What the Future of Electric Vehicles Means for Fleets

June 18, 2020

Get Started with Samsara

Check our Prices

Key Takeaways

Electric vehicles (EVs) may be the next big step for the transportation industry. According to the Edison Electric Institute, there will be 18 million electric cars by 2030. That means that 7% of all vehicles on American roads will be low emission vehicles. With automakers like Tesla, Volkswagen, and Toyota racing to develop the most efficient EV on the market, you might wonder what this means for the future of your fleet. Incorporating EVs is environmentally friendly and can save you money. Read on to learn why EVs are the next step in fleet management.

Get Started with Samsara

Check our Prices

What are electric vehicles?

EVs are vehicles that run at least partially on electricity, instead of traditional gasoline or diesel-powered engines. In recent years, EV popularity has soared due to its low emissions and eco-friendly nature. Powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, most electric vehicles simply need recharging to get back on the road. There are three basic types of EVs: battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).

  • BEVs are all-electric—no gasoline or diesel needed. The rechargeable battery is what powers the engine.

  • PHEVs are a hybrid between a BEV and an internal combustion engine (ICE). When the electric power gets depleted, the vehicle switches over to the ICE. This dual system allows for an extended travel range over BEVs. After your journey, PHEVs can be recharged and refueled. 

  • HEVs also use electricity and gasoline. However, the electricity acts more as an assistant to the traditional ICE. With regenerative braking, HEVs improve their fuel efficiency and conserve fuel. However, a HEV’s electric motor cannot be recharged like other EVs. 

To discover more details on EVs for commercial fleets, read Samsara’s Complete Guide to Electric Vehicles for Fleets.

3 benefits of electric vehicles for your fleet

Are electric vehicles feasible for your business model, and if so, how can they improve your fleet? Here are a few of the benefits of electrification for commercial fleets

  1. Reduce overall costs

Gas-powered vehicles used to be significantly cheaper than all-electric vehicles. But as EV technology advances, the cost decreases. According to Quartz, EVs in 2019 sold at a 13.4% lower price than in 2018; prices dropped from around $65,000 to just over $55,000. As the industry continues to grow, fleet managers can expect prices to decline throughout the future. 

Recharging EVs is also cheaper than refueling mainstream gasoline-powered vehicles. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy stated that the average gasoline price in the U.S. in 2020 was $2.25 a gallon. By contrast, the equivalent electrical charge (eGallon) is estimated to cost $1.15. Over time, an ICE vehicle can cost twice as much to run as an electric vehicle. While there are fewer EV charging stations than gas stations, infrastructure is improving rapidly to minimize this inconvenience. 

2. Fewer maintenance requirements

Most EVs do not need as much maintenance as a traditional ICE-powered vehicle. Since electric batteries have fewer fluids and moving parts than traditional combustion engines, they rarely need scheduled maintenance. This cuts down on maintenance time, so you can stay on the road longer.

EVs use an innovative technology known as regenerative braking. Regenerative braking is when the vehicle captures the kinetic energy of deceleration and stores it in its battery. HEVs use this remaining energy reserve to help power their engines. With this technology, an EV’s brakes last longer. 

To further cut down on maintenance time, Preventative Maintenance software helps maintain vehicles to run at peak performance. The software tracks vehicle performance and surfaces vehicle issues in real-time and acts as a system of record for vehicle maintenance, so fleet managers can easily manage maintenance schedules. Since the platform monitors data across a fleets’ entire operations, and tracks vehicle mileage, performance, fuel and energy usage and history, it can recommend preventative maintenance. This allows you to track maintenance schedules more intelligently and become proactive rather than reactive.

3. Reduce carbon emissions

Sustainability and decreased pollution can help fleets invest in their communities and future. Transportation is a big contributor to global warming, and fleets that ignore their emissions, risk governmental and consumer repercussions. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, emissions from ICEs, including cars, buses, and trucks, made up 28% of the United State’s global warming pollution in 2018. Medium and heavy-duty trucks contribute 23% of these transportation emissions, generating over 400 teragrams (Tg) of Tg CO2 in 2017. For perspective, this is greater than the emissions for the entire United Kingdom that same year. Every step fleets take to lower their emissions now will have an exponential impact on air pollution and global warming in the future.

Lowering carbon emissions can also have financial benefits. Many customers make purchasing and shipping decisions based on a company’s sustainability efforts. They view each company they support as a reflection of their own goals and moral values. Many consider sustainability as a way to make a statement and reflect their personal priorities through purchases. Thus, sustainable fleets may generate better loyalty and support from their customers.

EVs are a great step towards improved sustainability. By implementing EVs into your fleet, you can better meet and even exceed your carbon emission goals. 

What is the future of electric vehicles?

Now that EVs are paving the way for new opportunities within fleet management, what does the future look like? 

Environmental policies are changing

As global temperatures rise, governments worldwide are adapting their environmental policies. The transportation industry may soon face stricter regulations that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Vehicle emission requirements are always evolving, and fleets need to stay up-to-date to avoid fines. Hundreds of U.S. cities, states, and businesses have committed to an initiative called America’s Pledge, which advocates for sustainable business practices. 

