Electrifying your vehicles: What are the options?

A fleet of ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) is the default plan for a business in search of a cleaner, more sustainable fleet. But what comes next?

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But with electrified vehicles often having a higher list price than their petrol/diesel counterparts, do they make business sense? And what are the main choices when electrifying your vehicles?

Your PHEVerate BEVerage?

A plug-in-hybrid vehicle (PHEV) has both a battery and an internal combustion engine (ICE). PHEVs are considered cleaner than ICE vehicles when used as intended, but for obvious reasons they are not considered zero-emission. Arguably however, they do have greater flexibility, with the ability to suit many different use cases and without the potential for charging anxiety.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs), as the name suggests, are powered purely by electricity. When driven, BEVs produce no tailpipe emissions, and are widely known as ‘zero emission’, or ‘zero tailpipe emission’ vehicles­. This capability helps reduce emissions when in use and supports cleaner air, helping a business to reduce its emissions and possibly even win new customers who are looking to create sustainable supply chains.

With these options what is there to consider? “Traditionally, the reason businesses have opted for a PHEV over a BEV  ­­or vice versa ­– has hinged on the vehicle availability and level of charging or range anxiety they feel,” says Simon Cuenca at Lombard Vehicle Solutions. “Earlier BEVs would need a charge after approximately 100 miles, and finding a charging point was not always as straightforward as finding a fuel station.”

Fortunately, both the electric range that BEVs can drive on a charge ­­– and the charging infrastructure ­– have improved in recent years, as figures from Zapmap suggest. 

While the emissions argument for ULEVs is easily won, it’s less so with higher purchase costs and potential investment into charging. Eventually, therefore, a business will need to break out the calculator… 

Introducing Total Cost of Ownership

Creating a strong business case for your fleet can help your business manage costs and future-proof itself. But with such beasts to wrestle as initial price, accounting for capital outlays, loan rates, running costs and likely journey distances, this is no easy task. However, using an approach that considers the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) can simplify the process.

Essentially, using a TCO helps you calculate the financial impact of an acquisition by covering:

  • the purchase or rental costs
  • fuel or energy
  • insurance
  • corporation tax, NI and VAT considerations of each vehicle

“While TCO has its place,” says Simon, “predicted fleet costs often fail to correlate with in-life fleet costs, especially for vans. So businesses may wish to consider something more nuanced.”

An answer lies in Lombard Vehicle Solutions (LVS) TCO+, which is based on the vehicle’s actual performance; physically, operationally, and financially. It also includes the vehicle’s short and long-term reliability based on the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)’s performance records and their in-life maintenance offering.

“By collating all of your operational needs and in-life running costs, such as vehicle off-road (VOR) downtime, charging and infrastructure upgrades, TCO+ can provide a more realistic TCO figure,” explains Simon.

With the 2030 new vehicle ICE ban looming and the business case increasingly settled, is now the time your business starts its vehicle transition?

Speak with Lombard to learn more about how we can support your transition.

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