When we have queues at the petrol pumps, thoughts turn to electric

By David Savage, associate vice president, UK and Ireland, Geotab The dolphins are back in the Venice canals. After an absence of 60 years, onlookers caught sight of a mother and her calf near St Mark’s square earlier this year. Why do I mention this? Well, out of all the bad news caused by the pandemic, this is a ray of light. The absence of cruise liners from the city has had a huge ecological impact on the ancient city waterways.

It’s seismic changes like this that cause a rethink of the way we do things. In many ways, the petrol shortage in the UK has caused a similar change in mindset.

Industry figures show that the number of electric cars sold in the UK last month neared the figures for the whole of 2019. Enquiries for electric cars surged as people queued at the pumps.

It appears that the swing towards electric cars is gaining momentum. As more and more cars, SUVs and vans enter the market, they will become more and more attractive for fleet users. Our own survey showed that four-in-ten vehicles could economically make the switch to electric today.

The study found that based on total cost of ownership, 39% of fleet vehicles would save money for businesses over an average eight-year service life if they switched to electric today. The calculation factors in vehicle maintenance as well as the lower price of electricity in comparison to fuel.

It also found that 35% of vehicles were range-capable, meaning that a replacement EV could travel the same route as a petrol- or diesel-powered engine vehicle, without requiring a daily charge.

Of course, the Government has a crucial role to play in providing the incentives to enable the drive to the transition to EV. With a full £2,500 government grant, it makes economic sense for 100% of SUVs to transition to electric.

Our article in this issue of EV Fleet World Digital dispels many of the myths around driving EVs. Our EVSA tool also provides a clear indication of which vehicles in a fleet are ideal for the switch to electric.

But of course, none of this takes into account the economic impact of going electric. As we move towards COP26, the United Nations Climate Change conference, then we can look forward to putting transport at the heart of the climate debate. We’ve signed the Climate Pledge, a commitment to net-zero carbon by 2040, and have put sustainability at the heart of everything we do.

We’re sure that EVs will play a huge part in the discussions at the conference in Glasgow next month. For us, it’s not just about the dolphins, but every aspect of what we do impacts our environment. We’re sure that an electric future means we can all make a difference. Let’s all make that pledge to switch now.