The surge in consumer demand and the increasing availability of electric car models have resulted in a rapid growth of electric vehicles (EVs) on UK roads.

As of December 2023, there are over 975,000 fully electric cars and an additional 590,000 plug-in hybrids, signifying a remarkable shift towards sustainable transportation. In the van category, 2022 witnessed a 17% increase in registered electric vans, with over 17,000 hitting the roads.

This article explains the basics of driving electric vehicles and the key considerations for fleet managers introducing electric vehicles into their operations.

EV adoption in businesses and government initiatives

UK businesses are actively incorporating EVs into their fleets as part of their commitment to emissions reporting and net-zero programs. Simultaneously, the UK Government aims to have 80% of new cars and 70% of new vans sold in Great Britain be zero-emission by 2030, with a complete transition to 100% by 2035.

Exploring the driving experience

If you find yourself behind the wheel of an electric vehicle for the first time, what can you expect from this novel driving experience?

Understanding the basics

  • Automatic gearboxes – Electric vehicles typically feature a single-speed transmission that regulates the electric motor. Although top-end manufacturers may deviate from this norm, the driving experience is similar to traditional automatic cars, lacking a clutch pedal.
  • Quiet operation – Most electric cars run exceptionally quiet, equipped with an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) by law. However, their quiet nature, especially at lower speeds, might make them less audible to pedestrians.
  • Charging while braking – Electric cars employ regenerative braking, converting kinetic energy into stored power for recharging batteries. Some models even feature a one-pedal system, allowing acceleration and braking with the same pedal.
  • Rapid acceleration: The torque generated by electric car motors enables rapid acceleration, requiring drivers to exercise caution and be mindful of their speed.

Preparing for your journey

  • Planning your route – Strategic journey planning is crucial, especially on longer trips where access to charging points becomes essential. Coasting down hills or on motorways can conserve battery energy, contrary to traditional advice.
  • Energy consumption considerations – Electric cars offer pre-conditioning features, allowing users to optimize battery and interior conditions through smartphone apps while the vehicle is charging. Careful use of air conditioning, heating, lights, and other accessories is essential to preserve battery power during the journey.

Key considerations for fleet managers

Fleet managers introducing electric vehicles within their operations may consider the following challenges:

  • Range anxiety impact – Fleet operations may be affected if drivers experience range anxiety, impacting schedules and delivery commitments.
  • Charging infrastructure constraints – Limited charging infrastructure may disrupt fleet operations, requiring careful route planning to ensure access to charging points.
  • Training and adaptation– First-time EV drivers may require specialised training to adapt to EV nuances, affecting overall fleet efficiency.
  • Initial investment and ROI uncertainty – High upfront costs of EVs pose financial challenges for fleet managers and uncertainties in return on investment may deter adoption.
  • Battery degradation – Fleet managers must consider potential battery degradation, affecting vehicle performance, range and overall fleet reliability.
  • Resale value considerations – The evolving nature of EV technology may lead to uncertainty in the resale value of fleet vehicles, impacting financial planning.
  • Technological obsolescence risks – Rapid advancements may render older EV models obsolete, necessitating strategic decisions for fleet managers.
  • Safety and emergency protocols – Fleet managers need to establish safety protocols for high-voltage systems in EVs, addressing potential risks in emergency situations.
  • Operational adaptation – Integrating EVs requires adapting operational processes, including maintenance, to meet the specific needs of electric fleet vehicles.

EV driver training and fleet support

As electric vehicles become increasingly prevalent, understanding the nuances of driving them is crucial for first-time EV drivers. For those seeking comprehensive training, Cardinus offers EV driver training courses across the UK. Embracing the electric driving experience involves adapting to a unique set of features while contributing to a sustainable future on the road. Get in touch to discuss how we can support your fleet operations.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search