Members of the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) are cutting EV fleet running costs by swapping ideas and observations on EV management on an almost daily basis, according to Stewart Lightbody, AFP vice chair.

Feedback from members is showing that telematics is proving especially important for assessing when, where and for how long the vans are charged, and for calculating the charging costs incurred by their employees.

Lightbody said: “We now have a number of major fleets with more than a thousand electric vehicles (EVs), so there is quite a formidable bank of experience available within the AFP.”

He said members are finding that telematics is helping them keep tabs on charging downtime and drivers’ breaktime. “For example, many electric van operators are timing charging to coincide with driver’s breaks, using telematics to confirm that employees are rapid charging to 80% and not lingering to trickle charge to 100%. This is seen as the most productive balance of work availability against charging time."

He added: “Others are trying to minimise use of rapid charging, especially on motorways, because low operating costs are an essential part of their electrification objectives.

“There is generally a wide gap between the cheapest available power – which is usually at home – and the most expensive – normally the fastest commercial charging on motorways.

“Additionally, in cases where there is limited charging provision – such as in remote areas – the technology means that work can be planned around the few facilities that are available, making EVs practicable in places where there might otherwise be difficulties."

Stewart added that telematics can also track vehicle mileage for fleets that used an actual cost method for charging reimbursement.

He said: “While the 8p AER rate introduced last year was much more acceptable for many employers, there remain a relatively large number who recognise that this is not going to meet the costs that some drivers are racking up driving an EV, especially in vans and larger cars.

“Telematics means that actual costs can be calculated with greater ease, making this kind of reimbursement a more practical proposition.”

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