Data: the key to fleet electrification

Decarbonising transport is high on the agenda. Civica’s Keith Hawker discusses how fleet managers can build a robust electric vehicle (EV) strategy with their fleet data

We all know that moving to electric vehicles will drive the green agenda. With sales of new petrol and diesel cars set to end by 2030, it’s a trend that we’ll all eventually adopt. But when is the best time to change?

Fuel prices have hit a record high this year. Despite recent energy price increases, electric vehicle charging is still significantly cheaper than using petrol and diesel. So moving to EVs is now a cost-saving that can’t be overlooked. Organisations need to make use of their data to implement a robust EV strategy that will steer their fleet to a greener, more sustainable future.

The benefits of EVs are well known. They are one of the most important factors in decarbonising transport in the UK. They incur no congestion charges and, according to the RAC, are cheaper to run, potentially leading to large savings over time. But with a higher upfront and monthly leasing cost, how can fleet managers justify the move to EVs with confidence and ensure they’ll deliver savings in the future?

Cost is one of the most important factors for all organisations. Fleet managers need to have a clear, accurate forecast on whole life vehicle costs between their existing and new electric fleet. This data is key to calculate return on investment, supporting informed decision making for the move to EVs.

Accurate forecasting requires precise tracking of fleet costs, which has long been a challenge for many fleet managers. Relying on spreadsheets and manual processes is time consuming and prone to human error. It’s even more difficult for organisations with larger fleets, especially those with multiple asset types such as cars, vans and trucks. Fleet management software calculates maintenance and repair costs for the life of the vehicle at the touch of a button. Through integration with fuel cards, bunkered fuel types or electric charging suppliers, it can capture and record liquid and electricity usage automatically and run reports easily for a clear overview of pence or KWs per mile, by vehicle or vehicle type.

With a clear understanding of both fuel and electric fleet running costs, fleet managers can adopt a phase in/phase out approach to slowly increase EV uptake based on their internal infrastructure. They can prioritise EVs for congestion zones to realise some cost-savings immediately. Better data insight allows accurate comparison and forecasting of whole life running costs, allowing fleet managers to confidently determine the most cost-effective option in the future.

By removing manual processes, fleet management system plays a crucial role in providing accurate and up-to-date data – it’s the key to benchmark fuel and EVs effectively. With better data insight, fleet managers can determine their EV strategy with confidence, decarbonising their fleet and leading their organisations to a more sustainable future.

Keith Hawker is Managing Director, Transport at Civica

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