The EV Journey – Managing Change and Setting Expectations
By Sara Sweeney
May 2, 2022
As a fleet professional, you may be under pressure to create an EV implementation strategy whether for meeting government mandates or achieving corporate ESG goals. For those who have begun, the realization soon sets in that the journey to electrification is not a straight and easy one. There are detours, delays and objections along the way. And all the while, management is asking “Are we there yet?”
Even when your plan is in place, you can get pushback from different areas of the organization that you hadn’t even considered. Yet, once voiced, you may realize that the resistance stems from valid stakeholder concerns. How do you cover all of the bases and get everyone onboard with the inevitable change?
To start, communication is key, and it must be purposeful and well thought out. There’s a lot to cover: new technology, implementation and the long term impact of so much change. Beginning the conversation with a survey can provide the information needed to assess your starting point, identify your true stakeholders before they contact you, and start the process of communicating goals to your full organization. And, consider this: at the same time, it is an opportunity to promote the coolness of potentially being chosen as a company early adopter—akin to having the latest and greatest new phone. Promote being chosen as a privilege.
But that is the fun stuff. The more difficult part is addressing the pushback. And the best way to do that is to acknowledge upfront that at times this road will be bumpy. Many areas of the organization must not only be open to accepting change but also to creating and participating in that change. Some of the considerations that may impact various departments in your organization will be:
- The types of vehicles available to suit your needs – You still need the right vehicle for the job. Be certain that your EV goals align with your corporate goals. This will involve discussions with your fleet management company or your OEM.
- Range anxiety and charger infrastructure – This is where your initial research will help. If your survey included daily usage and driver home locations, that’s a great start. Don’t forget that your telematics program can also guide you!
- Maintenance locations – As part of your infrastructure development, while EVs require less regular maintenance, that does not mean “none”. This part of the infrastructure equation is still a work in progress and requires inclusion in your plan.
- Extreme weather conditions – Part of your driver training and expectations should include the realization that your program needs to allow for the impact of extreme heat and cold on electric vehicle batteries.
- The local power grids – Will your future needs be met by your current power systems?
- Update your fleet policy – There will be aspects to consider that differ from your ICE vehicle policies: who is eligible for an EV, how does reimbursement work and what are the driver’s responsibilities? You may need to initially have several phases of EV adopters. And don’t forget to update training requirements!
This change is coming and you can join the movement or be left behind. Creating the right roadmap for your organization is vital. If you do it correctly, you will be inviting many points of view to participate in planning and implementation. While at times, it may feel like a lot of “cooks in the kitchen”, in the end, this inclusive approach will help you avoid bumps, wrong turns, dead ends or wasted resources in your journey.
For more details on getting started with a solid strategy, download the Wheels Donlen Change Management Guide.