Rental firms are scaling their electrification efforts with Electric Vehicles (EVs) making up an ever-greater proportion of their fleets. With the environmental benefits and reduced running costs, the race is on to phase out ICEs.
Pressure from legislation compounds these benefits. In many countries, incentives and mandates have been introduced to hasten the transition to electric.
For example, in California, 2020, an order was signed which requires that by 2035, all passenger vehicles sold in the state must be zero emission.
Other states are preparing for similar mandates, with some applying specifically to rental firms. In addition, consumer demand for rental firms to provide EVs is increasing.
With these factors in mind, it is no surprise that electric vehicles sales have increased dramatically and will continue to do so. It is projected that by 2030, at least 25% vehicles sold worldwide will be electric and that this figure will exceed 80% by 2050.
Despite recent increases in energy prices worldwide, the Zero Emission Transportation Agency (ZETA) have stated that electric vehicles are still cheaper to run than their gas counterparts.
The transition to electric fleets comes with several challenges that must be overcome in order to continue delivering high standards of customer experience.
EV ranges are improving but the requirement for effective charging infrastructure is ever-present. Customers cannot simply collect their vehicle and drive into the wilderness with no charging support.
In addition, it takes several hours to recharge an electric vehicle. Since vehicles must be provided to customers fully-charged, turnaround times between customers need to be factored into the equation.
An effective charging infrastructure requires a variety of charging points at locations including gas stations and other commercial facilities, as well as kerbside charging and other purpose-built facilities.
Governments around the world are investing in developing the infrastructure in order to meet zero omissions objectives.
Planning for the switch
A few things rental companies need to consider when planning for this transition are:
- How many charge points they will need
- What charging speeds will be required
- Whether to manage the charge points themselves or have a charge point operator take care of maintenance
- How to manage increased turnaround times
- Providing customers with detailed information on charge points
One possible solution to reduce turnaround time is the ZipCharge Go unit – a portable charging unit the size of a suitcase.
In business models that do not require vehicles to be brought back to a centralized location after use, this device allows employees to recharge vehicles when they do not have charging points at home.
In terms of electricity prices, using a just-in-time charging model helps optimize on costs, where vehicles are charged at times of day when electricity is cheapest.
According to McKinsey, commercial-scale batteries would allow fleet managers to purchase electricity off-peak and the stored energy could be used to recharge vehicles during peak hours.
In addition, research is being conducted in order to better understand and predict EV battery lifetimes.
An example is the work being conducted by Silver Power Systems who are building a tool for this purpose. In future, these tools will help rental firms increase their efficiency.
Are you ready for electrification? Thankfully, there is time before it will be mandatory for fleets to be fully electric.
In the meantime, planning a strategy to overcome these challenges will help you stay ahead of increasing consumer demands for EVs.