A recent study by Deloitte presents an interesting picture of fleet electrification in Canada.
Noting that electrified fleets lead the way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the analysis indicates that many companies are implementing fleet electrification strategies.
According to the report, companies that adopt this approach develop a competitive advantage and position themselves to capture market share while greening their corporate image.
The commercial transportation sector accounts for 60% of road transportation greenhouse gas emissions even though commercial vehicles represent only 20% of all Canadian vehicles.
Transportation companies, including those involved in delivery, retail, telecommunications and passenger operations, recognize the need to go green.
As mentioned in the Deloitte report, electrification is not the only option as in some applications, hydrogen may be a viable solution.
The benefits of switching to alternative fuel vehicles are numerous.
The study explains that early adopters gain competitive advantages and can reduce their operating costs at the same time.
It also responds to the company’s desire to adopt better environmental practices.
Moreover, it allows companies to position themselves for the future since the good practices adopted today will reduce the impact of governmental constraints, such as the obligation to opt for light vehicles that do not use fossil fuels by 2030.
Heavy-duty vehicles will face the same requirement in 2040.
Preparing the shift
Deloitte recommends a structured approach to gradually convert the fleet to an electric approach.
It starts with a fleet analysis including vehicle types, age, maintenance and fuel costs, route details and weather conditions.
The planning of recharge structures is the second consideration.
A tool like Deloitte’s Electrified makes it easy to identify the most suitable vehicles for conversion to electric power.
This tool develops proposals by vehicle type. The shift to electric vehicles is likely to be gradual, as suitable commercial electric vehicles are introduced to the market.
The study reminds fleet managers that the use of electric commercial vehicles is a different story and completely changes the design of operations.
For example, temperature constraints that affect battery autonomy, recharging times or charging capacities will require major adjustments in transportation planning.
The report also indicates that at the time of publication, 19 commercial vehicles of various sizes were available in our market, a number that is steadily increasing.
Some major commercial transportation companies have partnered with automakers to accelerate the development of the electric vehicles they need.
With respect to charging platforms, Deloitte’s study recommends planning that will meet current needs, but will also consider future growth in the electric fleet.
The use of a third party for the installation and management of charging stations can also be considered.
The Commercial Transportation Electrification report also mentions the importance of fleet managers getting involved now.
Several subsidy programs exist with the federal and provincial governments.
No one can predict how long they will be offered.