SMALL fleets considering going electric are usually preoccupied with the front end issues: reconciling higher leasing rentals against lower whole life costs; assessing vehicle range and driver suitability; considering home charging and so on.
But, writes Steve Thornton, Commercial Director of fleet support company i247 Group, it’s also important to consider the in-life support electric vehicles (EVs) require. Because they are different to what many managers of SME fleets may be used to with their petrol and diesel company vehicles.
While the vehicles may require less maintenance – there are fewer moving parts after all – they also require specialist servicing by EV trained mechanics as well as specialist equipment to handle the high voltage batteries.
For example, there may be the requirement to attend to the air conditioning system: this would require the vehicle to be de-powered and then fully recharged which demands specialist service bays and equipment.
The same is true of tyre replacement. It’s not just a case of popping down to the local fastfit for a Formula 1 style pitstop. It’s rather more complex as EV tyres are actually specialist items. They have been specifically designed to suit the running characteristics of an electric car.
Up to now, this has not been too much of an issue, but as more fleets turn to EVs for their reduced running costs and driver benefit in kind tax advantages – rather than being the preserve of first movers and EV evangelists – vehicle mileages will increase and the pressures of demand will change too.
So understanding these potential issues will become a critical factor for small fleets managing a variety of EVs.
Fitting incorrect tyres for electric cars has a range of impacts. These can include increased wear, greater tyre noise (an issue magnified when the car is so silent in operation), and reduced battery range thanks to inferior dynamic performance.
None of this is desirable and will likely impact on the total cost of ownership proposition, too.
Maintaining vehicle uptime is a critical aspect for any fleet, but magnified for a smaller fleet – planning and understanding how you will manage your electric car fleet, and understanding how different it may be from traditional combustion company cars, will be essential in the future. In fact, as fleets move increasingly to EVs, it’s become essential now.
i247 Group is a specialist company helping fleets and leasing companies with a complex in-life fleet support function, from SMR to tyre management. You can read more on the subject on Steve Thornton’s LinkedIn page in a feature entitled: Keep on running… “When it comes to EV tyres you want to be more like Mo”