You will be surprised with what the future holds for electric fleetsPosted By: Patience Rutayisire - On:26/04/2018
There’s no doubt that the past few years have seen a surge in demand for electric vehicles. Technological improvements and emissions concerns have meant that what used to be seen as the preserve of batty and wealthy environmentalists will soon become the norm. The days of electric vehicles meaning low speed, short battery life and high investment are gone, and things are changing as fast as the new driving speeds.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) records that around 4,000 electric car sales are made each month in the UK and more than 135,000 were registered by the end of January 2018.
Indications that solely petrol or diesel cars will be banned by 2040 has got fleet managers seriously considering the alternatives. In fact, SMMT figures also show that demand for diesel vehicles among fleet owners has already dropped by 4.6pc.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is moving forward, along with new powertrains, and while self-driving cars are a way off yet, according to the 2017 Kia Fleet Market Attitudes report, assisted driving vehicles already feature in 23pc of organisations, and this is expected to increase to 51pc by 2027.
Semi-autonomous vehicles feature in 19pc of organisations and this is also expected to rise to 51pc by 2027.
The same research, which took in the views of 150 fleet managers nationwide, shows that seven out of 10 fleet managers believe that fully-autonomous vehicles will result in fewer accidents.
Smarter and greener is the way forward on our roads, and the report suggests a rise already taking place in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and hybrid electric vehicles (EV). Fleet managers estimate that a significant percentage of their fleet will have PHEV/EV capabilities by 2022, a percentage that is projected to increase dramatically by 2027. Those fleet managers without any PHEV/EV in their fleet maintain that they will do so within an average of four years.
However, there are still a few barriers in place preventing a full uptake just yet. The charging infrastructure is still inadequate and this is putting people off taking the plunge. Many also still believe that PHEVs/EVs are too expensive. However, many of the respondents in the Kia research believe this infrastructure will be improved by 2021, along with increased battery life and better charge time.
UK fleets currently have an average of 126 cars, with a lifespan of three years, and those organisations operating large fleets of nearly new vehicles are in a good position to have the flexibility to adopt new technologies. Moreover, from next month, the main rate capital allowance threshold for business cars is to be reduced to 110g/km3. As a result of this, 77pc of respondents say they intend to change their fleet policy accordingly.
It’s clear that traditional powertrains will eventually stop becoming the default option in fleet purchasing decisions. We’re also likely to see developments such as human-machine interfaces (HMI) advanced motion graphic lighting systems and advanced driver assistance technologies, which will alert drivers to hazards, allow them to avoid congestion and reduce journey times and create essential diagnostic data to cut service and repair costs. So while fleet managers may find themselves with a greener garage and less paperwork, they’ll have plenty of data-crunching to keep them busy.