Electric vehicles are fast becoming an important part of the fleet for many organisations. Not only are they an effective tool to help organisations achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets, but they also help improve fleet operating costs due to low running and maintenance costs. They also signal to customers that you are a forward-thinking organisation.
But to get ahead of the curve and start implementing EVs into your fleet, it’s important to appropriately plan and consider how electric vehicles will operate as part of your overall fleet strategy. In 2023, there is a lot of real-world data that highlights where EVs are the perfect replacements for standard Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, and where they’re not a great fit. Those insights have been included in Smartrak’s handy EV Fleet Management Guide to help organisations identify opportunities, develop a strategy to streamline the adoption of EVS, and lay the groundwork for effective EV fleet management.
There are multiple reasons why organisations are actively transitioning to EVs. One of the most significant is the positive impact going electric can have on the environment. In New Zealand, transport emissions are the fastest-growing contributor to total emissions. In Australia, it’s much the same story with transport accounting for 19% of emissions and tipped to be the largest contributor by 2030 unless there’s meaningful change. As the world becomes increasingly conscious of climate change and the need to reduce carbon emissions, businesses are recognising the positive role they can play in achieving sustainability goals through their fleet management strategy.
By transitioning to electric vehicles, fleets can significantly reduce their carbon footprint. EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, which means they do not release harmful pollutants into the atmosphere during operation. This reduction in carbon emissions helps combat air pollution and contributes to the overall fight against climate change.
On the other hand, traditional ICE vehicles are significant contributors to emissions, with passenger cars and light vehicles contributing 60% of Australia’s total transport-associated emissions. A petrol vehicle produces 2.31kgs of CO2 per litre of petrol burned contributing to poor air quality with pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Switching to EVs helps mitigate these harmful emissions, leading to improved air quality in urban areas and a healthier environment for both employees and communities.
Global warming is generating the impetus for change with many organisations setting sustainability goals as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives. A report by McKinsey points out that 83% of Fortune Global 500 companies have corporate targets around climate change. For fleet owners, incorporating EVs into their fleet management strategies is an effective way to align with these goals and demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices. By actively reducing their carbon footprint, companies can enhance their reputation as environmentally responsible entities.
Apart from the environmental benefits, EV fleet management offers compelling cost-saving advantages and improved operational efficiency, making it an attractive choice for businesses looking to optimise their fleet operations.
EVs have lower running costs compared to traditional petrol or diesel vehicles. Using electricity to power vehicles rather than fossil fuels delivers immediate and ongoing savings. To put the savings into perspective: running an EV is the equivalent of paying just 40 cents per litre for petrol. Electricity prices also tend to be more stable and predictable than volatile fossil fuel prices, resulting in long-term cost savings.
Additionally, EVs have fewer moving parts and require less frequent maintenance, leading to reduced maintenance expenses. The savings can be substantial when you factor in fewer oil changes, fewer mechanical components to maintain and replace, and the longer warranties that are often available compared to ICE vehicles. New Zealand research indicates that an EV racks up just 67% of the costs associated with petrol alternatives.
EV fleet management systems often incorporate advanced telematics and GPS tracking technologies, providing real-time data on vehicle locations, battery status, and performance. This data enables fleet managers to optimise routes, improve scheduling, and minimise vehicle downtime. By streamlining operations and enhancing logistics, businesses can achieve higher productivity levels, reduce idle time, and deliver improved customer service.
In today's competitive business landscape, maintaining a positive brand image and appealing to customers' values are crucial. Embracing EV fleet management can have a significant impact on a company's reputation and customer appeal.
Consumers are increasingly seeking out businesses that demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices. By operating an EV fleet, companies showcase their environmental consciousness and align with the values of eco-conscious customers. This alignment can foster customer loyalty and attract new environmentally aware clientele. Government fleets should also expect that their own efforts to transition to more sustainable fleet operations will come under the same scrutiny from rates and taxpayers.
Even before you start running your EVs, you could be in for some savings because of the government rebates and incentives available on both sides of the Tasman (Government incentives across both territories). These incentives can include tax credits, rebates, grants for charging infrastructure installation, and access to restricted zones or preferential parking. Taking advantage of these incentives can significantly offset the initial investment costs and further enhance the financial viability of EV fleet management.
In Australia, each State or Territory has its own set of policies to support EV adoption, which can be a challenge to navigate, especially as the differences can be quite dramatic. For example, the discount on vehicle registrations over a five-year period ranges from $2,013.30 in the Australian Capital Territory to nothing in New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia.
