Electrifying your company vehicle fleet is a necessary reality for every organisation, with the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles fast approaching. It is also an excellent move towards reaching your decarbonisation targets and proving your sustainability credentials. E.ON is one of 28 UK companies to have committed to electrifying its vehicles by 2030. For those wanting to make the move to an electric fleet, here’s our advice.
E.ON began transitioning its fleet of 1,500 smart meter and solar installation vans to EVs at the end of 2021 and has, so far, supplied EVs to all drivers who can charge at home. It is also over 50% of the way towards electrifying its company car fleet of 500 drivers. For those fleets starting out on their electrification strategy, where should you begin? How can you assess the right vehicles and how should you switch to electric vehicles?
Choose the right EV
Our first consideration was choosing the right make and model of EV. We ran an extensive phase of analysis to define the use case for our technicians, looking at average mileage, load capacity and job function. Nothing came close to meeting our requirements until Stellantis Group developed alternative versions of the eVivaro. Once we knew which vehicles we needed, we undertook the cost-benefit analysis. This was tight, but we included other factors, such as our climate goals and legislation such as clean air zones, workplace charging levy, road tax, etc. For E.ON, it was an easy decision: being a renewable solutions provider, it made sense for our technician’s to turn up to install an EV charger in an electric van themselves. As our E.ON group CEO Leonhard Birnbaum says: “We don’t have a sustainability strategy. Sustainability is our strategy.”
Understand your driver requirements
We began establishing our fleet’s requirements by conducting a survey to all our technicians. Asking details such as: do you have off street parking? Is that parking directly connected to your property? Do you own the property? Do you have broadband? We developed our implementation strategy, firstly with home chargers for those who had a suitable property to charge overnight and the remainder charging at our own office and depot sites or the public network. We had to make sure that we had chargers on the walls of homes before the vans arrived – luckily this is a solution that E.ON provides and we installed these ourselves.
Next we looked at reimbursement solutions for the cost of the electricity to charge the vans. After looking externally, we found we had the resources to create our own solution and now offer a tailored reimbursement service to customers.
For drivers who need to use the public network, E.ON is looking at extending the UK public charging infrastructure and is also developing its own charge card app to cover the majority of the public EV charger network. As this develops, we will roll this out to our fleet drivers but, in the interim, we supply a number of different charge cards.
Once the vehicles started to arrive and chargers were installed, the final stage was providing an online training guide for technicians to access. This guide explained the differences in driving a combustion engine vehicle to an electric vehicle, showed drivers how they could get the most out of their new EV and also demonstrated the reimbursement process.
“Being a renewable solutions provider, it made sense for our technician’s to turn up to install an EV charger in an electric van themselves. As our E.ON group CEO Leonhard Birnbaum says: 'We don’t have a sustainability strategy. Sustainability is our strategy.'”