Amey Group has carried out an eight-week pilot to investigate the benefits and limitations of including electric cars in its company car policy.
The pilot found that there is a role in organisations for electric car ambassadors and workplace knowledge centres to help drivers to understand the benefits and limitations of these types of cars.
The pilot came after Amey Group’s fleet provider Alphabet found that employers lacked impartial, first-hand information about electric cars in everyday use, in terms of operating costs, performance, practicality and driver experience.
Matt Dillon, principal service delivery manager at Amey Group, said: “It’s not enough just to spend a few hours or a day in an electric car.
“You have to live with the electric car and become an expert in its strengths and weaknesses. Using an electric car calls for a very different mind-set.”
Alphabet fitted Dillon’s VW Passat BlueMotion and a Nissan Leaf, with a telematics system for eight weeks. The system logged journeys and car performance, as well as recording the differences in the way he drove each car.
Dillon added: “My perceptions improved as I became more familiar with the electric car and my confidence in it grew. The really positive factor for me was the lack of noise.”
Following the pilot, Dillon made a list of recommendations to other fleet managers, which include:
- Become an expert. Live with an electric car for a fortnight or more to really understand what it can and cannot do.
- Think infrastructure. How will the charging of electric cars take place? At home or while at work? Are there infrastructure issues that need addressing?
- Incentivise drivers. Can employers encourage drivers to adopt electric cars through attractive mileage rates?
- Get support. Make sure an electric cars project is sanctioned from the top. Make sure the environmental and cost benefits are clearly stated.