How to transition your fleet from ICE to EV in the US
Transitioning your vehicle fleet from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles (EV) in the United States could bring long term savings to your company but what are the challenges you may face and how must you deal with them?
I was fortunate enough to find out during a panel discussion which counted on opinions from experts representing IT & Services firm HP, energy company Enel X, and EV manufacturer Tesla, all members of the EV100 global initiative of the Climate Group aimed at accelerating the global transition to EVs.
The discussion was moderated by Element Fleet Management Director of EV and Sustainability Strategy Jason Kazmer.
The Building Blocks
First of all, “transition requires transparent communication with your staff. In terms of recharging, it involves informing employees what is charging, why it is charging, and who it will impact. A strong partnership with suppliers such as OEMs, vehicle leasing and fleet management companies is needed,” says HP Head of Global Travel and Programs Tereah Otero (pictured left).
Keep in mind that you will need to manage your employee’s electricity use as opposed to gasoline use in the past. You will also need to calculate the cost of installing a recharging point and determine how much this impacts overall operational cost.
“Make sure that you organize recharging schedules appropriately, knowing when charging peak times are and making use of smart charging so that you can curb costs,” says Enel X Director of Enterprise Sales Jeff Slye.
As for Tesla, the company wants to make the transition to EV as easy and convenient as possible for users, something that may even require tapping into recharging networks outside of their own, according to Tesla Enterprise Program Sales Director Tiara Thurston.
“We need to make sure that ample coverage is on streets, always looking to give a seamless and positive experience,” says Ms. Thurston, highlighting that being able to recharge to 80% in 15 minutes today compared to 45 minutes in the past is one of the advancements helping the transition.
Travel Cost Reimbursement
As for reimbursing your employees, it is 56 cents per mile in the United States. The cost of recharger installation is also reimbursed 100% today as opposed to the past where it was partially reimbursed (e.g. 50%), according to Ms. Otero.
Reimbursement could also be calculated by kilowatt hour (kWh) used but this will vary by region. The average price of electricity per kWh in the country at year-end 2020 was 15 cents for household use and 11 cents for business use, depending on various factors though.
“You need to know how each of your chargers are performing, not only from a cost perspective but from an operational perspective. For employees recharging their vehicles at home, you will need to reimburse part of their home electricity bill, finding a non-evasive way to do this without compensating too much or too little,” says Mr. Slye (pictured left).
Despite the challenges, the future looks bright. “Processes and technology are in place and car model availability is on the rise. Range anxiety will eventually fade away, and with government incentives and rebates, more drivers will be pushing the market forward,” says Ms. Otero.
According to HP’s EV100 commitment, it calls for transitioning their global fleet of 4,700 vehicles to EV by 2030.
“Without a doubt, incentives and rebates are needed. And for us at Tesla, we are set on ramping up battery production to prepare for large scale adoption. We need to make sure that production meets the demand of the future,” says Ms. Thurston (pictured left) who now works out of Austin Texas, the location of Tesla’s next Gigafactory.
If you would like to see more talks on fleet and mobility topics in North America, visit the region's on-demand streams of the Global Fleet Conference 2021.
Top Photo (copyright: Shutterstock)