Geotab study shows European light-duty fleet vehicles could save nearly £218 million by going electric

Geotab, a global leader in IoT and connected transportation, has announced the results of its new research study. It found that 60% of analysed light-duty European fleet vehicles could be switched to fully electric vehicles (EVs) today at a lower total cost of ownership to save a total of nearly £218 million over a seven-year service life. 

The UK market specifically, despite the ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) car sales in 2030 — ahead of the EU in 2035, is lagging behind the rest of Europe in EV economic suitability.

Launched ahead of World EV Day+20 on 29 September, the findings come from Geotab’s Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment tool (EVSA). This analysed the de-identified driving patterns of 46,000 connected ICE vehicles from 17 countries, including France, Germany, Spain, Italy  and the UK. 

The study, Profitable Sustainability: The Potential of European Fleet Electrification, reviewed the operational cost and environmental impact of traditional petrol and diesel light commercial vehicles (including passenger vehicles, SUVs, minivans and light-commercial vans) and compared them with their battery electric counterparts. 

By using real-world electric vehicle performance data, Geotab has provided compelling evidence around the return on investment (ROI) and the positive sustainability impact of switching to EVs today. 

According to the data, fleet managers can expect to see average savings of £7,960 per vehicle over a seven-year period. This is even without factoring in savings from government incentives, like initial purchase price discounts. 

Looking at the sustainability impact of going electric, the saving per vehicle equates to cutting an average of more than five tonnes of tailpipe carbon emissions per vehicle. In aggregate across all analysed vehicles, that is the equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 2.6 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years. 

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The report shows that government incentives could be vital in enabling companies to make a cost-effective switch to EV technology. Government incentives vary widely from country to country, 10 members of the EU don’t provide any cash incentives at all, with the UK scrapping its plug-in car grant (PICG) entirely earlier this year. 

When it comes to how organisations could be using current EV models within their fleets, the research revealed that across the European countries in the analysis, 86% of fleet range needs can be satisfied by an EV for 98% of the time. 

This indicates that range anxiety, a long-standing counterpoint against EV adoption, is far less of a concern for the majority of today’s light-commercial fleet applications. With a sample incentive of £5,442 the cost-effectiveness of an electric vehicle increases by 9 percentage points

Specifically, in the UK, it has the highest share of EVs with a high range capability of 89%. This is followed by Spain (86%), Netherlands (85%), Italy (77%), Germany (76%) and France (63%). However, it also has the lowest economical viability, with 34% of vehicles range capable but not economical; an increase following the cessation of the PICG.

When looking specifically at cost-effectiveness, the UK was outpaced by Continental Europe. Some 71% of EV matches in Italy were found to be both range capable and economical, while Spain (70%) and Germany (69%) boast similar numbers. In the UK, that number is only 55%.

David Savage, Geotab vice president, UK & Ireland, said:  “The launch of this research illustrates the clear potential and ROI for transitioning to electric vehicles, helping fleets to achieve their sustainability objectives.

“However, it also demonstrates—particularly in the case of the UK—the importance of adequate government incentives to accelerate EV adoption at scale. 

“The UK has been aggressive in its announced cessation of ICE-based vehicle sales by 2030, however, its termination of the plug-in car grant earlier this year has demonstrably stifled the economic viability of this transition, according to this research.”

This study shows that there are huge savings to be had by converting fleets to electric. Not only does it save in running and servicing costs but saves money with the growing number of zero emission zones that are charging for ICE vehicles to enter them. It also helps fleets meet their sustainability targets but best of all it helps to save the planet.

Klaus Böckers, Geotab Nordics, Central & Eastern Europe vice president, said: “The ability of today’s EVs to meet European fleets’ needs is encouraging. Fleet electrification is a gradual process and this study highlights that companies should recognise that profits and sustainability go hand in hand. 

“Sustainability is becoming an important part of every company’s mission, and transportation is an important component of that mix. In fact, it’s a great time to start piloting smaller EV deployments before scaling.

“Telematics data will be critical, no matter where organisations are in their EV adoption stage, because it will help  them operate their entire fleet in more efficient and sustainable ways.”

Users can take advantage of Geotab’s Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment (EVSA) tool. This uses organisations’ existing driving profiles and Geotab’s unique level of insight into fleet behaviour to answer key questions for businesses considering electrification.

Through analysing driving behaviour, the EVSA identifies which existing vehicles are a good fit for electrification, suggests suitable EV replacement models and quantifies how much the organisation can save in both cost and potential carbon emission reduction. 

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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