16 Oct 18

Three reasons why large fleets resist EVs

Cost and infrastructure worries are what’s keeping large fleets from adopting large numbers of electric vehicles (EVs). A U.S. survey by UPS and GreenBiz identifies three specific reasons. 

Courier company UPS and GreenBiz, a content provider on sustainable business development, wanted to know how higher-revenue companies with large vehicle fleets relate to EVs. 

Major barriers
The good news: they are certainly aware of and interested in the benefits of battery-electric vehicles. The bad news: there are three major barriers keeping them from adopting EVs. 

  • 55% of the companies surveyed said the main barrier to electrification of their fleets is the higher purchasing price for EVs. 
  • 44% said the main obstacle was the lack of on-site EV charging facilities. 
  • Additionally, 92% of the companies said they were just not very well equipped enough to accommodate commercial EV charging. 

To some extent, these barriers are the result of corporate inertia: less than half the respondents are working with government agencies or utilities to overcome their infrastructure issues.  

EV advantages
Meanwhile, many companies are convinced of the advantages of electric mobility.

  • 83% are motivated by concerns around sustainability and the environment to consider EVs. 
  • For 64%, lower TCO would be the top reason to go electric. Even though they are (still) more expensive to purchase, EVs are cheaper to operate and maintain.

UPS thinks a ‘tipping point’ is approaching and is itself leading the way towards an electric future. In the U.S., the couriers recently ordered 50 electric trucks (pictured) which they expect to achieve TCO parity with diesel trucks. In London, they worked with government and private-sector organisations to solve their charging needs.

Electrification suggestions
Some suggestions to other companies wanting to electrify, derived from its survey: 

  • Start small. This makes it easier to overcome challenges.
  • Consider leasing EVs, to mitigate the high initial purchasing price.
  • Some vehicles are better suited for electrification than others, based on their use, size and geographic distribution, plus the cost of and access to EV charging.

The UPS/GreenBiz survey, of 3,800 fleet decision-makers from companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenue, also showed that about 70% of the companies surveyed said they were working with OEMs and suppliers to identify the latest EV technologies and features. No less than 32% said product unavailability was a barrier to EV adoption. 

Authored by: Frank Jacobs