What are electric vehicle fleets?
An electric vehicle fleet, or EV fleet, is a group of electric vehicles owned or leased by one company for business purposes.
A lot of companies are switching to EV fleets in order to reduce their carbon emissions and to potentially save on running costs. More than two vehicles is considered a fleet, and many carbon conscious businesses will have multiple EVs in their fleet.
Types of electric vehicles for a fleet
Businesses can choose from a variety of different EVs for their fleet, including:
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
A BEV is the most simple out of all EVs, consisting of a battery and an electric motor. The battery must be plugged into an external source to be charged.
BEVs include vans and cars and are often used by delivery companies to reduce their carbon emissions as they travel around cities and towns.
Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV)
A PHEV features an internal combustion engine (ICE), which is usually petrol, a battery and an electric motor. PHEVs can be used as pure electric vehicles and be powered by the battery alone until it runs out of charge, in which it will then be powered by the ICE.
PHEV include cars, vans, trucks and some lorries.
Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREV)
EREVs have the same elements as plug-in hybrids, but they use them differently which produces less CO2 that a PHEV. The range extender is only used to charge a battery which then supplies the vehicle’s motor with electricity to drive the wheels. The battery can also be charged from an external source.
EREV are commonly used with delivery companies, and usually come in the form of cars, vans and trucks.
Hybrid vehicles have an ICE and an electric motor. Hybrids can be powered either by the engine, the motor or by both working together. The battery in a hybrid is smaller than in PHEV and cannot be charged from an external power source.
Instead, hybrids generate energy through the vehicle’s braking system, which is known as regenerative braking. Hybrid vehicles usually come in the form of cars and vans.
What to consider when planning an electric vehicle fleet
Whether you’re starting up a brand new fleet, or you’re looking to transition from non-electric vehicles, there are a few things you should consider before having an EV fleet.
When you’re upgrading to EV fleets, you will need to consider utility-side upgrades, such as charging locations. Consult with electrical engineers to ensure that all power requirements can be met.
Vehicle and battery size
Prioritise specific operating needs when selecting the type of EV. Consider how far your drivers travel each day, opportunities for charging on route and the fluctuation in miles travelled per day.
Before planning any sort of implementation, you will need to conduct a full study of your fleet. If you have a large fleet, doing a multi-phased approach is the best way to minimise disruptions to operations.
You can then evaluate your current operations model so you can quantify what an average day of travelling looks like. Next, move onto determining a charging scheme, and then plan any operational changes.
Phased installation and fleet implementation
Take a staggered approach to implementing EVs. You can start out with operational testing with low levels of implementation for a slow but effective transition to EVs.
At FleetCover, we work with a range of providers to ensure that all of our insured fleets can get the correct level of insurance for their needs. We provide full fleet insurance for EV fleets, solely electric or hybrid.
Insurance requirements for electric fleets
Just like with any fleet of vehicles, an EV fleet needs to be managed properly and legally. Like any standard policy, your fleet will either be covered by Third Party Only, Third Party Fire and Theft or Comprehensive Cover.
If you have a hybrid or fully electric fleet, you will need to have a tailored policy that effectively covers all elements of EV operations. This includes cover for:
- Hybrid or electric cars, vans and HGVs
- Low emission vehicles
- EV batteries
- EV power sources, like power cables
Pros and cons of insuring electric vehicles in fleets
There are several pros and cons which you should consider when insuring your EV fleet.
Lower maintenance costs
EVs are less mechanically complex than fuel based vehicles, which can mean fewer breakdowns and reduced costs on day-to-day maintenance.
Higher retained value
There is some evidence that EVs may retain more value over time compared to diesel and petrol vehicles, which could have implications on the asset value of fleets as they age.
Training is crucial
As your drivers transition to EVs, they will need some training to familiarise themselves with the new technologies. For example, EVs are quieter than diesel and petrol, and feature instant acceleration, which could have safety implications.
While you may not even think about cyber security with your EV fleet, it is a very important factor to think about. EV charging points can be maliciously exploited in order to seriously damage equipment. This is something to consider when checking what your insurance policy covers.
How to manage insurance for an electric fleet
There are two main aspects to look at within fleet management and insurance, which are charging and maintenance. You will also need to think about how and when you get new vehicles to increase the size of your fleet or when to replace older vehicles.
While there may be unexpected issues that can pop-up without warning, the main things to look for with EV fleets are:
- Vehicle mileage range
- Charging point locations
- Recharge time
- Vehicle maintenance
Insurance risks of electric vehicles in fleets
EVs introduce hazards into the workplace in addition to the risks which are normally presented with regular fuel based vehicles.
Some insurance risks of EV fleets include:
- The presence of high voltage components and cabling
- Increased risk of fires from charging
- Cyber risks presented cybercriminals attacking charging points
- Security of charging cables and wires
Transitioning to an electric vehicle fleet with FleetCover
If you’re looking to transition from regular diesel or petrol vehicles to an electric fleet, the most important step would be to contact a fleet insurance broker, such as our team at FleetCover.
We work with some of the UK’s largest insurance providers for EV fleets to get you professional, hassle-free policy proposals.