Fleets’ behaviour shift for EVs is limited, says Alphabet
Fleets adopting plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles are using them for the same mileage and length of term as petrol or diesel models, showing they aren’t requiring the change of usage the market once expected, according to Alphabet.
Speaking at the Oxford EV Summit this week, Kit Wisdom, head of operational services, said the company now had 10,000 electric and hybrid vehicles on its fleet, comprising around 8% of its portfolio. An 11% share of deliveries in May showed this was rising, reflecting a shifting mindset towards the technology, he added.
Since it launched its EV solution, AlphaElectric, in 2013, the company has noticed most (89%) fleets contract hire their ULEVs, with two-to-four-year terms enabling them to stay up to date with the latest developments in vehicle and battery technology. Plug-ins are also 8% more likely to take a maintenance package than a petrol or diesel vehicle, he said.
Meanwhile, mileage and length of contracts for plug-ins are consistent with petrol or diesel vehicles, Wisdom explained, while Alphabet’s ‘bullish’ predictions of residual values when AlphaElectric launched had proved to be accurate. The company’s focus has shifted more towards showing where vehicles can fit in to fleets’ operations, which journeys can be replaced, and the infrastructure needed to support it, now aided by analysing information from in-vehicle data-loggers.
“It is a little recognised fact that the company car market has really propelled the take-up of EVs and PHEVs in the UK. The corporate market has significantly outperformed retail in terms of fuelling EV adoption thanks to the Benefit-in-Kind tax framework,” he said.
But, he added, the sector faces challenges to adoption including the 2% tax band for electric vehicles not coming in until April 2020, and a lack of mileage rates for electricity which makes it harder for fleets to make the numbers work for fleets.
“Every fleet decision maker is looking to achieve efficiencies, reduce expenditure, improve safety and at the same time increase the number of electrified vehicles on their fleets. But at the moment it is hard to make the numbers stack up for customers to do both cost-saving initiatives and bring more hybrids and EVs into fleets.
“To succeed, EVs require practical governmental support via company car taxation, vehicle grants and charging infrastructure investment to accelerate towards mass adoption. Some fleets have really taken the initiative on electrified vehicles but still much more could be done and needs to be done to make it easier and remove the barriers. There are big opportunities for small changes that could make a significant difference.”