Things are simpler in New Zealand with the rebate for new zero-emissions vehicles set at $7,015, which is claimed by the vehicle purchaser from the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).
Along with incentives, EV drivers should also expect revenue collection efforts to become more of a feature as governments seek to claw back money that’s being lost in fuel excise. Because EV drivers don’t buy petrol or diesel, they in effect don’t contribute to the traditional funding model for roads. Victoria is already moving to address this by requiring the kilometres travelled each year by an EV to be reported and a fee payable per kilometre.
EV fleet management doesn’t have to be complex; with the right EV management strategy you will be able to integrate EVs into your fleet and maximise their utilisation with no extra admin burden. To get you started, we’ve drawn on the experiences of fleets that have made EV adoption a key operational goal and succeeded. They have recognised the opportunity and utilised the available technology to reduce emissions and operating costs.
Before you can pull the trigger and place the order for those shiny new EVs, it’s important to take the necessary time to plan and assess exactly what the current and future needs of your fleet are going to be. Laying the groundwork now will pay dividends down the road. Not only will it give you the information necessary to assess the return on your new fleet investments, but also that you’ve taken into account any costs associated with adopting EVs such as the purchase price, how they fit in with leasing, and installing chargers at your premises.
If you have telematics deployed with your fleet, you will be in a good position to accurately assess EV fleet management suitability. Organisations are often surprised to discover just how many fleet roles are suitable for EVs once they look at actual trip data. The common misconception that range is going to be a limiting factor is nearly always debunked when use cases are measured against the impressive ranges available with modern EVs.
Aside from range, vehicle type and operational requirements may rule out EVs for some roles. Specialist vehicles with power take-off or towing capabilities are potential examples of this. However, don’t fall into the trap of assuming that anecdotal evidence of 4WD capability being necessary is accurate. Once again, let the actual trip data be your guide; there are lots of utes and 4Wds running around town that never leave the tarmac.
If you’re serious about making the switch to electric vehicles, you need to lay out your strategy for EV fleet management so other departments can get on board too. An element of this should involve mapping out where you want to take the fleet and why.
Charging infrastructure is an essential component of any EV fleet management strategy.
Some organisations elect to go for a 1:1 charging ratio. This ensures that every vehicle has its charging bay and theoretically will always be plugged in when not in use. This ensures that Fleet Managers can keep tabs on each vehicle’s range and charge status via connected smart charging infrastructure.
Other fleets opt for smaller charging ratios, such as 1:2, 1:3, or even 1:4 chargers to vehicles. This is a much more cost-effective option, but it does mean that there will be greater pressure on Fleet Managers to juggle the logistics of swapping vehicles in and out of charging bays.
Last year we held round table discussions with several organisations in New Zealand and Australia about their EV transition, and most had learned that a 1:4 ratio was a happy medium between installation costs and fleet management.
For ratios higher than 1:1 you could consider deploying technology that can provide critical EV data remotely. This will tell you what the battery charge is for each EV in the fleet, the range available with that charge, and whether an EV is currently plugged into a charger. With this visibility, you can prioritise EVs with low battery levels for a charger and leave those with adequate charge till later. This is also valuable for end-users that want to know not only that the vehicle they’re going to drive has the theoretical range for their trip, but that it has sufficient charge to do the trip when they need it.
It’s also worth considering that modern EVs have impressive range capabilities, rendering it highly unlikely they will need charging every day. One Smartrak customer discovered that a single charge was sufficient for practically all EVs in the fleet to carry out a whole week of duties.
Previous experience with installing EV chargers in the workplace highlights how the process is not necessarily straightforward. The cost difference can run into thousands of dollars.
Several factors can impact the cost and complexity of installing EV chargers in the workplace, with single-phase or three-phase power, exceeding the power supply to your premises, and charger security being the most prevalent.
Most workplaces will only have single-phase power, which limits you to a charger requiring up to eight hours to bring a battery up to full charge (dependent on the battery capacity, of course). Although actual fleet experience indicates that two to four hours is normally enough to top up a battery during most use cases.
If you have, or can bring, three-phase power onto your site there’s also the option of 22kw fast charging which will bring an EV battery up to ‘full’ in 1-2 hours. Three-phase power can be run into most buildings, but either way, you are going to need the services of an electrician to install the chargers and an ok from your landlord.
The amount of power going into a site is finite. The capacity of the power board and the power requirements of other businesses on your site are all factors that will govern the ability and cost of installing those fast chargers in the car park. Find out about these requirements before you go too far.
If you share a car park, it’s worth considering how you’ll control who has access to your chargers. RFID card authorisations are available with commercially available chargers and there are several locking solutions to stop people simply taking the charging lead or charging their EVs for free.
