Accelerating the Electrification of Commercial Fleets

Autosphere » Fleet » Accelerating the Electrification of Commercial Fleets
Charlotte Argue is a specialist in sustainable mobility at Geotab. Photo Geotab

In announcing its incentive program for commercial electric vehicles, the Government of Canada has removed a barrier to the acquisition of such equipment by transportation and service fleets.

This federal financial assistance program offers up to $200,000 to companies that want to acquire or lease medium or heavy-duty electric trucks.

To explain the impact of this announcement, effective July 11, Autosphere.ca had the opportunity to speak with an expert, Charlotte Argue, Senior Director of Sustainable Mobility at Geotab.

“The cost of purchase is still a barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles in commercial applications,” she says. “By establishing this program, the Canadian government is giving a boost to fleet managers who want to go green. Right now, the purchase price of an electric commercial vehicle is higher than that of its combustion equivalent. When the fleet manager analyzes the total cost of ownership (TCO) or return on investment (ROI), this price difference is a barrier. In that sense, the federal program will make a big difference, but other programs would be welcome.”

Argue explains that both provincial and federal governments are also learning about transportation electrification, as are fleet managers.

Availability of electric trucks

When asked about the availability of medium and heavy-duty electric trucks for businesses and public corporations, Ms. Argue points out that Canada is favoured by the presence, on its territory, of manufacturers specialized in electric vehicles in this category. “We have leaders in Canada, and in addition, we are seeing a sharp increase in investment by the large traditional manufacturers in commercial electric vehicle production. If production ramps up, we’re seeing market demand go even faster than we envisioned.”

Geotab is a company specialized in the management of data obtained by telematics tools, allowing fleet managers to measure, among other things, the use of each of their vehicles in order to optimize fleets. It has several projects with companies that are moving towards practices with less environmental impact.

“What’s interesting to see right now is that many fleet managers who have introduced electric cars are able to see the benefits and now want to expand the experience to heavy-duty vehicles. Of course, this is a complex transition and we can help them by sharing solutions that have been implemented in other fleets. Fleets do not start from the same point and are not homogeneous,” adds the expert. “We can work with managers to identify the vehicles that are most likely to be gradually replaced by their electric equivalents. Many companies are ready and just waiting for the availability of electric commercial vehicles.”


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