Are electric vehicles (EVs) really less costly for fleets to maintain than their internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents?
The U.K.-based Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) seeks a” definitive” answer with a new initiative comparing service, maintenance, and repair (SMR) costs between EVs and ICEs, as more EV fleet data becomes available.
The group has appointed an independent consultant begin research and “produce initial results by the end of September,” said AFP Chair Paul Hollick. “This is a fleet subject where it seems to us that some kind of definitive picture is very much needed, and the AFP is well positioned to meet that requirement.”
According to Hollik, much of current comparison data and information is “incomplete, inconsistent or contradictory” and AFP objective was to “cut through the noise to provide something as close as possible to a conclusive guide.”
“There’s been an assumption ever since EVs started appearing on fleets that their SMR would be substantially cheaper than petrol and diesel cars and vans because there are fewer moving and wear parts,” Hollick explained. “However, real world data has until recently been in short supply because comparatively few fleets have been operating EVs for any length of time.”
While anecdotal “work-in-progress” data has shed some light on EV fleet SMR costs, an accurate and consistent picture has been difficult to build, Hollick said. “Some are reporting that SMR profiles are cheaper than ICE vehicles, as expected, but others have seen a more complex picture across different models and types of vehicle, especially when it comes to the wear and prices of EV tires.”
Without available clear data, fleets cannot determine whether their EV SMR costs are “broadly consistent with the rest of the fleet sector and have no way of knowing whether their managerial performance is good, bad or indifferent, and therefore no credible route to benchmarking or developing best practice,” Hollick added.
Now, however, more data may be available for the AFP research since many since many fleets are close to having complete EV lifecycles, illustrating how EVs stand up to wear and tear over a period of time and how this impacts the amount of SMR they require, Hollick pointed out.