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Home » Fintech » ​​​Electric vehicle popularity and growth set to accelerate into 2024

Carlos Carriedo

International Chief Operating Officer, WEX

Electric vehicles are increasingly commonplace, but some fleet managers have been hesitant to adopt the trend, and commercial viability is one reason why, explains Carlos Carriedo, Chief Operating Officer, International at WEX.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining popularity in private motoring, but their integration into commercial fleets has been less confident. This is partly due to manufacturers’ focus on private vehicles and fleet managers’ cautious purchasing decisions. However, 2024 is expected to see significant progress made around the transition to electric or mixed energy fleets due to a better understanding of their operational benefits, the launch of new vehicle models and a growth in charging infrastructure.

Overcoming the hurdles

Not all parts of a fleet are suitable for switching to the current range of EVs, but for categories that are, there are positive signs. External factors are driving a shift in business perspectives as fleet managers consider adding EVs into their fleet alongside traditional gas-powered vehicles. EVs offer lower operating costs due to reduced maintenance, while addressing environmental concerns. Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests EVs attract new drivers due to their benefits, such as overnight charging and ease of use.

Impact on supply chains

There are clearly strong and compelling reasons around transitioning to an electric or hybrid fleet, but there also needs to be a clear understanding about how the switch will impact established business practices.

Servicing a complex supply chain, with fluctuating routes, using conventional vehicles requires a different approach when EVs are deployed. Fleet managers need to be reassured that making the change won’t have negative commercial ramifications.

Charging concerns

One of the biggest concerns remains charging. Should it be done in a depot, at the driver’s home or on the road, and what technologies are needed to support it? According to feedback from clients, the potential use of multiple apps adds confusion and uncertainty. WEX has already successfully streamlined conventional fleet fuelling with our payment card, so we have learnings to inform hybrid fleet management.

We are actively investing in technology
and partnerships which are working
towards maximising EV benefits.

Vehicle performance

Another area of interest centres around vehicle performance. Manufacturer-quoted figures aren’t always replicated in the real world as ideal driving conditions are rarely consistent away from the test track.

Fleet managers are naturally curious. On one hand, there may be pressure to look at greener ways of working but, conversely, they must be certain the level of service provided is the same, if not better, with a hybrid fleet.

Simplification is key to success

The next gen connectivity available from EVs is another potential benefit. Fleet managers are gaining access to journey data and real-time feedback. This is helping optimise their fleets in ways that were previously impossible. ​​Once again, though, there are concerns around added complexity, which is where the extensive experience of WEX can help – simplification is our key to success.

Delivering a competitive advantage

We are actively investing in technology and partnerships, which are working towards maximising EV benefits, such as software development to ensure charging reduces costs and emissions. With the right tools, this growing pool of data can make the lives of fleet managers easier in terms of optimising journey planning and vehicle deployment, which could deliver a competitive advantage.

The commercial adoption of EVs remains fluid. The use of artificial intelligence is coming into play, but as with all technology-led developments, it can be hard to know what will next disrupt the status quo. That’s part of what keeps this market so exciting.

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