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Vehicle fleets key early opportunity for Electric Vehicles

29 September 2010
Vehicle fleets key early opportunity for Electric Vehicles

Last week The Climate Group hosted an interactive web conference which discussed the barriers and opportunities associated with Electric Vehicles and in particular why vehicle fleets are a key early market opportunity. Speakers included Jim Walker (International Programmes & Strategy Director, The Climate Group), Sylvain Fresnault (Procurement Development Director, La Poste) and Ruben van Doorn (Project Director, TNT).

Key messages from this session can be found below:

  • Carbon reductions will be magnified with a switch to cleaner sources of electricity
    EVs can play a key role in balancing the grid (selling charge back to the grid during peak demand and storing off-peak renewable generation).
  • Battery technology is rapidly advancing, especially Lithium Ion
    Range is still an issue but it is sufficient for most journeys.
  • EVs can be highly visible indicators of societal change
    EVs represent a more visible change than (for example) changing electricity supplier or light bulb technology.
  • Big sales of EVs are needed by 2020
    7 million annual sales of EVs and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) are needed by 2020 to be on track to reduce 50% reduction of energy related emissions by 2050.
  • Vehicle fleets are a key early market opportunity for EVs
    Cars and vehicles in fleets are typically used more than private vehicles and have the potential for quicker payback time, particularly when lower maintenance is included. Many delivery fleets are also less dependent on public charging infrastructure as they can recharge at depot, although challenges still remain for many fleet passenger vehicles.
  • The French Government is targeting the procurement of 50,000 EVs in the next 5 years
    The French central purchasing authority UGAP (l’Union des Groupements d’Achats Publics) has issued a call for tenders for the purchase of approximately 50,000 electric vehicles. There were no requirements for local suppliers in this tender, but there were specific conditions on price and performance.
  • Dutch logistics firm TNT initiated the buying consortium DC-TEC to give a clear signal to manufacturers that buyers are ready
    TNT is currently working with suppliers and governments to realize this. The 20 companies in the DC-TEC consortium are working towards procurement of 3,000 vehicles. The main elements of procurement tender include performance and cost requirements. The most important aspect is achieving a neutral business case.
  • Vehicle fleets have different demands
    Vehicles that weigh up to 7.5t and travel no further than 150km are suitable for battery electric vehicles. PHEVs are suitable for longer journeys and 2nd or 3rd generation biofuels currently most suitable for heavier trucks.
  • A major barrier to companies joining DC-TEC is the range of EVs
    Owners/leasers of company car fleets are unsure of the range their staff will be required to drive. At logistics firms such as TNT it is already known how far the cars will need to go, so this is less of an issue.

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