America’s Pledge is a promise to enforce policies to combat increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The Pledge’s main goal is to successfully carry out the Paris Climate Agreement, a worldwide agreement to limit global warming. America’s Pledge participants expect a 25% decline in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. As new policies and standards get imposed, your fleet should be prepared for the future.

Moving towards an EV fleet may be the answer to meeting these rapidly evolving standards. PHEVs and HEVs have already improved emissions compared to ICE vehicles. Meanwhile, BEVs provide zero emissions, and can radically shrink your carbon footprint. 

Increasing charging station infrastructure

Range anxiety is a concern with many EVs. Many drivers worry about  completing their routes before running out of battery. However, as EVs become more prevalent, cities and manufacturers are quickly building new EV charging stations to encourage drivers to use low emission vehicles. 

Currently, there are 28,632 charging stations with 94,629 individual charging outlets in the U.S. This number is only increasing. For example, Chargepoint, one of the many  independent electric vehicle charging station companies, has installed charging stations every 50 miles along the American coasts. These strategically placed chargers are enough for a 1,160 mile trip along the West Coast, as well as a 450 mile trip along the East Coast. 

Traditional automakers are also beginning to invest in EV charging. Volkswagen is designing new battery chargers and investing $2 billion into building more EV infrastructure within America. Soon, charging stations will become widespread, just like gas stations. And as more charging stations are installed well within range, fleets across the US can travel with less range anxiety.

Innovative technology streamlines the electric vehicle fleet experience

Innovative technology like EVs requires equally innovative solutions to support companies adopting them. Manufacturers are creating state-of-the-art technology to simplify the electric vehicle experience. Mobile apps can easily locate the nearest charging station. Brands like Tesla and EVgo have engineered supercharging stations strong enough to power a single charge in 30 minutes. 

Solutions like Samsara EV Real-time Charging Status and Alerts provide a view into real-time charging status and alerts,for full visibility into their EV’s battery charge and status, and health. Fleet managers can be alerted when they are low on battery, prompting them to find a charging station  or to continue their journey.

Samsara can help you plan your routes based on battery levels and nearby charging stations. EV Route Planning allows fleet managers and drivers to optimize their routes and ensures that vehicles have enough battery charge to complete a job.

Find out how Samsara’s suite of tools for EVs can support and optimize your electric fleet

New low emission vehicle options

The EV market is diversifying rapidly. By 2025, 130 new EV models are expected to hit the market. Compared to the current 49 models on offer in America, this is almost a threefold increase in variety. The International Energy Agency also states that EVs will take up 30% of the global market share by 2030. 

Below you can find a chart of all future electric vehicles and pledges various carmakers have in development.

Automaker

Details

Tesla

Elon Musk has helped establish a robust EV charging infrastructure, which is part of why Tesla is a leader in EVs. By 2025, Tesla will produce 413,000 EVs annually. Possible models include the Tesla Model 3, Model Y, and the Tesla Semi.

Porsche

Many consider the 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S the first real threat to Tesla in the EV market. Porsche has committed to investing in charging infrastructure to improve the viability of their Taycan.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen aims to produce 1.5 million EVs by 2025, with sales of the 2020 ID.3. The new vehicle will cost about $30,000. Volkswagen has also dedicated an entire factory to all-EV production.

Ford Motor Co

Ford Motors made an $11 billion investment in hybrid and EVs. In line with this, they recently released the Ford Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric sports car crossover. Ford also plans to unveil a new all-electric cargo van in 2022 and an electric version of their most popular pickup truck, the F-150.

Honda

Honda has committed to making 100% of their sales in Europe electric by 2025. New models include the Honda E.

BMW Group

BMW plans for 15-25% of sales to be EVs by 2025. They are working on a brand new BMW iNEXT equipped with an electric powertrain, along with the continuation of the i series.

Mercedes-Benz

The new Mercedes EQC is a long-range all-wheel-drive electric SUV and represents Mercedes-Benz’s first foray into the EV space. Mercedes is also investing heavily in fuel cell technology as an alternative to ICE vehicles, and are focusing on viable heavy-duty trucks.

Nissan

Under their M.O.V.E. to 2022 plan, Nissan pledged to roll out eight all-electric vehicles, including a new Nissan Leaf. They’ve pledged to sell one million electric vehicles annually.

Audi

Audi recently introduced their electric SUV, the Audi e-tron, and its luxury counterpart, the e-tron Sportback. The company is on track to reach its electrification goal of adding 20 all-electric vehicles and 10 plug-in hybrids to their lineup.

Rivian

Rivian is a new EV company with an SUV and hatchback that will begin shipping at the end of 2020. By 2025, they’re expected to have six EV truck and SUV models.

Electric vehicles pave the way for the future of transportation

Fleets may find EVs a practical way to lower costs, improve sustainability, increase reliability, and meet emission regulations. Charging infrastructure, cost, and convenience are all expected to improve rapidly until little will stand between an EV and an ICE vehicle. 

As the EV market broadens, there will be more variety than ever in showrooms and dealerships. Fleets will be able to  find the EVs that are right for them, without compromise. While there will always be some growing pains associated with a big fleet change, Samsara’s line of EV-specific tools supports the transition and reliable operations with EVs. 

Interested in getting started on your journey towards electrification? Learn more about how Samsara can help with a free trial today.  

Contents

Stay in touch

Sign up to learn more about Samsara.