Ensure chargers are positioned so at least two EVs can access each charger. This will speed up swap-overs and remove the need to physically move an EV to free up the charger for other vehicles. Also, consider demarcating EV charging points so conventional vehicles don’t occupy these spots. (image to support this point)
Fleet tracking is an invaluable tool to uncover hidden insights about your fleet and is essential if your EV adoption goals extend beyond having one or two token EVs. Nick Robilliard of Meridian Energy says: “Data is the enabler,” and he has first-hand knowledge of data’s power to generate real change. When Meridian Energy first looked at transitioning their white fleet to electric the anecdotal evidence about the range requirements for vehicles suggested that 60-70% of the fleet could successfully transition to EV. However, the data painted a different picture of actual journey distances and now Meridian’s white fleet is entirely electric.
There are many ways organisations can track fleet utilisation. You could simply rely on seeing which vehicles are absent from the car park or use paper-based logs to track vehicle use. With a small fleet either of these could suffice for a base-level understanding, but to gain in-depth knowledge or to accurately understand the utilisation of a large fleet, you’re going to need telematics.
The insights gained through telematics support three important aspects in the formation of an EV fleet management strategy. As discussed, telematics is going to provide a clear understanding of the potential for EV adoption; it will also highlight whether there’s waste that can be reduced by correctly sizing your fleet to operational requirements and whether you have the right vehicle mix.
Ensuring your fleet is the right size and has the right vehicles for your fleet’s operational profile is important to your goals for EV adoption in two ways: a more efficient fleet saves money that can then be reinvested back into the fleet, helping to offset your EV purchases. A more efficient fleet is also going to burn less fuel to do its required tasks which will also help in reducing emissions.
This is one of the most important activities you should be undertaking as part of any fleet strategy. Using data to understand if your fleet is the correct size (often called right-sizing), can be an eye-opening and rewarding experience for Fleet Mangers. This is because the acquisition, maintenance, and disposal of fleet assets is an expensive process, and without data, you’re having to rely on intuition and anecdotal evidence to guide the process.
Telematics brings clarity to your assessment of whether you have the right number of vehicles in several ways. It could be that you’re holding on to underutilised vehicles to meet occasions of peak demand. Telematics will highlight the reasons behind these periods and provide insights that help to suppress peak demand. If peak demand for cars occurs between 10 am and 2 pm, Tuesday to Thursday (because that’s when client visits predominantly occur) consider running teams as business units/profit centres with lower rates on Mondays and Fridays. As a more positive reinforcement of behaviour, look at a competition to make bookings out of peak time and give prizes to the team that achieves the best track record. Both of these could drive behavioural change.
Telematics will also indicate where vehicles are being used for very short trips and where alternative modes of transport would be better, such as an Uber or even taking an eBike. Offering alternatives to using a pool car and questioning whether a trip is even necessary and suggesting a virtual meeting instead will all help to reduce demand on your fleet.
The process of assessing and adjusting the makeup of your fleet against the actual trip data is what we refer to as right typing (or right shaping). It ensures that you have the right vehicles for the job without overcommitting to vehicles like 4WDs or SUVs that are costly to acquire and expensive to maintain and run.
There are legitimate reasons why you may need to include 4WDs as part of your fleet. But without hard data, it’s impossible to say with confidence that those specialist vehicles are being used for their intended purpose. Telematics can shed light on if this is the case; simply by analysing a vehicle’s historical trip data, you will be able to quantify what percentage of trips were done off-road. If the number is lower than you realised, there could be an opportunity to replace that high-emission 4WD with a more sustainable EV.
Including the users of vehicles should be an integral part of your EV fleet management strategy. Find out who takes vehicles home at the end of the day and consider what your approach to charging at home is going to be. And try to address any EV resistance due to range concerns by sharing the data to prove an EV is up to the task.
Aside from purchasing your EVs you should also factor in possible investments in technology to ensure a successful EV fleet management strategy. As has been demonstrated so far, (and will continue to be evident in the next stage) having comprehensive operational visibility of EVs (battery data and utilisation) is pivotal maximising their utilisation.
The technology adoptions that should be considered are:
This ensures visibility of EV battery data to maximise EV utilisation. This solution also supports the charger strategy by notifying when an EV is on a charger and its current battery level. With this knowledge, managers/employees can rotate out EVs to maximise charger utilisation.
