Europe is plugging into change: Fleet managers should get ready

The Business of Charging |


As the rest of the world ponders what an electric future might look like for vehicles one day, Europe is already racing full-speed ahead with change. The major European automakers have committed to phasing out diesel and petrol vehicles by 2030. As a result, electric car models are set to triple this year, with a whopping 214 models on offer. And in the UK, that 2030 target isn’t just an ambitious goal – it’s government policy. While the average consumer will likely adapt to this transition gradually, fleet managers can’t afford to wait. They have a lot to figure out right now.

Just like the broadcasting industry’s wild dash to digital compliance during the great analogue shutdown of the early 2000s, today’s manufacturers and fleet managers are working hard to embrace the new electric world. In the long term, this will be a win-win situation for our planet, society and the auto industry. It sets out a path for improved sustainability and lower carbon emissions. And it will ultimately improve total cost of ownership (TCO) for fleet managers. After all, a fleet of electric vans or cars can save up to 25% in upkeep and repair costs alone.

Undoubtedly, fleet managers have a lot to gain. But they also have many questions, like ‘How will my drivers charge their vehicles?’, ‘How will I track and control costs?’, ‘Should I install my own charging stations?’, ‘If so, how many, and where?’, ‘And what about public stations?’

On the 18th of March, specialists from our ChargePoint Europe team got together to explore these topics in a one-hour webinar, ‘Fuelling Fleets in an Electric World – at home, on the road, and at the depot’. You can watch the full webinar here. For a brief summary of what was discussed, keep reading.


Governments are driving change

Although the European Union hasn’t set new directives to ban internal-combustion engines yet, the debate is heating up, with some calls for emission-free vehicles by 2025. For the time being, incentives for electrification are happening at the country level.

The UK’s policy agenda is in full swing, opting for a carrot-and-stick approach. The government is staunchly committed to ending the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, incentivising EVs through attractive tax breaks and grants. Clean-air zones and low-emission zones are also multiplying, and many existing grants and incentives will expire. The combination of these factors is accelerating manufacturer plans to electrify their vehicles.

Fleet managers, here’s how to prepare

For a successful EV transition you’re going to need a sound, well-thought-out, customised strategy. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be complicated. On the contrary, you’ve got plenty of opportunities. Instead of thinking in terms of individual vehicles and charging stations, tap into the benefits of a complete EV ecosystem with ChargePoint, which offers a smooth, cost-efficient transition to the new EV world.

At ChargePoint, we provide a full range of tools to administer personalised access to drivers, measure and manage consumption, track costs, minimise downtime and reduce TCO. We believe there is no one size fits all solution: a reliable and effective EV strategy must be well adapted to the specific needs of your fleet.

The take-home fleet approach

For example, some of your employees with company cars might be better off charging at the office or on the road during a long journey. But for drivers who move around all day, it could be more cost-effective to install a charging station at their home. In this scenario, ChargePoint can ensure reliable home installation and let you manage driver access, track their usage, and attribute their expenses to the proper cost centre from a simple dashboard.


Service and delivery fleet management

Service and delivery vehicles require a different approach. Before installing charging stations at your offices or depots, conduct a thorough audit and feasibility analysis to design a scalable solution. Then, choose the optimal charging technology for your needs and consider a power-management solution to control energy costs. Once you’re up and running, you’ll want to benefit from advanced digital features, such as access control, billing, waitlist, organisation and reporting.

You’ll also want a modular and customisable solution. The great thing about our end-to-end solution is our ability to easily integrate with your existing systems, like telematics to measure vehicle efficiency and ensure vehicles are charged when they need to set out.

Whatever charging solution you implement, settle for nothing less than high-level support and a best-in-class Service Level Agreement. Every minute a charging station is out of order can cost your business money. Reaching your full productivity potential requires 24/7 support, and that’s another area that ChargePoint excels in.


Public charging stations will have to improve

Going forward, public charging stations will be necessary for long-distance trips away from the home, office or depot. But there’s a need for standardisation and quality upgrade in this area. Currently in the UK, there’s a push for new regulations by the end of 2021 to favour a simplified roaming network and make charging stations open, interoperable and accessible. Over time, the EU will also move towards more reliable infrastructure and improved standards. ChargePoint is leading the way with roaming partnerships that make it easy to charge on stations across borders.

Although the EV revolution is moving quickly, petrol and diesel aren’t going to disappear overnight. For the next few years, drivers and fleet managers will embrace a mixed-fuel economy as we gradually get used to plugging into positive change. But make no mistake about it – e-mobility is coming. And it’s time to get ready.

See more from the experts in the webinar – Joe Gorman, Director UK, Ireland and Nordics; Tanya Sinclair, Policy Director UK & Ireland; and Alain Costa, Head of European Fleet.

Watch now

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