The recent Global Fleet Advisory Board (GFAB) meeting, hosted by Automotive Fleet/Global Fleet editor Mike Antich, considered whether increasing volumes of EVs would widen pricing gaps between fleet suppliers.
The ensuing discussion was certainly wide-ranging, but what was crystal clear to fleet managers present was that supply and lack of pricing guarantee was causing real pain — especially with long-standing relationships.
While it was suggested that better communication might help matters, this was quickly dismissed by participants as “wishful thinking” with OEMs “continuing to do what they want to do.”
Opinion was also divided on whether incentives would return any time soon, particularly around EVs.
The discussion then took a turn on to the actual “greenness” of EVs with Tom Armstrong (TK Elevators) saying he was looking to run F-150 Lightnings for seven years rather than four, in part to ameliorate the cost and to ensure the greater length of time improved the carbon footprint of the vehicles.
Mark Peabody (3M) said implementing EV expansion in Europe was a slow and methodical process with plenty to consider — “We’re looking at energy generation, particularly in Germany and how that energy is produced.”
Turning to the new wave of Chinese EVs, questions were raised about fleet suitability and how much impact they would have on the market as well as potential service, maintenance and repair (SMR) costs.
From Mexico’s point of view, the impact had been entirely positive, according to Javier Amozurrutia at MazMobi.
“The number of Chinese vehicles were growing on fleet, funded through leasing companies which were pushing them strongly because of competitive TCO,” he said.
When questioned about SMR costs on these vehicles, Amozurrutia responded that an insurance company had been running 20 Chinese Jac brand EVs for 18 months and “was really happy with them.” He also added that BYD had a program with ride-hailing company Uber, “So you see them on the streets every day, and the performance is really good.”
Tracey Swanson (FortisBC) added, as a concluding remark to the meeting, that “China will put some competitive pressure on the mainstream brands” — which may be just the thing to bring OEM incentives back for fleets.
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