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Electric vehicles are rapidly becoming a significant part of many fleets. But in the learning curve of decarbonisation, new fleet management challenges are emerging particularly when it comes to charging costs.

Drivers could end up paying nearly 10 times more to charge at some locations compared with the cheapest outlets. For the unwary, it can make recharging more expensive than filling up with petrol or diesel.

Unlike traditional petrol and diesel vehicles, there is a much greater choice of options available for where and when you charge EVs. You can plug in overnight at home; or when you get to work in the morning; a client may have a charger; or you might visit a fast charger on the motorway.

This flexibility creates a new layer of complexity for EVs, because the price of charging varies so much. In fact, an electric car could cost much more to fuel than a petrol or diesel vehicle, depending on the choices drivers make. Vehicle operators need to monitor and manage electric vehicles closely, particularly when they are first deployed to the fleet frontline.


Watts the cost of recharging?

Whenever you plug in an electric vehicle, the cost is measured in pence per kWh; the bigger the battery (also measured in kWh) the more energy you need to replenish it. The cost of this energy can vary from 7.5 pence per kWh for off-peak charging at home to more than 70p/kWh at some public fast chargers.

This means the cost of completely charging a 53kWh battery can range from £4 to nearly £40. As electric vehicles cover less distance on a full battery than a petrol or diesel model on a full tank of fuel, another layer of analysis is needed.

Typically, an electric vehicle will cover four miles per kWh, depending on driving style, temperature and use of equipment, such as heating. So, using the variety of charging tariffs, electricity could cost 1.9 pence per mile or up to 17.5 pence per mile. For comparison, petrol and diesel vehicle fuel costs are typically around 10-12 pence per mile.

So, without careful management, your business could be spending more on fuelling plug-in vehicles than on older fleet technology.


Plugging into insights

An additional complication is extracting charging cost data if it is simply included in your general electricity bill.

There is a risk of spending hours of management time each week putting your electrons under the microscope to understand what the fuel bill is for electric cars.

TMC is working with fleet operators and drivers to help keep these charging costs to a minimum.

We support fleet managers with strategies to monitor and control costs, while educating drivers about the best and most efficient options when it comes to recharging.

The TMC system can filter valuable insights from a mass of complex data, so you can understand the true costs of electric motoring and ensure the expected efficiencies are achieved.

The TMC system captures data from drivers, telematics, our own industry-leading mileage tracking app, energy bills, and payment card data to provide a consolidated view of drivers’ ‘fuel’ spend.

This allows fleet managers to understand and control costs, including auditing data to identify the biggest savings.

For example, we can audit the overall cost per kWh, then advise employees how to reduce it by charging at home, overnight, or at cheaper locations.

When matched to telematics data, we can even pinpoint problem areas for charging costs and identify alternatives that suit a driver’s travel patterns.

Traditional fleet management skills remain just as relevant now, in the electric vehicle age, as they have always been, but the level of complexity related to running costs has increased.

Careful management and collaborating with an expert partner, such as TMC, can ensure that switching to electric vehicles doesn’t lead to the shocking realisation that you are being overcharged for charging.


Find out more about the multi-award-winning services available from TMC and how we identify innovative solutions to reduce both client expenditure and employee costs.