A pool vehicle booking solution that will actively promote and support EV use should be integrated with the telematics solution so it can provide EV battery data directly into the booking process. A vehicle booker will be able to book an EV confident it has the charge/range required to complete the trip. The solution also supports organisational goals by prioritising vehicles based on aspects such as low/zero emissions or lease health.
|Product||Type of purchase required|
|EV purchase||Purchase or lease through FMO|
|EV-capable telematics||Device purchase/lease|
|Pool booking||Software subscription|
|Solution training||Depending on what's required, this could be included in the purchase agreement|
There’s nothing wrong with using a limited deployment to validate the strategy you’ve come up with during the Planning Stage. Equipping a couple of EVs with tracking that’s compatible with them will start building a picture of how they are being used and how your charging strategy is measuring up. These are invaluable learnings. The experiences gained from other fleets about their EV deployments are important, but every fleet is different, and your strategy needs to be informed by the experiences gained from your own fleet.
This is probably the single most mentioned issue when it comes to adopting EVs, and it’s closely linked to often unwarranted concerns about EV range. It’s worth noting that the average daily distance travelled in a vehicle in New Zealand is 28.5km, with 90% of journeys under 90km. In New South Wales, Australia, the average Kms covered in a day is 43km.
With these numbers, it’s easy to see that EVs are equal to the task in 90% of use cases. The issue is breaking old habits. The idea of hanging around for an hour to get a decent charge is hard to accept if we are used to pulling into a petrol station to fill up when the tank warning light flashes orange.
With an EV, it pays to get into a routine. Charge up each night and you’re going to be okay the vast majority of the time. For other occasions, there are several apps detailing charging opportunities to help employees plan ahead. Including a battery top-up within a designated meal break during the day is a strategy Meridian Energy has used to successfully address driver fatigue alongside extending the operating range of EVs.
There are also apps available that make it easier to find charging stations along your proposed route so you can plan recharging stops. Of course, it can be frustrating to turn up at one of these charging points only to discover it’s an ICE vehicle parked at the charger rather than a charging EV. This is known as being ‘ICEed’ and various governments and authorities are now taking steps to address the issue. Fines for blocking access to chargers are in place with four jurisdictions, with penalties ranging from $369 in Victoria to $3,200 in the ACT.
It should be relatively easy to keep the EVs in your test deployment busy, but your goals are going to be bigger than that. Use the technology available in your fleet booking platform to prioritise EVs with bookers and make it easy to say ‘yes’ by deploying real-time battery state visibility. If your existing EVs are well utilised it will provide confidence to expand deployment.
In a relatively short time, the data from the test deployment will be highlighting the suitability of EVs across an increasing breadth of the fleet. Use this information to identify vehicles that are coming to the end of their lease terms and place orders for EVs as their replacements.
If you have deployed Emissions Reporting the highest-emitting vehicles will be presenting themselves as candidates for EV replacement. Share this knowledge with the C-Suite so they understand the impact EV adoption is having on fleet emissions and use your other reports to demonstrate the reduced running costs of EVs (you will now have the data to provide direct comparisons).
A comprehensive EV fleet management strategy doesn’t end when you take ownership of your new fleet vehicles. If you’ve spent the time and effort considering and working through the points raised in Stages One and Two, then congratulations! You’ve successfully laid the groundwork for managing an EV fleet. But this isn’t the end of the road; there’s plenty more to do to successfully manage an EV fleet.
Like any new technology, EVs present a range of unique challenges. By anticipating these challenges and adopting solutions that eliminate roadblocks and potential friction, you set your organisation up for the best chance of success.
Fleet Managers will no doubt be familiar with monitoring the fuel usage of their fleet. Usually, this is done via a fuel card provider and analysed retrospectively on a monthly or quarterly basis. This analysis ensures you can identify issues such as excessive idling (frequent refuelling despite low mileage) or fuel theft.
Due to their nature, EVs require a different approach. Instead of analysing fuel retrospectively, EVs require proactive management to ensure that they have sufficient charge for upcoming journeys. Unlike ICE vehicles, which can fill up at any petrol station in under five minutes, EVs need time to charge their batteries. That means you need a way to see real-time data on the status of your EV fleet.
While many EVs have a smartphone companion app that shows the current charge and available range, you’ll only be able to monitor one vehicle at a time. And for the ones that don’t have an app, you’ll need to do a physical inspection to check the battery status. Talk about a time sink. The alternative is to find a solution that offers tracking and real-time data on every EV in your fleet, providing unrivalled visibility and reporting capabilities.
This visibility unlocks an effective EV fleet management strategy. Real-time EV data at your fingertips means drivers are not constantly running to the car park to check the status of individual vehicles. There’s also the potential to feed that data into other systems via APIs, ensuring your EV data is visible where you need it most. For managers, knowing that an EV out on the road has sufficient charge for additional tasks aids operational agility and further maximises utilisation.
