Green Fleet Vehicles: Are They Right for Your Business?

Tony Basich, Sales Director - October 3, 2019

Green Fleet Vehicles: Are They Right for Your Business?

Although to this day conventionally-powered vehicles still dominate the new sales and lease markets, there has been an undeniable surge in ‘green’ modes of transport in recent years. What started off as a trend of new hybrid vehicles from predominantly Japanese manufacturers twenty years ago has now developed into a significant market of electric vehicles – known simply as EVs.

Tesla has arguably led the wave in making EVs mainstream and desirable with the introduction of the Model S in 2012, and the more affordable Model 3 in 2017. Other manufacturers have joined in, too, with General Motors introducing the Chevy Volt for the 2013 model year, and VW with its e-Golf for 2015, to name just a few.

But while the popularity of electric propulsion is growing rapidly in the consumer market (the share of US sales that were EVs went from 1.3% in 2017 to 2.1% in 2018), does it make any sense to include these green cars in your fleet? And while electric cars are maturing nicely as we head into the new decade, is the electric van and pickup truck market established enough to make them a worthy consideration for your business? In this article, we explore this question and look at the various EVs on the market today, let's delve a little deeper...

When it comes to choosing a vehicle for your fleet, the main priority is often minimal cost and minimal fuss. While the type of vehicle you want may differ regarding body styles (depending on your business), the importance of low running costs typically remains a universal constant, as does the mileage capability of your vehicles.

It’s well known that buying or leasing an EV can be more expensive than the equivalent fossil-fuelled car. A good example is the Tesla Model 3, it's a comparatively new car in terms of electric vehicle maturity and evolution, and starts at nearly $40,000, making it arguably their most accessible car on the market today. You could get a similarly sized gas-powered sedan with a near-identical spec fairly easily for at least $5,000 less. But while the initial investment is currently higher for an EV, focusing on just that would be playing ignorant to the other costs associated with motoring and EV ownership.

One huge advantage to electric vehicles in general - potentially boosting their desirability for your fleet - is the comparatively little amount of maintenance that they require. A typical fossil-fuelled car has thousands of moving parts, many of which need regular servicing, and many of which can break or go haywire in a blink of an eye. EVs have dozens rather than thousands of moving parts and do away with things like the valves, oil pump, camshaft, and so on. This ultimately means that servicing costs are far lower, a perk for businesses regularly spending for vehicle upkeep and maintenance.

On top of that, the energy cost of electricity is lower than a comparative gallon of gas, which means, according to a University of Michigan 2018 report, the average EV costs just $485 a year to run, compared to $1,117 for a gas-powered car. This could free up a serious amount of money for your business - especially if you run a larger fleet and rack up the miles.

On the flip side, one of the biggest concerns from drivers about electric vehicles is the limited range of driving that they offer before needing a charge. This is valid concern! Even today, gas vehicles offer superior range from a tank of fuel. However, this is a deficit that is fast closing as battery technology improves, with many models now allowing you to cover several hundred miles from a single charge. With that being said, if you need your fleet to do frequent cross-country journeys, a fossil-fueled vehicle is likely to remain the best choice for some time yet.

We’ve established that electric cars can be a credible and cheaper alternative to run than a conventional model, but what if you need a more utilitarian vehicle, such as a pickup truck or a van?

Electric pickup trucks are a new development, and thus the market isn’t as mature. Ford recently revealed the F-150 Electric for the 2021 model year, and GM and Tesla have made commitments for the electric pickup sector. In fact, the Tesla Tuck reveal is set for November of 2019 and promises to WOW! If you need a pickup sooner rather than later, however, then realistically gas or diesel will be your only credible choices. You can, however, consider the 2019 Ram 1500 with its 48V mild hybrid system, or the 2020 F-150, which will be a hybrid. Whilst not quite offering the same savings as a full EV, the hybrids are almost certain to be better on gas, and thus still offer the potential to save you money.

Electric vans do exist, such as Nissan’s E-NV200, 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, and VW’s e-Crafter, but they are yet to be released to the US market. If you're interested, Road/Show By CNET compiled a list of EVERY EV on the market for 2020. It's worth a read and includes each vehicle's mile range 'ta boot!

Ultimately, while many heavier-duty models are still "in the works", if you're looking for sedans or company cars, going green is a viable option and one that could prove to be very cost-effective for your business. Considering EV technology is still evolving, it does still have its limitations when compared to traditional fossil-fueled vehicles. Consider the type of journeys your fleet will cover: if they’re mostly short and urban, an electric vehicle could be your next big money saver.

Working with Carlease

Carlease works with businesses in all stages of growth, including those exclusively looking for EVs and hybrid vehicles, and our sales team is ready and waiting to answer all of your lease and EV questions!

We know it’s an exciting prospect to grow your fleet and your business, and you want vehicles that will work just as hard as you do. Thankfully our leasing experts are well versed at helping businesses find the right vehicles to get the job done. They will work with you to come up with a manageable fleet plan and help you select vehicles to maximize your resource now, and down the line. When you’re ready, your trusted Carlease specialist is with you every step of the way. Reach out to us today!

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