Is it time to upgrade your vehicle fleet to be electric? Doing so could help you save money long-term, enable you to take advantage of rebates, and even boost your company’s reputation. But this is a big decision, and not one you can afford to make on a whim.
So what are the most important pros and cons to focus on when making this decision?
Making Your Vehicle Fleet Electric: The Good
Let’s start by looking at the pros of converting your fleet of vehicles to electric:
- Flexibility and selection. Today’s commercial electric vehicles are plentifully available, and capable of far more feats than they were even a few years ago. You can purchase powerful electric vehicles capable of towing significant loads, and find vehicles with batteries capable of transporting cargo hundreds of miles on a single charge. No matter what your needs are, you can find suitable electric vehicles for a fair price that can do what you need them to do.
- Less maintenance. It’s true that electric vehicles are more complex internally, but they’re also more technologically advanced. That translates to fewer maintenance and repair needs; electric vehicles don’t suffer wear and tear the same way that gas-powered vehicles do, so you’re likely to run into fewer issues and require less maintenance overall.
- Lower fuel/energy costs. Switching to an electric vehicle obviously means you won’t have to pay for gas any longer, but it’s not fair to say that you eliminate this expense altogether. Instead of paying for gas, you’ll be paying for electricity, but overall, you’ll be paying less money for the energy you need to drive. Electric vehicles are typically more expensive than gas vehicles, but because of this factor, they can save you money in the long run.
- Environmental sustainability. There are some negative environmental aspects of electric vehicles, but overall, EVs are much, much better for the environment than their gas-powered counterparts. They produce fewer emissions, they run more efficiently, and there’s even evidence to suggest they could last longer. When it comes to environmental sustainability, electric vehicles are the best choice we have currently.
- Proactive compliance. Businesses are currently forced to comply with hundreds of laws and regulations related to pollution and environmental protection. In the coming years, we are likely to see an assortment of new laws and regulations forcing businesses to produce fewer emissions and operate more sustainably. Converting your fleet of vehicles to electric is a great way to practice proactive compliance, minimizing the time and money you have to spend later.
- Rebate potential. Though not available for every electric vehicle in all areas, there’s a good chance you can qualify for a rebate or special program that mitigates the cost of purchasing new electric vehicles. This can offset the upfront costs and make the conversion process more palatable for your financial team.
- Brand reputation benefits. Don’t forget about the reputational benefits to your brand. Today’s consumers and employees care about environmental sustainability issues, and disproportionately support businesses that align with those values. If you demonstrate great care for environmental sustainability, and are willing to upgrade your entire fleet of vehicles to show it, you’ll gain a competitive advantage in both hiring and selling to customers.
Making Your Vehicle Fleet Electric: The Bad
There are also some downsides:
- Upfront costs. One of the biggest pills to swallow here is the upfront cost of buying a new electric vehicle. There’s no getting around it; electric vehicles are typically more expensive than similar gas-powered vehicles. It’s a significant investment to make.
- Charging logistics. Charging logistics pose a number of small, individual challenges. For example, charging a vehicle takes considerably more time than filling up a tank of gas; even partially charging your battery with a fast-charging model still takes several minutes. And full charges can sometimes require an overnight charge. On top of that, EV chargers are more common than ever, but they’re still not as common as a typical gas station.
- Power and speed compromises. Electric engines provide ample torque, but there are some power and speed tradeoffs in play. Most electric vehicles simply aren’t as fast as the fastest gas-powered cars on the market, and EVs aren’t suitable for all loads above a certain weight threshold.
Keep in mind that every company is different. Your target audience may or may not have a penchant for caring about environmental issues. You may or may not have the cash on hand to fund the purchase of new electric vehicles. Your business may or may not benefit from rebates or special offers associated with EV purchases. You’ll need to analyze your own unique situation carefully and find the right answer for your needs.