Dynamon’s software shows you can run EVs for very high mileages, and save a lot of money (and CO2) in the process. So don’t treat them as an interesting oddity. Work them just as hard as the rest of your fleet, says Head of Product Dr Chris Durrant.
Are you treating EVs with kid gloves? When you put one on your fleet, especially an electric commercial vehicle, does it get assigned the short routes, easy roles, light duties? Pootling round an urban route rather than heading off up the motorway? Perhaps because you’re not entirely certain it will do the job you need it to, in terms of range, cost and charging times?
Well, it’s time for some tough love, because fleets transitioning to electric and using our suite of software covering testing, reporting, modelling and analysis, have found they can be far tougher on EVs than they currently are. And those EVs will take it, and give those businesses plenty back in return.
We’ve seen instances of commercial EVs easily managing up to 80,000 miles a year. When that happens, those fleets are getting incredible returns on investment. It makes sense too: the cap ex costs of these vehicles are higher. So making them do more means you recoup that outlay faster.
That’s because one of the clear advantages of electric is that it reduces your fuel costs – particularly if you charge at home, work or in a depot. There’s also a noticeable drop in service, maintenance and repair (SMR) spend, which also equates to less time off the road as well. So with that in mind, it makes no sense to limit the mileage of EVs. Every mile driven is money saved, so work them hard. Really hard.
It is possible. A combination of range anxiety and reticence to push new technology to the limit has often meant that businesses get electric commercial vehicles on board and tip-toe into the electric future, rather than striding.
But we’ve seen lots of instances where fleets which are more ambitious with electric vans reap what they sow. For one fleet we work with, we modelled the charging infrastructure needed for 50,000 miles a year, returning regularly each day to the depot to pick up goods.
The vans would charge fully overnight, and then get ‘flash and dash’ charges while stocking up for their next run. They easily managed the daily routes for 50,000 annual miles, and saved more than £5,000 per van a year in fuel.
The infrastructure costs were slight too – modelling showed they only needed 22kW chargers to perform their role – and SMR costs fell at the same time as well. That fleet is now confident of putting more of its drivers in electric vehicles, and is saving hundreds of thousands of pounds a year on operational costs, and massively reducing emissions too. So could you?
Alongside the tactical issues, there are strategic ones to consider for a more aggressive EV adoption policy. There’s the question of supply, for example. At the moment, supply of electric commercial vans isn’t plentiful but you can get hold of them. So when you do, use them as much as possible and learn as much as you can, because there are major benefits to doing this.
Supply is likely to increase over the next few years. When it does, you’ll have done the trials, done the tough bit in understanding what you can and can’t do, and so can take advantage of electrifying lots of your fleet, confident in the knowledge it will work, while others aren’t able to progress in quite the same way.
The problem they will find is that by the end of the decade and the early part of the next one, when they’ve accrued enough knowledge and experience to start investing heavily in electric, they’ll be doing it at a time when everybody else is, as the ban on new petrol and diesel looms. That means major competition for stock. And lots of buyers all angling for the same product usually ends in one way: higher prices.
Then there’s the image of your business. Running EVs now gets you noticed. People see that you’re serious about reducing emissions and helping the environment. It’s a great win for your brand. But that effect will lessen as more EVs hit the market, and it will be harder to stand out from the crowd.
So now is the time to push EVs hard, not just prod a bit. As our modelling, simulation and analysis can prove, the returns are there now. You just need the ambition.