Lower emissions and fuel costs are the main draw.
But what happened to those downsides, and what other savings are
hidden in your fleet? Is it Time To Switch your SME to Electric Vehicles?

You already know electric vehicles (EVs) cut fuel costs and lower your business’ CO2e emissions. That isn’t (and it never has been) the barrier to adoption. But you’ll also be familiar with the arguments against EVs: cost, range, lack of charging points, time to charge. When weighing the cons against the pros, the cons have had an annoying habit of winning out. But not anymore.

So if it’s been a while since your Lancashire SME looked at its EV options, you might be surprised just how much has changed:

1. Real savings

“Lower emissions” and “reduced fuel spend” sounds great, but no SME is going to switch its fleet without knowing what that actually means in terms of £. So here’s one example of real world savings we can happily confirm as authentic – because it was our team that identified them.

In a recent report for a local general contractor, we identified that for every vehicle the SME switched to electric, they would save:

  • 2.46 tonnes of carbon equivalent each year; and
  • £1,292 per year in fuel costs

Switching the whole fleet would save 68.99 tonnes of CO2e and cut the annual fuel spend of £49,000 by an enormous £36,168 – a reduction of almost 74%.

But what about those other barriers to adoption?

2. Charging points

You can’t fail to have noticed the recent explosion in charger numbers. According to Zap-Map and at time of writing, the UK has 19,544 charging devices in 12,289 location. More than 20% of that total has been added in 2020 alone.

In Lancashire, you’ll now find chargers virtually everywhere with the exception of the Forest of Bowland. So from Bacup to Burnley to Blackpool, your fleet will never be more than a handful of miles from a recharge spot.

3. Charge speed

The availability of chargers is all well and good, but that’s not a great deal of use if the charger will take all day to do its job. There’s still a larger disparity in charging times between models. In the future, rapid charging batteries could see a full charge delivered in 10 minutes, but they’re not here yet. So how fast is the current state of the art?

Right now, best in class is 20 minutes, but that’s for a Tesla, not for your works van. The average at a rapid charge unit, of which there are a growing number, is 1 hour to reach 80% charge. Install one/several at your workplace (and yes, there’s a grant for that) and you could be at full charge within a couple of hours.

4. Range

Bizarrely, it wasn’t so long ago that some van rental companies had to supply their EVs on low loaders to avoid eating into the extremely limited range. Happily, things are improving fast. You still can’t believe the promo material (every manufacturer seems to boast a range of 150+ miles) but you can expect ranges of over 100 miles on a single charge right now, and you can expect those to double with many of the next generation vans launched or launching this year.

5. Cost

There’s no getting around it, electric vehicles cost more than their internal combustion engined equivalents. Yet prices are starting to drop. There’s a 20% grant (up to a maximum of £8,000) for vans and a smaller grant for cars. And with those hefty fuel savings, things suddenly start to look a lot more like financial sense.

6. Other benefits of EVs for Lancashire SMEs

EVs run almost silent. There’s no shudder of a diesel engine chugging to life – and certainly no cloud of nitrous oxide to accompany it. Maintenance is still required, but by removing the traditional engine there’s simply less to go wrong so servicing costs should be a little lower. And switching your fleet to electric is a great PR move, especially now as so many businesses are yet to do it. So if you do go EV, be sure to shout about it.

Savings everyone can make

EVs are becoming more viable for more SMEs every day. But if your business involves eating up the motorway miles, you may still prefer to wait for technology to catch up with your needs. Even so, there are still things you can do to lower your emissions and fuel costs.

Driver efficiency training: We all know the driver who’s heavy on the accelerator, drives at full pelt and then is heavy on the brakes. But you may not realise just how much these and other bad habits are costing you.

Even in a traditional petrol or diesel vehicle, learning to drive more efficiently can make a big difference. With one client, we identified that efficient driving could cut 13.34 tonnes of CO2e from their fleet’s annual emissions and save £7,500 per year too.

Regular efficiency maintenance: Servicing keeps your vans legal and on the road, but efficiency checks ensure they do their job for less. With a mini monthly check, we identified savings for one client of 13.34 tonnes of CO2e every year and £2,500 in fuel costs.

Apply both to your business and you could cut emissions and save thousands – meaning it’s not just EV owners who get to enjoy the savings and the good PR.

EV or not, explore the savings hidden in your fleet. Request a call from us now.

MaCaW is a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) project, an industry and academic collaboration funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and supported by Boost; Lancashire’s business growth hub.

Discover how MaCaW can benefit your business. Then talk to us about making now the time you cut your carbon footprint. Call us on 01772 893963 or join the project now.

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