Creating a sustainable and practical plan for EV adoption.
The fastest-growing area of fleet management today is the electrification of vehicle fleets to meet emerging regulatory requirements. Most organizations have a Climate Action Plan with Greenhouse Gas and other emission reduction goals and many see the purchase of Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs) as the way forward.
Understanding the basics
The path to fleet electrification, however, requires a strong understanding and adherence to the basics of fleet management. After assisting more than a dozen organizations with their electrification journeys, I have identified these ten steps.
- Fleet inventory. A robust Fleet Management Information System (FMIS) with the ability to generate a complete fleet inventory including asset number, vehicle classification, location, total mileage, fuel usage, operating costs and capital costs is essential.
- Right-size the fleet. Before pursuing electrification, complete a utilization review. Use daily trips, mileage, hours of use and operational needs to ensure lightly used vehicles are disposed of or assigned to pools and all vehicles are suited to their primary purpose.
- Market review of EV availability. The EV market is rapidly evolving, and fleet professionals need to keep their fingers on the pulse of what is available in their local area, order timelines, grants and planned infrastructure to make the best decisions for their fleet.
- Select EV candidates. The utilization review is an opportune time to identify operational needs that can be met by alternative fuel vehicles, including EVs. Consideration should be given to asset types in each role. If no EV option exists, it may be possible to change the type of vehicle assigned or how a task is performed.
- Replacement Plan. Make a plan that replaces the right-sized fleet vehicles including the electric candidates at the optimum time. The optimum replacement point is when the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of that asset is minimized.
- Charging Plan. The introduction of EVs will fail if not fully supported by a charging plan that includes the right level and number of chargers in the right locations as well as a charge management system to ensure all fleet needs are met. This plan must consider load management and emergency needs and be coordinated with local electricity providers.
- Changes needed to the shop. Service and maintenance facilities need to be equipped with the proper tools and equipment to charge and maintain electric vehicles.
- Training needed for service technicians. Organizations should invest in technician training to ensure the unique needs of EVs are considered.
- Education of all stakeholders. All fleet users, supervisors and managers have roles to play in the operation and management of fleet assets. Change management strategies should be employed to ensure an understanding of the need to move to alternative fuels and their benefits.
- Implement the Green Fleet Plan. An Implementation Plan must consider the results of all previous steps and include a performance measurement framework to capture the results of these changes. As a minimum, costs and emission reductions should be tracked to ensure the effectiveness of the Green Fleet Plan.
By following these steps, fleet managers can help ensure that the organization’s fleet meets compliance requirements and provides efficient and effective support to operations.