Real-time EV data offers visibility about an EV’s battery level and the projected distance on that charge. It also goes a long way to providing confidence to vehicle users that their chosen vehicle is capable of doing the proposed trip. However, it bears considering that unless end-users have a way to easily check an EV’s current status, they will likely still be resistant to adoption. This issue relates to the range anxiety that is commonly an underlying reason for EV resistance, when it’s not actually a cause for concern in most use cases. The average daily distance for NZ drivers is around 28.5 km, and 43km in Australia, both of which are easily within EV battery range.
Deploying an integrated booking platform could help here, by alerting an unaware booker if they try to book an EV for a trip the system has ascertained is beyond the scope of the EV’s current battery level. It’s a foolproof system. You could also incorporate charger infrastructure maps into your telematics solution that users can activate as a map layer, pinpointing where charging stations are.
In Stage One, we outlined some of the topics that should be considered in a charging strategy. With your EV deployment now underway you will be receiving the data that tells you if your strategy is appropriate for operational circumstances. If it turns out there are too few chargers to meet demand, look to the telematics data to find out if chargers are experiencing peak demand similar to that which dictates fleet size. A change in task rosters that suppresses this demand could be easier and cheaper than bringing in extra chargers.
You will also be in a position to predict the required charger infrastructure as your EV fleet grows. Having real-world data to draw on will be invaluable in ensuring any ongoing investment in chargers is appropriate.
Adopting EVs brings down both your operating costs and your emissions. So, it makes sense to measure both and track your progress. Checking the invoices for vehicle servicing and fuel will already be a regular practice for most fleets, so you will quickly see the benefits of EV adoption. But how do you track and measure fleet emissions? The good news is that there are now automated emissions reporting solutions that will pretty much do the job for you; delivering emissions reporting for a single vehicle or the whole fleet that meets international reporting standards.
In Stage One, we mentioned the importance of tracking your fleet to measure utilisation, now you can start to see the dividends of your planning. By tracking your fleet emissions before EV adoption, you will have a baseline to measure both the reduction in emissions and the ROI for transitioning away from ICE vehicles. This is invaluable to demonstrate how successful your new EV fleet management strategy is, both to your organisation and to the wider public (who doesn’t love a good news story). This can prove valuable when putting together a business case for further investment into your fleet.
Fleet emissions reporting is also a valuable aid in identifying the outliers generating the majority of your total emissions. It could be that these vehicles are necessary for specialist tasks (off-road, towing etc.), but it’s important to let the data be your guide. If a high-emitting vehicle is spending 90% of its time on the road, could the 10% that’s off-road be taken up by another vehicle? This would allow you to replace the underutilised 4WD capability with a cheaper-to-run, zero-emission EV.
Alternatively, can you find ways to limit access to said specialist vehicles? If you can guide drivers to more appropriate vehicles for their trips you can reduce reliance on expensive 4WDs specialist vehicles. This can be achieved through a comprehensive vehicle booking and key management solution that ensures drivers can only take a key for the vehicle they’ve booked, and only when the booking is valid.
Using Emissions reporting to help right-type a 4WD that is hardly ever off-road illustrates that your ability to fine-tune the fleet mix grows alongside the insights you are gaining and the solutions you are deploying. Another example is when some journeys can be delegated to other modes of transport, such as eBikes. For some fleets, this may seem a step too far, but we know organisations that are already incorporating eBikes and scooters into their fleet mix and encouraging their use when appropriate.
The process of assessing whether your fleet is the right size and has the right type of vehicles should be an annualised event to ensure any seasonality trends are factored into decision-making. It’s also a good idea to include lease milestones as they arise to see if these vehicles can be replaced with EVs.
Peak Demand is the time of the day or week when the majority of vehicles are in use. Typically, fleet managers maintain a vehicle count to meet this demand and accept that several vehicles will be largely under-utilised outside of the peak demand period.
Suppressing the peak demand period will produce opportunities to right-size your fleet. This can be achieved through a booking solution, giving you the ability to interrogate whether journeys are necessary, or by applying cost codes to vehicle use. You could also use the booking data to investigate whether peak demand periods are generated by calendar events (meetings, client catch-ups) that could be dispersed throughout more days in the week.
Of course, these ideas apply to more than fleets with EVs, but we include them here in your EV fleet management strategy because right-typing will generally always highlight an opportunity to de-fleet an ICE vehicle for an equivalent EV, while right-sizing helps to generate savings that can be reinvested in EV adoption.
