Suited for EVs

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Peter-James Gregory is an entrepreneur, car guy and retired tire industry professional with a history of driving growth and creating value in the tire and automotive sectors. You can reach him at: [email protected]. Photo Peter-James Gregory

Electric vehicles have a place… just not on every driveway.

Selecting the right tool for the job is key to obtaining the best result. In some cases, an EV can be the right tool for the job.

Large operators of last-mile delivery services use a grid system. This divides a geographical area into “grid boxes” and a vehicle is assigned to each grid box. This vehicle will only handle deliveries within the boundary of its assigned grid box. Based on volume, multiple vehicles may be assigned to the same grid box.

With a grid system, the operator can calculate the maximum potential mileage per vehicle per day, including the roundtrip travel distance between the distribution centre and the grid box, and the distance covered working within the grid box with maximum attainable deliveries. Using this data, the operator can ascertain the range requirement per vehicle and identify where EVs may be the best tools within their grid system. 

Couriers, municipalities and EVs

Let’s look at a simple outline of a large courier company. Delivery vans are parked at the base/distribution centre overnight. Vans are loaded early in the morning and depart for the first run within their assigned grid boxes. Vans return to base at midday and depart early afternoon for their second run within their assigned grid boxes. Vans return to base at the end of the day.

Within the scenario above, vans are charged overnight. A fleet administrator checks that all vans are plugged in. When vans return to base at midday, they are plugged in at the loading dock for a quick charge.

A large portion of the last mile delivery grids for the major courier companies, Canada Post and many dedicated fleet operators can be serviced by EVs without any “range anxiety”. Furthermore, as they are refuelling when parked at the base, this will save time as they do not have to visit a gas pump.

Municipalities can also use EVs in their fleets. Local bylaw officers, inspectors and maintenance crews travel daily within the boundaries of the municipality and the vehicles return to base at night. These municipal vehicles can charge overnight in a controlled and monitored environment. It is easy for the municipality to ascertain the range requirement for the various vehicles and utilize EVs where there will be no range anxiety.

Not always a substitute

There are many other examples where “range anxiety” is not an issue, so an EV can be the right tool for the job. However, there are also many cases where an EV cannot replace an ICE vehicle based on range requirements, the need for speedy refuelling and extended daily operating hours that limit the time available for charging. 

Look at how you use your personal vehicle. Look at how your business, or the business you work with, uses its company vehicles. Can EVs comfortably replace ICE vehicles in these applications? Many of you may answer yes, but many may answer no.

Blanket EV mandates are shortsighted and, in many cases, may have a negative impact on lifestyles and business operations. Instead of blanket mandates, there should be focused initiatives based on the right tool for the job. 

Selecting the right tool for the job requires choice. Mandates remove choice. Without choice, you may be forced to adapt the wrong tool for the job and bear the negative impact.


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