Transitioning to a Purpose-Built Low-Speed Electric Vehicle (LSEV) Fleet
Pressures and incentives for businesses to transition from fossil fuel-powered transportation fleets to zero emissions electric-powered fleets have never been stronger. Trends in state and federal legislation and regulation, as well as the commitment of corporate policies towards adopting business practices to reduce or eliminate negative environmental impact, means that now is the perfect time to consider building an LSEV fleet.
The Present and Future of Fleet Vehicles
Fleet vehicles are vehicles owned and used by a corporation, organization, government agency, or public utility which are primarily used to transport cargo or people. The composition of vehicle fleets encompasses a diverse range of transportation options, featuring passenger cars, heavy-duty road transport like tractor-trailers, and an emerging focal point on last-mile delivery vans and trucks.
A substantial portion of these last-mile vehicles are being transitioned to low speed vehicles (LSVs), reflecting a growing trend towards more sustainable and efficient urban logistics. As a reminder, a low-speed vehicle is defined, in most states, as a vehicle that has a top speed of 25 mph and can travel on roads with speed limits of no more than 35 mph.
The Growth of EV Fleets
To provide a more effective and economic approach to the last-mile capabilities of fleets, electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more and more popular, with a 48% increase in U.S. sales and total global sales volume at 13% of the new vehicle market. Analysts predict this trend will continue and that half of all vehicles on the road will be electric cars, trucks and otherwise by 2050.
All told, by 2040 nearly 15 million EVs are expected to be in U.S. corporate fleets and traversing American roads. Delivery systems used in urban and suburban areas that bring everything from food to clothes to consumables to electronics will account for many of those EVs. Of these urban delivery systems, an increasing percentage of those will be electric LSVs or LSEVs.
Development and Management of EV Fleets
The first step is determining the best EV replacements for traditional ICE motor vehicles. While the technology is still developing to bring electric heavy-duty vehicles up to operational parity with their ICE counterparts, remarkable advances have been made in the LSEV realm, which makes it an ideal vehicle to begin the process of transitioning your fleet over to EVs. AYRO’s own Vanish utility low-speed electric vehicle has the capacity of a standard pickup truck. Previous articles by our team have also discussed LSEVs and how such purpose-built machines are an ideal choice for campus mobility and last-mile delivery.
Whatever the business or strategy, transitioning to an EV fleet is only the first step; managing an EV fleet, while similar, is not quite the same as managing a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) fleet. Effective planning and management of EV fleets, especially those in transition, is crucial to the continued success of any business that relies upon the transportation of goods or service staff. Managing an EV fleet comes with it’s own benefits and challenges.
Benefits of EV Fleet Management
One of the key benefits of managing an EV fleet is the reliability of electric vehicles. EVs have fewer moving parts compared to traditional gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles, making them less prone to mechanical failures and requiring less frequent maintenance. This translates into decreased downtime and increased vehicle availability, allowing drivers to accomplish their tasks with greater efficiency and peace of mind.
A crucial part of any fleet is the people who drive the vehicles, and working with those drivers is a central part of fleet management. Thus, a major benefit of EVs is the improved and enhanced operator experience over traditional ICE vehicles. EVs operate with reduced noise levels, granting a quieter and more serene environment both for the drivers and the communities they serve. The absence of engine vibrations, typical of internal combustion engines, translates into smoother rides, reducing fatigue and enhancing overall comfort.
Challenges of EV Fleet Management
One of the challenges of EV fleet management is ensuring adequate charging infrastructure, not only at fleet headquarters but throughout service areas as well. Managing the day-to-day scheduling of vehicles means that operators and managers will need to coordinate access to minimal cost energy as well as ensure that the necessary number of vehicles needed is reliably available. Advances in software and grid integration will make this aspect of management much easier, and increasingly cost-effective.
Why Should You Switch to an Electric Fleet?
Though the challenges of switching to an EV fleet can seem daunting, the benefits (and sometimes necessities) of doing so can be of significant long-term benefit to the business, its employees, its customers, and the environment. Government regulations have become more demanding on the automobile industry in terms of range, speed, and longevity requirements for EVs, and several states have set requirements for all-electric vehicles within the next few decades. Given these new regulatory conditions, compliance sooner rather than later is the best decision for any business with vehicles.
While the initial cost of EVs is currently higher than ICE vehicles, that is changing: EVs and ICE vehicles should reach cost parity in most regions within five to seven years. This not only includes initial costs, but also long-term savings in fuel, maintenance, and operational costs. Switching to an EV fleet also significantly decreases environmental impact: ICE road vehicles account for 29% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S.
Switching to EV’s has both short and long-term benefits. Additionally, LSEVs are often purchased as replacements for other gas-powered vehicles including UTVs, some golf carts, and more which reduces emissions even further. One major advantage of transitioning to LSEVs is that the infrastructure is already in place: most LSEVs can be plugged into a regular outlet, meaning that they can charge overnight at headquarters or (if necessary) can recharge during the day at practically any location in the United States.
Contribute to Sustainability Goals
While converting to an LSEV fleet is certainly cost-effective in terms of dollars, the most compelling reason is the commitment to infrastructure sustainability. Reducing air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions is not only beneficial to prevent climate change, but it also improves health outcomes for individuals. On average, EV lifetime emissions (including manufacturing carbon) are three times lower than conventional ICE vehicles, and that ratio will only get better as technology improves. Reducing pollution and carbon emissions is not only good for the environment, but is also good for business: companies that adopt environmentally friendly solutions create positive public imaging and brand positioning opportunities and an increasing base of customer loyalty. In a 2019 online survey, 50% of respondents worldwide said they switched products or services because a company violated their values. The number one reason cited for the switch was to support products or services that ‘protect the environment.’ Making the switch to an EV fleet is good for the environment and it’s good for business and branding. The future belongs to those who prioritize sustainability, quality, competitiveness, and technological innovation. These traits, along with strong partnerships, pave the way for progress and success.
AYRO: Driving the Future Forward
Businesses that choose to focus on sustainability, quality, competitiveness, and innovation need partners that understand what drives them. At AYRO, designing zero emissions vehicles that redefine the very nature of sustainability is not just a business model, it’s a passion. AYRO’s latest innovation, the Vanish, is built primarily for use in fleets in organizations ranging from university campuses and airports to resorts and golf courses. It is a utility low-speed electric vehicle intended to improve upon the foundation established by other EV-driven products in the fleet management industry today. LSEVs like the AYRO Vanish are ideal vehicles for supporting last-mile delivery, micro distribution, and other campus or facility needs.
Fleet managers from these types of industries among others are struggling to maintain aging vehicle fleets and manage fuel costs. The AYRO Vanish can replace multiple aging vehicles while also meeting an organization’s sustainability goals. This low-speed electric vehicle fills the gap between full-sized trucks and small utility or golf carts. The Vanish has the payload capacity of a pickup truck, safety features available for on-road use, and is still compact enough to navigate narrow pathways and double doors. The Vanish also offers multiple payload configurations so not only can it replace aging fleet vehicles, but it also can be a versatile solution for a variety of purposes ranging from flatbed, utility bed, and even van and food box vehicle needs.