At Smartrak, we're focused on helping organisations transition to more sustainable fleets. As you can see throughout this guide, successfully implementing EVs into your fleet is no small task. EV fleet management is a complex, evolving, and ongoing process. you can't just set and forget and hope that things will work out fine.
We're hard at work developing the tools to streamline the day-to-day management of EVs and encourage EV adoption, so that organisations can meet and exceed their sustainability goals.
We'd love to join you on your journey towards a more sustainable fleet. Get in touch with us today to learn more.
We understand that navigating the complexities of EV purchase can be a challenge for Fleet Managers. Most states and territories in Australia have their own EV rebates to support EV adoption and corresponding eligibility criteria. We've compiled the information for your convenience.
For more in-depth information on EV adoption in Australia, check out the Electric Vehicle Council’s 2023 report on the current state of EVs across Australia.
The ACT has a number of EV rebates on offer for new ZEV purchases. These include:
The NSW Government will offer an $3,000 EV rebate for the first 25,000 new full battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), purchased for a dutiable value of less than $68,750 that are registered on or after 1 September 2021.
The NT Government is offering registration and stamp duty concessions for eligible plug-in electric vehicles.
You can get:
Motor Accidents Compensation (MAC) charges including GST and administration fee still apply.
The Queensland Zero Emission Vehicle Rebate Scheme provides eligible Queenslanders rebates of up to $6,000 for eligible new Zero Emission Vehicles purchased from 21 April 2023.
The South Australian Government is providing a $3,000 EV rebate and a 3-year registration exemption on eligible new battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles first registered from 28 October 2021.
As of June 30, 2023, Tasmania’s EV rebates have ended. If you purchased an EV before May 25, 2023, you can still claim the EV and FCEV stamp duty exemption. However, this will end on January 1, 2024.
The Tasmanian Government has announced that they have plans to further incentivise EV purchases, but no information has been released.
Unfortunately, the Victorian government announced in May 2023 that they were ending the $3,000 electric-car subsidy. Currently there are no plans to offer any new incentives.
The Western Australian Government offers a $3,500 rebate on eligible ZEVs. The rebate is available for 10,000 eligible vehicles licensed in WA, or for three years following the announcement (Saturday 10 May 2025), whichever comes first.
In 2022, a Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exemption was introduced that removes FBT for EVs under the LCT threshold for fuel-efficient vehicles ($89,332 for the 2023-24 year). The removal of FBT effectively brings down the cost of an EV to parity with a comparable petrol or diesel car.
A list of over 30 cars that are eligible for FBT exemption has been provided, which means there is an electric car to suit most tastes:
We understand how important it is for organisations to plan and transition to more sustainable fleets. We're keen to be your partner on the journey to sustainable transportation, and EVs will play an important role in that transition. Get in touch with us today to learn how you can get started on the journey.
We are all familiar with the role vehicle transport plays in releasing Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. In NZ, nearly 70% of all transport CO2 emissions are from cars, SUVs, utes, vans and light trucks. In Australia, passenger cars and light commercial vehicles alone contributed 60% of transport emissions and over 10% of the country’s total emissions.
These emissions, together with those being released by industry, agriculture, and energy production, have been identified as the primary cause of the severe weather conditions being experienced worldwide. Australia and New Zealand have also witnessed the effects this and are pursuing a range of measures to reduce emissions.
To achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, NZ has brought in the Clean Car Discount which rewards EVs buyers and The Clean Car Standard to regulate vehicle importers and reduce CO2 emissions to specific targets. It is anticipated that these measures will work together to improve the supply and the demand for low and zero CO2 emission light vehicles entering New Zealand.
To help deliver on its goal of net zero emissions by 2050, Australia is also looking at a raft of initiatives to support EV uptake, including: Electric Car Discount legislation, which is already making EVs cheaper and Australia’s first National Electric Vehicle Charging Network, to roll out chargers on average every 150 kilometres on major highways.
Our governments are reacting to the clear and present danger posed by global warming by targeting human activities, which 97% of publishing climate scientists agree is the cause.
It has taken a climate crisis to generate concerted action on the harm caused by internal combustion engine vehicles, but the problems caused by these vehicles reaches far beyond the weather.
According to the research in NZ, transport is responsible for two thirds of the harm estimated to be caused by human-made air pollution. Each year in New Zealand harmful emissions result in:
The story is much the same in Australia. Where research conducted by Melbourne Climate Futures, shows that annually vehicle emissions in Australia may cause:
For context, road accidents across Australia in 2021 resulted in 1,123 premature deaths – that is 10 times less than the number of deaths resulting from air pollution.
