Jakob has spearheaded Vimcar’s drive towards e-mobility. He recently took the lead in creating their brand new E-Report, free for all Vimcar customers – acting as a concrete step in helping customers electrify their fleets.
Q: What is Vimcar’s E-Report?
Ultimately the E-Report gives companies the power of data to see how viable fleet electrification could be for their business.
Whilst it goes into a lot of detail, we are able to give a deep dive analysis within the report by relying on two main data sets:
- The distance their fleet cars travel. With this data, we can advise customers on which vehicles could be replaced with an EV [electric vehicle], which type of EV would work and which vehicles would be a bit more difficult to electrify.
- Standing times. We analyse when vehicles are most likely to be at a standstill so we can recommend ways customers could go about charging their EVs.
Q: Why is it important for Vimcar to offer this to customers?
Most businesses have to guess whether or not their fleets could support EVs. This E-Report eliminates any doubt.
And, on why this is important for Vimcar: we firmly believe in the decarbonisation of the transport sector. Given that 27% of the UK’s greenhouse emissions come from transportation, we asked ourselves, ‘Why not use our data to everyone’s advantage and give fleets insights into how they can start electrifying?’
Within a lot of fleets, there are some no brainers: vehicles that are only on the road for 3 or 4 days a week – those are typical backup vehicles. Why not electrify those cars, for example?
By acting as a source of truth, we can assure fleets that they can, at the very least, start with these ‘no brainers’. Then they can begin to see what it is like to electrify and set up a charging infrastructure. This will allow for a much smoother transition in the long run.
Q: You helped Vimcar electrify its own company fleet. Could you talk a little more about that?
Actually, our own experience trying to electrify our fleet triggered the thought: ‘How can we productise this to help our existing customers?’.
Vimcar provides company cars to Key Account managers. We used similar data analysis that we ended up using for the E-Report and noticed we needed EVs with a really good charging network and a long-range.
The power of this data allowed us to electrify our own fleet, confident in the knowledge we were not going to disrupt our business or employees’ jobs.
Q: Other than the environmental impacts, why else would you recommend that other companies electrify their fleets?
Vimcar’s main focus with this E-Report is all about the environmental impact.
That said, even if they feel the same way about the environment as we do, we know our customers are cost-conscious – which is completely understandable because they have a business to run!
What is really visible now, though, is the cost advantages of having an electric vehicle.
EVs have fewer moving parts, regenerative braking and no oil changes, which means they require a lot less maintenance. Plus, fueling costs are cheaper with EVs. If you charge the vehicle at home or at the office it works out to be significantly less money to charge an EV than it is to refuel a conventional vehicle.
With regards to the upfront costs, we have seen various states around the world offer help. In the UK, this comes in the form of 0% road tax and BiK for EVs. We know this is acting as another serious incentive for businesses.
Q: With respect to the overall trend of fleet electrification, what do you think are the main obstacles standing in companies’ way?
The main obstacle has to be charging infrastructure. There is just not a public charging infrastructure that you can rely on and the UK is lagging behind with this compared to other European countries. As a manager, the last thing you want is vehicle downtime, because then you’re serving fewer customers. This concern can be eliminated with our E-Report: you can find out which vehicles are at a standstill where and when and set up your own charging infrastructure to work around this.
The shorter mileage range of LCVs [light commercial vehicles] is another obstacle. They have been later to the game, in terms of technological advancements, compared to electric passenger cars – and that really comes down to customer preference. It is much easier to get customers excited about new electric sports or passenger cars than a van!
There is also a real bottleneck with installation specialists and companies that can install wall box chargers. There is simply not enough to keep up with demand and businesses have to wait to get their charging infrastructure up and running.
All of this, of course, is quickly improving though, and will only get better as governments move closer to their net-zero targets.
Q: Do you see any alternatives to vehicle electrification in the future?
Overall, I do not think we will see a pivot away from electric vehicles.
We are at the point where, in the UK for instance, 43% of electricity is already generated with renewables (and at some point, we will have 100% renewable energy). So I have no doubt that vehicle electrification is an extremely positive step to help us reach net-zero.
There has also been too big of an effort on the part of public and private sectors in the push toward vehicle electrification.
It has required governments all around the world to set up regulation and infrastructure to help facilitate this transformation. It has required car manufacturers to completely rethink their business model and car ranges.
Ultimately, I do not see them turning around and saying ‘forget the hundreds of billions of pounds we put into this’ – especially considering the positive progress we’ve already made.
Q: Has COVID changed the electrification process at all?
Through speaking with our customers, it seems that businesses are even more cost-conscious than before.
It is probably more important than ever then to push the financial advantages of having an electrical.
On the other hand, more people are working from home more, ergo there is less travel involved with many types of jobs, making fleet electrification more viable.
Q: What role will fleet data and telematics play within the fleet electrification process?
It is going to be even more important to track your vehicles with data…
- To generally manage fleet costs. There are so many more saving potentials with EVs, (like charging and maintenance), so we’ll be able to use data in fleet management as an even greater source of cost saving.
- To help with the process of electrification itself. Not only to see which ICE [internal combustion engine] fleet vehicles should be replaced with what model of EV, but how you should set up your charging infrastructure – which is what our E-Report does!
- To ensure the costs of an electric fleet are significantly lower than with a previous ICE fleet.
If our E-Report proves anything, it’s that data is power and that vehicle data can help you make more informed decisions about your business.