by Jay Collins
Whether it’s the ebbs and flows of fuel prices or the surge in electric vehicle (EV) sales, you’ve perhaps thought about the potential of an electric vehicle within your fleet. After all, electric vehicle sales in the United States nearly doubled year-over-year in the first nine months of 2022. If you’re just beginning to think through the potential of an EV for your fleet, here are a few factors to consider.
Talk to someone who owns an EV in their fleet
The infrastructure to support EVs has grown and will continue to grow after the U.S. Transportation Department approved a plan late last year to install EV charging stations that would cover 75,000 miles of American highways over the next five years, with stations in all 50 states. By 2025, the number of EVs in fleets globally is expected to increase nearly five-fold from just four years earlier.
A great first step would be to reach out to someone who has an electric vehicle in their fleet and ask questions like:
- Are they getting the value they anticipated when acquiring their EV?
- How do they charge their EV?
- What else have they learned since adding an EV to their fleet?
We’re happy to talk through your EV questions, too. But a fleet owner with an EV will be able to provide you with a first-hand perspective. And if you don’t know anyone who has an EV, WEX can connect you with an EV user.
Ask a driver to test drive one via a short-term lease
While you’ll be managing the EV, your drivers are the ones tasked with operating the vehicle. You could explore short-term or temporary ways to incorporate an EV into your fleet to see how it goes. For example, if one of your fuel-powered fleets is in an accident, consider signing a short-term lease or long-term rental of an EV. Ask your EV driver what their experience was like.
Assess your EV readiness
What would your timeline be for jumping into the growing EV environment? Prior to purchasing an EV, you need to assess your EV readiness, which includes:
- Evaluating your area’s charging infrastructure. While gas stations are often sprinkled all over your driving routes, what about EV charging stations? Depending on the part of the country you’re in, they may or may not be frequently available for your drivers. For example, California has roughly five times more charging stations than the next closest state. The East Coast is also well-covered in many areas, but EV infrastructure is less developed in the Midwest.
- Reviewing your EV maintenance capability. Not all mechanics accept or have experience with EV repairs. Whether you have an in-house mechanic or have a dedicated repair shop for your fleet, you’ll want to find out if your current mechanic or any in your area have the skills needed to maintain your fleet’s EV. If that’s not the case, you may need to reconsider adding an EV, support your mechanic in picking up these skills, or find another repair shop.
- Analyzing your EV use cases. What do you intend to use the EV for? If it’s going from Point A to Point B every night but the charging infrastructure on that route isn’t built out yet, then that will influence your timeline. But if your driver would charge the vehicle at their home each night, you could evaluate how long it would take to purchase and install a home charger.
Would you like to learn more about the electric vehicle transition and how WEX can support you? Check out our website page.