Electric vehicle (EV) fleets have so many more advantages over internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. They’re better for the environment, cheaper to operate, less maintenance, and they showcase that your company is forward-thinking and environmentally friendly, which is fantastic for marketing purposes.
While it’s true that EVs do generally cost more to purchase up front, the true savings are in the long game and total cost of ownership.
“There is a little bit more of an upfront cost but your fuel savings within a year or so are amazing,” says Marc Beghin, a Blink reseller based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Beghin has been working with a rural municipality in his area to electrify their fleet and estimates the municipality could save up to half a million dollars per year by going electric.
Let’s take a look at where these savings come from.
Lower Fuel Costs
This is the big advantage to electrify your fleet.
As those numbers at the gas station continue to climb, this is where you will see an immediate impact on your fleet costs.
It’s hard to say exactly how much you’ll save in fuel costs, as the price of both gasoline and electricity fluctuate, but a 2020 Consumer Reports study says EV owners in every state will save money on fuel compared to ICE owners, with the national average on fuel savings being 60%.
These numbers come from studies that only look at personal vehicle use, but it’s safe to assume that the fuel savings will carry over to fleet vehicles, as well.
How much you’ll end up saving on fuel depends on how efficient your EVs are. While ICE vehicles use the miles-per-gallon measurement for fuel efficiency, EVs calculate efficiency with how many kilowatt hours (kWh) they use per 100 miles.
The lower the amount of kWh used per 100 miles of travel, the better the efficiency.
It’s safe to assume that regardless of how efficient your EVs are, they are going to be more cost-effective than even the most efficient of ICE vehicles.
While your fleet drivers will be able to roll past gas stations, they will obviously still need to fuel up, which means charging at your place of business.
This means your electricity bill is going to rise slightly, however the volatility of fuel over the years has fluctuated, but electricity has stayed steady year over year
However, you can cut down on your charging costs by charging vehicles during off-peak hours. Many municipalities have discounted rates for charging that occurs when the electricity grid is at its least busy, usually during the night, on weekends and on holidays.
Your local electric utility may also have special commercial rates for EV charging or simply schedule your charge times through the Blink Network during off peak overnight depot charging
Lower maintenance costs
EVs have fewer moving parts than ICE vehicles, and fewer moving parts means fewer opportunities for parts to break.
Add in the fact that EVs also don’t require oil and other fluid changes and this means that EVs are cheaper to maintain than ICE vehicles.
Again, there are variables at play, but according to the aforementioned Consumer Reports study, EV owners pay roughly half as much in maintenance fees compared to ICE owners.
So, you know it’s worth it to switch your fleet from ICE to EV, (sometimes referred to as “de-ICEing,” but you may still be asking yourself: “How do I electrify my fleet?”
Let’s look at how you can do this.
1. Figure out if you can make the switch completely or not.
If your company is able to, it would likely be best to switch your entire fleet to EVs all in one go. However, replacing an entire fleet may be prohibitively expensive. If that’s the case, switching from ICE to EV a few vehicles at a time may be the better option. Evaluate your fleet vehicles, an alternative solutions, review your drive cycles to make sure you are spec’ing vehicles that meet your range.
It’s important to keep in mind that EVs typically have a higher upfront cost, which is gradually offset by their lower fuel and maintenance costs in the long run.
You may also be eligible for federal and state rebates for buying EVs. (More on that below.)
2. Identify what additional equipment you need.
When switching from an ICE to an EV fleet, you will need to purchase EV chargers in addition to the EVs themselves to take full advantage of the benefits of an all-EV fleet.
In this case, additional equipment will likely mean having some Level 2 chargers installed and possibly one or more Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFCs), depending on your needs.
Blink Charging can help you identify what equipment you will need to accommodate your EV fleet and help you get set up.
Our MQ 200 charging station, for example, is designed for fleets and multi-unit locations. It comes equipped with:
- variable 12-50 amp output,
- 4G and Wi-Fi connections,
- Smart Grid technology for direct communication to local utilities,
- Plug & Charge (ISO 15118) functionality, and
- local load management for two or more chargers to share power from a single circuit.
And, you can easily manage your chargers with our accompanying Blink Fleet Portal, which features:
- Vehicle telematics integration that provides real-time info like:
- vehicle tracking,
- daily route management,
- charging status and history,
- vehicle diagnostics, and
- service schedules.
- An accompanying mobile app for drivers that provides info like:
- charging status,
- automatic data sync
3. Look for rebates, grants, and other incentives.
The United States Federal Government offers rebates of up to $7,500 for the purchase of an EV. There may also be opportunities to receive grant funding for EV charging infrastructure if you have a public component to your EV charging stations.
Individual states may have their own commercial incentives for purchasing an EV.
Switching your vehicle fleet from ICE to EVs need not be difficult. With the right amount of planning and budgeting and the right EV charging partner (we recommend Blink), making the switch can be as seamless as it is satisfying.