What HR needs to know about the rise of electric vehicles

What HR needs to know about the rise of electric vehicles
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The rise of electric and hybrid vehicles is creating challenges for businesses when it comes to both staff and customers.

According to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), low emission vehicles are outstripping the wider market across all categories. In the last year, sales of plug-in hybrids have more than doubled, while pure electric vehicle sales have increased by about 50%.

Phil Gilbert, Director of Customer Solutions at E.ON for Business, says this rise in low emission vehicles will result in a number of new issues for organisations to consider.

The first is in providing the charging infrastructure to manage employee demand. Gilbert explains: “Electric vehicle charging at work - at one stage possibly relegated to a forgotten corner of the car park - is now rising on the agenda for many companies, with charging bays fast becoming some of the most prized spots on the lot.”

And it is also customer demands that need to be managed too. He continues: “From a purely commercial perspective, just as shopping centre visitors and hotel guests have come to expect Wi-Fi as standard, it’s plausible to assume there will be significant benefits for businesses able to service those customers who demand similar facilities when it comes to vehicle charging.”

Unsurprisingly, the rise in low emission vehicles impacts fleet management too. But “any increased power demand from electrifying the fleet can be offset against the fossil miles being displaced by taking diesel vans off the road. From an energy/fuel perspective that could lead to an overall reduction in fleet costs as well as a possible improvement in fuel efficiency.”

According to E.ON’s own trial of their field operations teams, each vehicle saved approximately £513 on annual running costs compared to diesel alternatives based on an average travelling distance of 15,000 miles a year. This also reduced carbon emissions by more than 1,400kg.

It is the latter that Gilbert highlights as another growing consideration for businesses, as forthcoming legislation on ultra-low emission zones (ULEZ) in dense urban areas will be harder to meet.

He says making sure your fleet is ‘green’ will “become more vital as cities progress towards ULEZ restrictions to improve air quality in built-up areas – with London confirmed as the world’s first to launch in September 2020.

“ULEZ will require vehicles travelling in the congestion charge zone to meet new emission standards 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or pay a daily charge.”


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