Speakers at the National Green Mobility Conference urged operators to do their homework before going green. Sean Keywood reports.
Collecting essential data and planning infrastructure early are among the key things fleet managers should do when they consider adopting electric vehicles.
Those were among the pieces of advice on offer at the first National Green Mobility Conference, organised by What Van?
The event presented a programme of speakers designed to cover all the angles when it comes to EV adoption, as well as the chance for attendees to have a go in some electrified vehicles.
The speakers offered top tips – but also words of caution about vehicle supply and infrastructure development.
Among their number was Paul Hollick, managing director of consultancy TMC and chairman of fleet training organisation ICFM. He said collecting data was crucial to successful electrification.
“Data is essential to developing a strategy,” he said. “It is fundamentally important – to be
able to analyse trips, analyse everything to make sure you can maximise the adoption process.”
Hollick said managers should be able to collect data – including which vehicles they have and where they are – along with trip data, and actual fuel use and cost. He added data could be used to encourage employees into EVs, once they know it’s available.
“Allow employees to put in data from their home domestic supply about how much they have charged up,” he said. “It’s really easy in this day and age to take that data into your organisation and amalgamate it.
“And market data as well, filling stations, where charging points are; give the employees some tools so they know if they adopt an EV there are tools they can use.”
When it comes to charging EVs, Matthew Trevaskis, MD of Ecodrive, advised an early start on preparation.
“In terms of planning fleet deployment, normally you’re not looking at fuelling vehicles yourself – you’re just looking at choosing the right vehicles – but when it comes to charging EVs on site, which will normally be a factor, the earlier you can start planning the easier it will be,” he said.
“We’ve spoken to lots of really well intentioned facilities managers who really know the electricity supply in the building, but forget some of the spatial considerations about how charging points are going to be laid out.
“Who is going to use them? Are they going to be there all day, or are they going in and out from a depot?”
Trevaskis said in an ideal world charging bays would be extended sideways to allow space for side-mounted charging ports on vehicles, but that as this tended not to be popular with facilities managers it might be a factor for choice lists to prefer vehicles that allow nose charging.