This is because, in addition to greenhouse gases, petrol and diesel vehicles also release nitrogen oxides and particulate pollution that are harmful to our health. Exposure to nitrogen oxides causes respiratory and cardiovascular damage and can contribute to smog. Particulates can cause lung cancer, and both forms of pollution contribute to asthma.
We could be forgiven for thinking that removing lead from petrol (1996 in NZ and 2002 in Australia) eliminated the major health-harm effects of vehicle pollution, but the problems have continued. Looking at the statistics for pollution harm in NZ and Australia provides further support for switching to EVs, beyond improving the health of the planet.
While the purchase price is one thing to consider when investing in fleet vehicles, it’s also important to look at the total cost of owning an EV, compared to a petrol (or diesel) vehicle. Total cost of ownership is a calculation that adds up all the costs related to buying and operating the vehicle, and then subtracts the residual value of the vehicle (the price it can be sold for).
Research indicates that the total cost of owning an EV is significantly less than owning a petrol car. This is because BEV engines are much simpler than internal combustion engines, with fewer moving parts, which means maintenance is far less expensive. There is no need to tune the engine, change the oil, replace the spark plugs, or service the transmission.
One study found electric vehicle servicing costs are one-third lower than ICE servicing costs. Based on this assumption, you might spend $1,000 maintaining a petrol engine each year or $666 to maintain a BEV. (Hybrid vehicles still have an ICE engine, so servicing costs won’t be much lower, if at all.)
In another study, the average total cost of ownership for the four tested EVs was 67.5% of the total cost of owning the petrol alternatives, at $36,772 for the EVs compared to $54,473 for the petrol cars. The real-world evidence is stacking up in favour of EVs and we haven’t even mentioned burning expensive fossil fuels.
Using electricity to power your car, instead of petrol is a major saving.
To put it another way, running an EV is the equivalent of paying just 40 cents per litre for petrol
Choosing to go electric could mean you rack up just 67% of the costs associated with the petrol alternatives!
Of course, the total cost of ownership needs to include any future resale price to be truly representative, and EV ownership is looking good there, too. The EVs looked at in this study had a higher residual value after five years of ownership, whereas the petrol vehicles generally lost value faster. After five years, the four tested EVs could be expected to sell for, on average, 50% of their original purchase price. The petrol cars, on the other hand, had expectations, on average, that were 43% of their original purchase price.
Organisations are starting to feel the pressure to reduce emissions. However, there’s a lot of confusion about the best approach to successfully transition to electric vehicles. For many Fleet Managers, day-to-day operations take precedence over the broader goals of reducing emissions. If this sounds like the challenge facing you, we have a proven strategy to get your people into EVs. With government mandates already in place, now is the time to start planning for a smooth and successful transition to a more sustainable fleet.
A successful transition to EVs depends on a comprehensive approach.
Smartrak’s proven strategy to help organisations transition to electric vehicles highlights the opportunity for fleets to reduce their carbon footprint.
Our Transition Strategy offers a complete plan for EV transition, including feasibility analysis, identifying opportunities for fleet optimisation, and EV rollout.
It all starts with understanding your operational requirements and developing a tailored EV Transition Strategy that maximises fleet productivity alongside reducing emissions.
An honest review of fleet operations doesn’t start with assumptions, it starts with analysing the data of actual vehicle use. Smartrak client, Meridian Energy, assumed that transitioning 30% of their white fleet to EVs was doable. However, the data collected through telematics illustrated that a 100% transition was achievable, and that’s where they are now.
The review will provide the confidence to map out a roadmap towards a more sustainable fleet that is also aligned with your organisation’s goals. It also provides a baseline by which all future reporting and analysis will be measured.
Once you understand your fleet, you’re in a position to create a tailored roadmap that will guide your transition to electric vehicles. This should include your charging strategy: will you rely on public chargers or bring in your own charging infrastructure? This is also the right time to factor in any vehicle leasing milestones for EV swap-outs and the government incentives and rebates that are available.
An EV that isn’t fully utilised won’t noticeably reduce your fleet costs or your emissions. Underutilisation can come down to a range of factors: range anxiety, preference, or unsuitability can all affect how much an EV is used. By adopting policies that prioritise the use of EVs and ensure that charging isn’t an issue you will get over most of the hurdles to maximised utilisation. And if your Fleet Review has done its job, you will have identified those special case vehicles that are currently unsuitable for EV transition.
Smartrak has prioritised EV adoption in our product development roadmap. This has produced some new features and solutions to make EVs easier to adopt and manage.
