In order to achieve the ambitious goal of a net-zero economy by 2070, it is imperative to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in both private and commercial sectors. Fleet electrification plays a crucial role in this transition. A recent primary survey conducted by British Petroleum (BP) focusing on fleet decision makers revealed that 52% of fleets already have electric vehicles, and 54% of those who don’t plan to switch to EVs within the next five years (BP, 2021). These survey results indicate a positive trajectory for the industry.
Understanding Fleets & Fleet Electrification
Fleets form the backbone of the transportation industry and consist of vehicles owned or leased by businesses, government agencies, or other organizations, rather than individuals or families. Fleet vehicles fulfill various needs, from transporting goods to facilitating daily commutes.
Organizations worldwide are increasingly transitioning to electric fleets, a shift known as fleet electrification. This transition involves replacing current internal combustion engines (ICE) in fleet vehicles with zero-emission electric vehicles. Fleet electrification not only helps reduce carbon footprint and energy consumption but also contributes to the broader goal of sustainability and achieving net zero. Several factors are influencing the uptake of fleet electrification, including environmental impact, availability of supportive infrastructure, demonstration of corporate social responsibility, cost benefits associated with electric fleets, and the availability of diverse options.
The Need for a Shift to Electric Vehicles
India’s transport sector accounts for approximately 14% of the country’s total CO2 emissions (ICCT, 2020), with freight vehicles (HCV and LCV) contributing 38% and intermediate para-transit vehicles contributing 15%. In 2022 alone, around 716,566 of commercial vehicles were sold in India (SIAM, 2022) making it critical for businesses to convert their fleets to zero emission electric vehicles.
Furthermore, corporations are increasingly focusing on environmental, social, and governance issues and setting sustainability targets. Sustainability has evolved into a strategic concern driven by market forces. Today, businesses develop sustainability strategies, market sustainable products, and publish sustainability reports for consumers, investors, activists, and the general public. Consequently, many large companies have announced plans to fully shift to electric mobility as part of their sustainability goals.
Driving Successful Fleet Electrification
The drive towards successful fleet electrification is no longer a vision for the future; it is now a reality. As governments and organizations embrace electric fleets, various factors will contribute to this transition, including power availability, charging infrastructure, and services that support EV charging.
Powering EVs requires significant investment in charging infrastructure. Fleet charging, which currently represents less than 10% of the total charging infrastructure in terms of volume, accounts for 15% of the total market value, according to a report by IDTechEX (2022). With growing interest in fleet electrification, the fleet charging sector is expected to grow rapidly.
Understanding Fleet Charging
As organizations and fleet operators adopt electric vehicle fleets, there is a growing need for EV charging infrastructure to meet the charging requirements of diverse vehicle types. Electric vehicle fleets, including buses and trucks, require different charging infrastructure solutions compared to passenger cars. Therefore, companies transitioning to electric vehicle fleets must carefully plan for charging solutions. Factors such as EV fleet growth, charging station requirements, charging station types, locations, peak demand, vehicle models, and the availability of off-site public charging stations must be considered.
While the majority of EV owners currently charge their vehicles at home, the availability and convenience of public chargers will play a crucial role in achieving complete electrification of vehicle fleets. Public EV charging infrastructure will not only enhance convenience for EV owners but also increase utilization and revenues. It will expand the range of charging options available to EV owners, further boosting the adoption of EVs.
Governance and Policy Reforms
The Electric Vehicle Initiative (EVI), introduced by the Clean Energy Ministerial, is a multinational policy initiative dedicated to accelerating EV adoption worldwide. Participating governments include Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, and others. Numerous global campaigns have also been launched to promote EV deployment, such as the EV30@30 Campaign, Drive to Zero Campaign, GEF-7 Global Programme on Electromobility, and EVI Global EV Pilot City Programme.
These initiatives and programs receive support from national governments, as well as leading state, provincial, regional governments, agencies, companies, and organizations worldwide. Their collective efforts are instrumental in driving fleet electrification and fostering a sustainable future.
It is reassuring that fleet electrification in India is gaining momentum as organizations recognize the importance of reducing carbon emissions and embracing sustainable practices. With the support of favourable policies, adequate charging infrastructure, and increased awareness, the transition to electric fleets will contribute significantly to India’s path towards a greener and more sustainable transportation sector.