Keeping one eye on the future is essential for any fleet manager who wants to stay ahead of the industry curve. In recent years we've seen technology disrupt almost all aspects of our lives, from the way we communicate to how we digest information. Now, with the growing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), technology seems set to revolutionise the logistics industry.
The two key advantages of EVs are centred around reducing environmental impact and improving energy efficiency. It's the latter point that will be most relevant to fleet managers, as the costs involved with charging a car are typically less than filling up a tank with traditional petrol or diesel – even after swiping your business fuel card.
There are only 695 registered electric vehicles in New Zealand.
NZ drivers feel positive about EVs
However, despite the benefits of going electric, few drivers seem prepared to make the leap. There are only 695 registered EVs in New Zealand, according to figures unveiled by Drive Electric, representing a mere fraction of the total number of cars on the road. The infrastructure supporting EVs is in similarly bad shape, with only 74 public charging locations available across the country.
Despite the woeful numbers, the average Kiwi driver feels positive about electric vehicles. Recent research from the University of Otago found that the majority of New Zealanders are prepared to make the move to EVs – though there a few obstacles preventing them from making the switch.
The study found that the majority of local drivers were willing to drive an EV in the future, with 30 per cent declaring they would 'likely' or 'definitely' purchase an EV if the upfront costs were the same as buying a traditionally fuelled vehicle.
What's preventing people from buying an EV?
However, don't start upgrading your fleet just yet. The study also acknowledged that, despite the apparent benefits, there were a number of barriers discouraging people from buying an EV
"EVs are far more cost-effective to run than cars that use diesel or petrol. The challenge is in overcoming the obstacles preventing many New Zealanders from making the switch," said Dr. Rebecca Ford, a researcher at the University of Otago's Centre for Sustainability.
Alongside cost concerns, the deterrents holding Kiwis back from buying an EV are related to the limitations of the vehicles, but as technology continues to advance, these issues are likely to be resolved.
"There appears to be a strong latent appetite for electric vehicles, and the biggest barriers to uptake – cost, range and charge time – will be resolved as EVs continue to get cheaper and more advanced," said Dr. Ford.
While it may be some time until we see widespread adoption of EVs, savvy fleet managers will nevertheless want stay on top of developments in the industry to ensure they're making good use of the technology available to them.