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The electrification of fleets is a vital strategy for businesses and organizations to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, mitigate climate change, and promote a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system. This article explores what is fleet electrification, and the benefits of commercial fleet electrification, such as significant cost-savings, improved brand reputation, and environmental benefits, including the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions and improved public health. Furthermore, the article addresses the challenges that organizations may face as they electrify their fleets, such as infrastructure limitations, vehicle range anxiety, and higher upfront costs.
The topic of fleet electrification is an important one in the current context of climate change and sustainability. As the transportation sector is a major contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions, the adoption of electric vehicles and electrification of fleets by businesses and organizations can play a significant role in reducing such emissions and mitigating climate change. Additionally, the use of EVs can also help to reduce air pollution, improve public health, and significantly reduce costs for organizations and businesses by means of reduced fuel and maintenance expenses. In this article, we will explore what is fleet electrification, some of the benefits of fleet electrification, and discuss challenges that organizations may face when engaging in fleet electrification planning.
Definition: Fleet electrification refers to the process of replacing fleets of traditional gasoline-powered or diesel-powered vehicles with electric vehicles within a business or organization. Fleet electrification can include a wide range of vehicles, from passenger cars and trucks to buses and delivery vehicles.
One of the main benefits of fleet electrification is the reduced greenhouse-gas emissions of EVs compared to traditional vehicles. Transportation is a major contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions. According to 2021 IEA data, the transportation sector has the highest reliance on fossil fuels, accounting for 37% of CO2 emissions. The adoption of electric vehicles by businesses and organizations can play a significant role in reducing these emissions and mitigating climate change. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the national average of annual emissions for an all-electric vehicle is 2,817 pounds of CO2 equivalent. In contrast, 4,824 pounds for a plug-in hybrid, 6,898 pounds for a hybrid, and an astounding 12,594 pounds of CO2 equivalent for a gasoline-powered vehicle. Generally, electric vehicles are a much cleaner and more sustainable transportation option.
In addition to reducing carbon emissions, electrification of fleets can also help to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and promote a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system. While traditional vehicles rely on gasoline or diesel fuel, which are derived from fossil fuels, EVs are powered by electricity, which can be generated from a variety of sources, including renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power. This means that the more EVs that are on the road, the less demand there will be for fossil fuels, which can help to reduce our reliance on these non-renewable resources.
Finally, the adoption of EVs can also help to improve air quality and public health. Traditional vehicles emit a variety of pollutants, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds, which can have negative impacts on air quality and public health. According to a PNAS article, internal combustion engine trucks account for only 10% of vehicles on the road in the U.S., but they produce 45% of total nitrogen oxide emissions from vehicles and 57% of particulate matter 2.5. Low-income and minority communities living near ports, warehouses, and highways are the most affected populations. The adoption of electric vehicles, on the other hand, promises major improvements in air quality and a reduction in the negative health impacts of air pollution.
In addition to the environmental benefits of fleet electrification, there are also economic benefits to be gained when you electrify your fleet. The economic benefits associated with the electrification of fleets include significant cost-savings, improved brand reputation, vehicle-to-grid opportunities, government incentives, and job growth.
One of the main economic benefits in fleet electrification planning is the potential for cost-saving through reduced fuel and maintenance expenses. A three-month study by Car and Driver shows that a Ford F-150 consumes $8,325 of gasoline (September 2022) to travel 45,000 miles, while the Ford F-150 Lightning consumes only $4,529 of electricity (September 2022) to travel the same 45,000 miles. Additionally, EVs require less maintenance than traditional vehicles, as they have fewer moving parts and do not require oil changes or other routine maintenance tasks. This can result in further cost-saving for businesses. According to a study by Consumer Reports, the typical total ownership savings over the life of most EVs ranges from $6,000 to $10,000.
Transitioning to an electric fleet can also improve a company's brand image and reputation by showcasing its commitment to sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. Transitioning to an electric fleet not only brings economic benefits but also provides a great opportunity for businesses to showcase their commitment to sustainability. Electric vehicles are seen as environmentally friendly, and companies that prioritize sustainability can improve their brand image and reputation among consumers, investors, and stakeholders. By adopting a clean energy strategy, companies can attract environmentally conscious customers and investors who prioritize eco-friendly practices. In the long run, this can help businesses build brand loyalty and trust, which can result in increased revenue and market share.
