There are lots of reasons to consider an electric vehicle – not least the ever-improving range and infrastructure, plus tax breaks and cost savings. If you lease, the advantages are even greater, as someone else deals with the depreciation and you can stay in the forefront of technological development. But what about electric light commercial vehicles (e-LCV)?
An e-LCV isn’t just simply a van with a different kind of engine; it involves a different approach in terms of vehicle charging, vehicle usage and fleet management. LeasePlan has defined this step-by-step process to help you identify whether you already have a business case for moving to e-LCVs and how to go about introducing them onto your fleet.
1. Alignment with your CSR goals and business strategy
For e-LCVs to be introduced into the fleet successfully, business alignment is key. For example, is managing the environmental impact an important pillar of your company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives? It’s easier to convince your stakeholders, such as Finance, HR and Operations, of the benefit of introducing e-LCVs when there is a clear link with the company strategy. Is your organisation working towards emissions reduction targets? Cascading the corporate targets down towards the fleet category will support your business case for e-LCVs. Since light commercial vehicles usually account for a considerable part of a fleet’s carbon footprint, introducing e-LCVs will go some way to reducing it.
2. Electric charging infrastructure
The electric charging infrastructure in business locations requires careful planning and investment. With smart charging technologies such as load balancing and vehicle-to-grid, the installation, maintenance and servicing of the charge point locations entail the necessary expertise. Although most e-LCVs will typically be charged at the business location overnight, good public infrastructure is also necessary to enable e-LCVs to be topped up whilst out on the road. Take a look at Zap Map (zap-map.com) for locations across the UK.
3. Usage and mileage profile of your LCVs
Low-mileage LCVs with urban usage are usually a good starting point for replacement by e-LCVs. With the rise of Clean Air Zones, Low Emission Zones and Ultra Low Emission Zones – business continuity could come under pressure if traditional fuels are restricted within these areas. While the range of e-LCVs is improving as new models are launched, low mileage is still a preferred factor for smooth introduction – for drivers it also lessens ‘range anxiety’ around e-LCVs.
4. Build the business case
Once suitable locations and potential vehicles have been shortlisted, the financial business case needs to be supportive. It is advisable to compare vehicles in similar segments in order to calculate the financial impact, including all relevant cost elements – ensuring you present the Whole Life Cost of the vehicles. For reasons of completeness, keep track of the non-financial elements in the business as well – such as the risk of diesel bans and the potential environmental impact.
5. Driver communication
As with all change processes the introduction of e-LCVs into the fleet requires good change management. This should include clear communication and instructions to the drivers. An e-LCV must be used and handled differently by the driver, which is why it is recommended to organise a training course introducing the new vehicle. Clear instruction on braking is advised, for example, due to EVs having different braking power. Operational procedures related to charging and maintenance also need to be communicated to drivers. Showing employees that driving an electric vehicle can actually be enjoyable will support a quick and smooth transition.
6. Monitor effects and share successes
Demonstrating the benefits of an e-LCV will help to win buy-in from drivers and stakeholders alike. Early success stories – e.g. actual range analysis, positive driver feedback about the vehicle handling or carbon footprint achievements – should be communicated towards the stakeholders in order to maintain momentum for further expanding the number of e-LCVs in your fleet. Once again, ensuring clear alignment of e-LCVs with the company strategy and setting and monitoring relevant KPIs will support a swift transition.
With over 60,000 commercial vehicles, our experience and in-depth knowledge of these specialist vehicles means we’re able to understand customer needs and provide the vehicles that match them. In-life management capabilities seek to maximise vehicle uptime, while end-of-contract management completes the full vehicle lifecycle solution that LeasePlan offers.
We firmly believe in the benefits of electric vehicles, which is why we are targeting net zero emissions for our entire fleet by 2030 – while our own employee fleet should get there by 2021.
There are many ways we intend to reach this target, including customer education and helping develop a second-hand electric vehicle market. We also recently launched an electric vehicle pilot for large companies to help them see how a switch to an electric fleet is one of the easiest ways to cut emissions and tackle climate change.
Alongside our own programmes, we are working closely with other global businesses as a founding partner of the EV100 initiative. This aims to fast-track the uptake of electric vehicles and the development of the necessary infrastructure.
Discover more on our website.