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Guide 14:
Analyse how you’re using electric vehicles

Use before and after data from fleet vehicle telematics to determine how electric vehicles are performing in your fleet.

If petrol and diesel vehicles are being used more than electric vehicles, when electric vehicles are available and suitable for the task, investigate the reasons for this.

You can also use staff surveys to see if there are any concerns about electric vehicles that need to be addressed.

Use different ways to communicate

If you have plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in your fleet, check that they are plugged-in and charged regularly. The full emissions reduction benefits and operating cost savings aren’t realised if PHEVs are not charged through an external electricity source. Driver education about regularly plugging-in may be needed.

Adopting electric vehicles into your fleet is often part of wider agency initiatives to reduce emissions and report emissions reduction savings. Smart charging and on-board computers in electric vehicles can provide data on electricity consumption rates, which can be used to report electricity consumption and calculate emissions reductions benefits.

Telematics data may show increases in speeding and harsh acceleration for some first-time electric vehicle drivers, as a result of the high torque and lack of engine noise. You can remind those drivers about the differences between driving electric vehicles and petrol or diesel vehicles and monitor them to check for behavioural improvements.

Driving range

If any electric vehicles in your fleet are not getting the range you expect, consider the following factors which reduce driving range:

  • Hill climbs (even though some electricity is generated and returned to the battery through downhill sections)
  • Higher driving speeds
  • Harsh acceleration and harsh braking
  • Extra people, equipment or towing loads
  • Strong headwinds and very low temperatures
  • The rate at which electricity charges a battery slows down with the amount of charge already in the battery, particularly for direct current (DC) fast charging.
  • Low tyre pressure; new tyres also reduce range in comparison with the worn tyres they replace.
  • Battery capacity reduces slowly with vehicle age, typically by 1-2% per year.

If any of your electric vehicles have a noticeably lower driving range even accounting for these factors, there may be faulty cells in the battery pack. The electric vehicle may provide battery health data which can confirm this issue. In many electric vehicles individual faulty cells can be repaired/replaced without having to replace the whole battery pack. Most electric vehicles now have an 8-year warranty on the battery as standard.