Another economic benefit of fleet electrification is the potential to use Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology to save money and earn additional revenue. V2G technology allows EVs to be used as battery energy storage systems on wheels, allowing them to store excess energy from the grid and return it to the grid when demand is high. This can help businesses to save money on energy costs and potentially earn additional revenue through the sale of excess energy back to the grid. In addition, the use of V2G technology can also help to improve the stability and reliability of the grid, as it allows for the integration of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. However, it is important to note that most battery electric vehicles today do not possess this capability but the technology for it exists and is increasingly being integrated into electric vehicles.
Transitioning to an electric fleet can be made more accessible with government incentives such as tax credits, rebates, or grants that can offset some of the upfront costs. Many governments worldwide are promoting the transition to clean energy by offering financial incentives to companies that adopt electric vehicles. These incentives may include tax credits, rebates, or grants that can help businesses offset some of the upfront costs associated with fleet electrification. By taking advantage of these incentives, companies can accelerate their transition to electric fleets and achieve long-term cost savings, as well as contribute to reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.
Furthermore, fleet electrification can also stimulate economic growth in the clean energy sector. As the demand for EVs increases, more jobs will be created in the manufacturing and maintenance of EVs, as well as in the production and distribution of electricity. This can help to stimulate economic growth in the clean energy sector, which can have positive ripple effects throughout the economy. According to an IEA report, it is estimated that transitioning to clean energy will lead to 14 million new jobs by 2030, with 5 million jobs lost.
While there are many benefits to fleet electrification, your business needs to be aware of the challenges and considerations you may face as you electrify your fleet. One of the main challenges is the upfront costs of purchasing EVs. While the long-term cost savings of EVs are substantial, the initial purchase price can be higher than that of traditional vehicles. The same Consumer Reports study found that comparing vehicles of similar size and segment, an electric vehicle can cost around 10 percent to over 40 percent more than its gasoline-only counterpart. While they may gradually decrease over time, for now, these upfront costs may be a barrier for some organizations, especially those with smaller budgets.
Other key challenges to fleet electrification include range anxiety, availability of charging infrastructure, and availability of large numbers of electric vehicles. Range anxiety refers to the fear of running out of charge while driving an EV. While newer EVs have longer ranges and there is an increasing number of charging stations available, this can still be a concern for businesses. The lack of availability of charging infrastructure is a related challenge. While the number of charging stations is increasing, it may still be difficult for some businesses to access charging stations, especially in rural areas. Furthermore, the limited availability of large numbers of electric vehicles is also among the major barriers to fleet electrification for organizations and businesses.
Exro Technologies Inc. (Exro) is a leading clean technology company that has developed new generation power electronics that change how the world optimizes energy by expanding the capabilities of electric motors and batteries. The company’s innovative technologies bridge the performance-cost gap in e-mobility (Coil Driver™) and energy storage (Cell Driver™) to accelerate adoption towards an electrified economy.
The company’s all-in-one EV powertrain technology helps overcome the performance requirements that many high-demand commercial applications have, provides enhanced operating efficiency and extended driving range, and a fast-charging solution that simplifies charging infrastructure and enables V2G capabilities.
Exro has also developed an advanced commercial and industrial energy storage system that utilizes active cell balancing to optimize system operation, electronically isolate faults, and provide backup power and fleet charging buffer, in addition to auxiliary grid services that will reduce business electricity expenses.
Exro Vehicle Systems (EVS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Exro also offers end-to-end vehicle electrification services. With a rich set of experience, access to Exro’s next-generation technology portfolio, and a strong network of external suppliers, EVS is well-positioned to support businesses considering fleet electrification.
Combined, the Exro technology ecosystem enables maximum results while consuming minimum energy. This not only provides an innovative and cost-effective solution for the electrification of our transportation and energy sectors, but it also helps accelerate the environmental benefits of fleet electrification.