Twelve months in the world of E-Mobility: Why switch to a low emission fleet?

Looking back at the last 12 months, progress in the world of E-Mobility has been remarkable. The Government has published a strategy with clear targets to reduce vehicle emissions; cities and local authorities – like Cardiff City Council - are preparing their own electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure strategies; diesel sales are decreasing, and electric vehicle sales are on the up. But what’s so exciting about these developments and, crucially, how much difference will they make in reducing air pollution in our cities?

Electronic Vehicles

75% of new car buyers are now considering an EV as their next car

Every year nine million people die from air pollution and transport is a huge contributing factor, especially from taxis, last mile delivery and other fleets. In response, we are already seeing big organisations with big fleets, like the Metropolitan Police and Royal Mail, making a real transition to Electric Vehicles. There are some incredibly exciting developments being made by logistic firms like DPD opening “all electric” parcel depots, and the next generation of charging stations are being developed across Europe by ground-breaking partnerships like IONITY. 

Transitioning to low emission fleets

But what role do we have to play? Here at Arcadis we pride ourselves on creating innovative solutions that improve the lives of others and have been working on our own ideas to help reduce air pollution. Our latest development, Fleet2Zero, helps firms transition to an ultra-low emission vehicle fleet. It works by analysing data across real estate assets, power, telematics, CAPEX and OPEX to create the best results. These are assessed against a number of critical success factors that have been agreed and rated with each organisation beforehand, using a digital platform with a suitably geeky algorithm to do all the hard work! 

Crucially, there are three main drivers for transitioning fleets from internal combustion engines to ultra-low emission vehicles:  

1) Policy

Government strategies like Road to Zero and moves by Transport for London to introduce Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) from April are effective drivers for change. Vehicles that fail to meet increasingly stringent emissions standards face penalties of £12.50 a day for cars, or £100 a day for heavier buses, coaches and lorries that don’t meet the Euro VI standard. These charges will be enforced 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

The impact of policies like these signal a growing imperative for those operating fleets to make the transition from internal combustion engines to vehicles that meet the latest emission standards, otherwise they risk facing fines that will affect their bottom line. The introduction of Zero Emissions Zones (ZEZ) from 2020 will further increase the challenge, even if you are driving the latest Euro 6 or 4 vehicles. Large scale Zero Emission Zones are planned from 2025 onwards, with all of London being zero emission by 2050.

So, through changes in policies both now and in the future (and who is to say that, under pressure, TfL won’t speed up the introduction of ZEZ’s?) businesses with fleets will find it increasingly difficult to operate fleets as they are currently.

2) Market

Increasingly there are more electric vehicles in the market, albeit with long supply times of up to a year for some models. New models that are of interest to delivery firms would include vehicles like Mitsubishi Fuso eCanter 7.5t for larger deliveries and Nissan eNV200 for last miles type deliveries - both pure electric vehicles types. However, there are still many Plug-In-Hybrid (PHEV) models that will suit some organisations and a heterogeneous solution for some will be necessary, especially when resilience is one of your top priorities - electric police cars being one prime example. 

3) Infrastructure

There are just so many EV infrastructure challenges to overcome its difficult to see how this could be a driver for transitioning to a low emission fleet. Yet in fact there are many, many solutions out there. When you look at the cost of infrastructure – and the cost of charging when using that infrastructure - against what you can save in petrol and diesel costs (and who knowns how much fuel costs will rise in the future?) you can start to see the benefits. Perhaps most convincingly, many of the fleet managers we have spoken to say that if they could, they would snap up every last one of the available EV’s. What better endorsement could there be than that? 

Bringing in the human factor

Here at Arcadis we have developed all sorts of sites for EV infrastructure - from petrol stations, retail stores and car dealerships, to motorway services and car parks for fleet operators - and all have different needs and different challenges. These can range from disruption to trade, behavioural challenges, lack of power, planning issues and even Disability Access Compliance. 

Yet the common success factor across all of these sites has been listening to and focusing on the business needs of that organisation, the unique characteristics of that city or location and/or the concerns of local residents. Our geeky algorithms in Fleet2Zero offer a uniquely focused way of bringing new technology to play in the decision making and implementation process, but its only by combining innovation with personal engagement and a focus on the citizen or end-user that we can deliver truly ground-breaking results. 

Simon Swan

Future Mobility Director +44 7810 850099 Ask me a question
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