Form factor diversity and electrification
If your company runs fleets in India, Vietnam, Indonesia or the Philippines, chances are that many employees are using company-funded motorcycles. Easy to manage and cheap to acquire, motorcycles are still the go-to means of transportation for consumer and business travel across the region.
The diversity of form factors in APAC is often discarded by global corporates as Western car-centric models are duplicated in Asian policies. The reality however is that a fleet composed out of diverse form factors fits the Asian reality much better. As such:
- Motorcycles will bring your employees faster to their destination, as traffic jams and challenging road conditions would only slow down cars.
- Ultra-small vehicles are very popular in South-Asia, and are much more suitable to navigate in hyper-congested city traffic
- Three-wheelers have been carrying goods and people for centuries and offer the right combination of a small footprint and large load capacity
In other words, Asian fleets are much better adapted to their purpose and the number of occupants. An important achievement, as Western fleets have defaulted to sedans and SUVs, which are not always fit-for-purpose.
Fleet Managers are very well aware of the complexity of electrification; it requires employee profiling (daily kilometers, ability to install home chargers, proximity of public chargers…), investments (office chargers, home chargers) and patience (delivery delays).
Copying a Western electrification model in APAC is even more challenging, as vehicles and infrastructure are not widely available – and Chinese or Indian EV manufacturers are very often not considered. In addition, electrification is, in most APAC countries, not the right way forward as electricity is generated by burning coal or gas – BEVs are, in some countries, even more polluting than hybrid cars.
Combining potential and challenges
Instead of making the impossible and useless effort of implementing a BEV fleet in APAC in 2023, it is recommended to combine the advantage that Asia offers with realistic targets. The local market offers many options to electrify 2 or 3-wheelers, and ultra-compact electric vehicles are very cheap, readily available and extremely suitable for city traffic. They also require less kWh, which could be delivered by installing solar panels.
It's a totally different way of looking at electrification, but probably more effective, cheaper, and cleaner than copying a Western car policy.