What if we seriously talked about the autonomy of EVs & Hybrids?

The maximum range of an electric vehicle is still the main concern of fleet managers. It rightly creates a barrier to purchase, despite the undeniable advantages of EVs. This is why it is necessary to understand the notions of maximum available range and maximum daily range of a vehicle. It is also necessary to explain to drivers what strongly affects the actual range. Training even when vehicles are purchased can be useful. Especially since it can be free!

Each GFA must therefore ask itself certain questions in order to choose the electric vehicle that is really adapted to the company’s activity.

First, clearly define your needs. Do you need an electric vehicle with a range of over 320 km? Will a battery with a shorter range be sufficient? Wouldn’t a partial electric conversion with a plug-in hybrid (or not) be preferable, given that you sometimes drive more than 600 km in a day?

It is wise to ask yourself, to exchange freely with the stakeholders and not to be tempted because it is “in the air of time”. Don’t be mistaken. This kind of mistake is paid for in cash.

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In addition, it must be taken into consideration that insufficient autonomy forces vehicles to return to a base to recharge the battery. This represents a loss of time and money for fleets. 

This concern was justified a few years ago, when the estimated maximum mileage of electric vehicles was greatly exaggerated. This is less the case today. Let’s not forget that one manufacturer has decided to be completely transparent about the fuel consumption of its two plug-in hybrid models! 

The “new” consumption figures announced are quite different from the first ones. Its small SUV was credited with an average consumption of 1.4 l/100 km for 32 g/km of CO2. Its consumption now “climbs” to 7.0 l/100 km and 163 g/km if it is not regularly loaded. 

The second model, larger, heavier and more powerful, claims a consumption range between “3.1 and 10.4 l/100 km and between 71 and 237 g/km of CO2. Excuse me a little.

Thanks to new generations of batteries, electric vehicle manufacturers have increased the range of their models. Many light vehicles are now capable of driving up to 480 km on a single charge. Despite these advances, range anxiety is often cited as one of the main reasons why fleets don’t transition to electric.

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Why does this concern persist ?

Because the human factor and the actual technical capabilities of the batteries, under normal driving conditions, are often underestimated at the time of purchase. The announced autonomies are often difficult to reach because driving an electric vehicle is not easy and many factors affect the potential mileage. Depending on the type of driving, the speed, the cold, the air conditioning, the heating or the comfort elements, the announced autonomies can indeed be greatly reduced. Driving in a way that optimizes the battery can be learned. 

Indeed, the recovery of energy during braking is a factor allowing you to drive longer. Specifically, when you brake, the car will use the energy of the car to produce electricity and recharge the battery. But, driving on national roads and, a fortiori, on highways does not make it easy to recover energy. 

Think about it before you complain!

The best thing to do is to have your employees test the model you are interested in “before you buy” and in real traffic conditions. Include in the test drivers whose usual mileage varies greatly. Realistic GFAs know that you should always go for a model with twice the range of the number of kilometers you drive on a daily basis. Otherwise, you’re headed straight for some painful surprises!

It is clear that we are now witnessing a number of disappointments due to ignorance of these facts.

One last tip

Get advice from an independent expert! For a small fee, and sometimes even free, you can avoid many pitfalls. Electricity is not “one size fits all”. Each company has its own characteristics. Taking this into account will avoid turning into a fiasco, which is an excellent initiative if it is well done.

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