric vehicle to get used to its different features and functions. If possible, do the same with some of your core drivers as this can help gauge interest and build excitement for an EV transition.
Discover the benefits for your fleet.
EVs have many potential benefits for your fleet. For example, they could reduce your operating costs through lower fuel and maintenance expenses. Gasoline prices are impacted by many market factors and often fluctuate. As a result, not relying on gas price changes may make budgeting simpler. Contributing to the reduction in greenhouse gases and air pollution also puts your company in a positive light and may align with any sustainability initiatives already in place.
Apply your knowledge to your unique fleet applications.
What’s the purpose of your fleet? To respond to service calls, travel long term to a project site, manage a sales territory or another purpose? The answer to this question will dictate the EV options for your fleet. For instance, if your drivers have a fixed destination then there is a variety of known factors to consider, including average kilometers driven, fuel consumption, driving routes and more. With these answers, you can decide what vehicle range you need. If there’s access to charging stations throughout their route, a full BEV might be a good option. If they’re in a charging station dead zone, maybe a conventional or plug-in hybrid is the better choice.
Speak with your fleet management company to pair your fleet application with the most advantageous EV options.
Don’t rely on incentives but take advantage of them when possible.
Currently, the federal government and certain provinces in Canada offer rebates for EV purchases. Yet, they are likely to change with time, budget and transitioning government administrations. If the following, or other, incentives are available when purchasing vehicles, jump at the chance to take advantage of them. However, don’t plan on these discounts being available forever.
The federal government’s Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program awards up to $5,000 in rebates for each purchase. In British Columbia, the Point of Sales Incentive Program offers up to $5,000 in rebates for BEV, PHEV and FCEV purchases. Ontario ended its incentive program in September 2018. And Quebec is currently offering residential and workplace charging rebates.
As mentioned previously, these programs are subject to change. Check out an updated list of incentive programs at Electric Mobility Canada.
Understand EV maintenance needs.
No more oil changes or replacing fuel filters—electric motors have fewer parts and minimal maintenance. Some believe these vehicles should receive servicing in the same intervals as an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. But it depends on the EV, so consult an expert and develop the best maintenance schedule for your fleet.
Protect the battery by informing drivers of charging best practices. For example, not charging the battery fully (some manufacturers say that 80% is optimal), not leaving the battery at zero for extended periods and avoiding subzero temps can extend its life.
Two honorable EV prep mentions are devising a cold weather plan and educating drivers on how to operate and care for their electric vehicles. If sustainability or getting a head start on the EV trend is important to your organization, get informed and ask lots of questions. This will bring you closer to an EV fleet.