Beverley Wise > sales director, UK & Ireland, Webfleet Solutions

The clock is ticking on the future of fossil fuel fleets, with the UK ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans now just nine years away. The biggest barriers to adoption – availability, cost and mind-set – are slowly being pulled down by green-focused stakeholders across government and industry alike.

The Treasury is influencing decision-makers with the introduction of company car tax incentives, the Department for Transport (DfT) is investing heavily in our charging infrastructure, manufacturers are making continual improvements in battery range and vehicle choice and fleet management providers are developing innovative solutions to support the transition.

The EV business case for fleet operators is consequently becoming ever more compelling, as evidenced by the latest SMMT vehicle registration figures.

Sales of EVs have doubled over the last 12 months, and notably, company car registrations accounted for 68 per cent of the total sales of BEVs and PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles).

As businesses look to electrify their fleets, data insights will increasingly prove vital – both to determine EV cost-effectiveness and to help in their on-going management.

Fleet decision-makers, for example, can now utilise telematics data to take account of fuel consumption, driving behaviour, past trips, mileage and other measurements to help establish EV suitability and their impact on total cost of ownership.

Where EVs are operational, remaining driving distance information can be used to plan the sequence of orders or to identify the right vehicles for jobs. By knowing exactly how much charge a vehicle has, and how far it needs to travel, fleet managers can avoid having vehicles wait in-line for charging or avoid higher charging costs during peak times.

As Clean Air Zones become increasingly commonplace, fleet operators can use geo-fencing tools to identify which vehicles are frequently entering these designated areas to help highlight where EVs could be used most cost-effectively.

Driving behaviour insights can help optimise charge efficiency, informing where drivers are wasting energy by needlessly speeding or accelerating too quickly.

Further data insights are able to help businesses retrospectively calculate exactly how financially beneficial the addition of EVs to fleets has been, and to compare running costs with ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles to help signpost future EV strategies.

We have relied on the internal combustion engine for more than a century, but the race is now on for the electric powertrain to set us on a path to a more sustainable future. Telematics will offer the vital support we need as we embark on this journey.