Our latest tracking device offers state-of-the-art telematics alongside an EV focus that provides real-time visibility of critical battery data, including battery charge state and range on that available charge.
This tracking solution will also underpin your EV charging strategy by letting you know when an EV is on a charger. Combine this knowledge with an awareness of battery levels across the fleet and you can prioritise access to chargers.
If you run a shared fleet, our pool booking solution includes EV-focused features that highlight the previously discussed battery data and automatically calculate if there is sufficient charge for a booker’s proposed journey. The booking solution can also prioritise EVs in booking requests to ensure they are always used first, where appropriate.
To generate momentum in the adoption of EVs you will need to demonstrate that it’s worth the investment. This is where reporting is vital. The huge amount of information that’s being collected through telematics and your pool booking solution, if you have one, needs to be analysed and shared with others. Smartrak can integrate telematics and pool booking into a seamless and powerful information generator and then deliver that knowledge in easily shared and impactful reports. You can see savings in fuel use and project reductions in vehicle servicing costs. We also have an automated fleet emissions reporting module that will measure progress to a more sustainable fleet.
Proving that your EV adoption strategy is making a difference provides the confidence to expand the role of EVs in your business and highlights where savings can be reinvested in your more sustainable fleet.
To find out more or to start your fleet's transition to electric vehicles, talk to us today.
2023 has been a busy year for Smartrak. We’ve launched powerful new solutions to help Fleet Managers with the day-to-day management of EVs. We’ve also launched enhancements to our existing solutions with additional tools to help Smartrak customers achieve more sustainable fleets.
In Q2 we launched Nextrak, our next-generation telematics solution.
Nextrak streamlines EV management by offering real-time battery data directly in Smartrak. This allows Fleet Managers to view real-time information on an EV’s current battery charge, the available range, and whether it’s currently plugged in and charging. This visibility unlocks effective EV fleet management and helps support your EV charging strategy.
Thanks to the launch of Nextrak, Smartrak users can now view real-time EV data directly in the Smartrak map. Users simply select the vehicle of interest and click on the EV Battery tab in the pop-up box.
The EV Battery tab provides comprehensive real-time information on the vehicle’s battery charge, current battery range, and whether the EV is plugged into a charger. This live data helps you proactively manage your EVs when they’re on the road.
This new capability is available for any EV equipped with Nextrak. Live EV data will give you the power to make informed decisions for your EV fleet, support your charging strategy, and reduce the administration burden associated with managing EVs.
We also launched an update to PoolCar that integrates Nextrak EV data across the whole booking platform, providing a streamlined way for administrators to manage EVs, and reassuring end-users that EVs are a suitable choice.
Fleet administrators gained a new report that provides valuable data on EV information. View range, current charge, and whether they are plugged in and charging. Fleet Managers can proactively charge vehicles that need charging before it becomes an issue.
End users gain the confidence that any EV that they book has the required charge and range at the time of booking. For bookings in the future, users can be notified if EVs are below a range threshold before their booking starts. This gives them the ability to either plug the EV in to charge or update the booking to a more suitable vehicle.
We realise that our customers sometimes need to export Smartrak data into other business systems and software. The launch of Nextrak has also allowed us to develop a new EV API. This addition to our API suite gives customers the ability to pull live EV data (battery percentage, range, and charging status) wherever it’s needed.
Smartrak also launched a new Insights reporting suite. Now Fleet Managers can dive into visual reports that put their fleet data front and centre, taking the hard work out of fleet reporting and analysis.
By visualising fleet information as informative graphs and tables, Insights bring clarity to fleet data. It’s never been easier to identify trends and opportunities that can make significant impacts on fleet operations. Insights is available to all Smartrak telematics customers and will see further updates in the near future.
Everything you need to make informed decisions is automatically produced graphs and tables. A simple click provides a graphical analysis of weekly, monthly, and annual utilisation trends. Include geofence information to assess off-site activity and fine-tune the reporting periods to reflect your operational day – it’s all easy.
Measuring and reporting on fleet emissions is now no longer optional for many fleets. The Emissions Insights tab automates emissions reporting, saving Fleets time.
Emissions Insights draws on the data collected via our already available Emissions Reporting solution but presents that information in a format that customers will find easier to digest. Our NZ customers will be able to view their emissions with reliable accuracy thanks to our integrations with the NZTA to align each vehicle’s unique emissions profile.
The reports are generated automatically – so there’s no need to be an ‘emissions expert’ – and can be configured to provide an accurate report on a single vehicle’s emissions or the whole fleet.
Most fleet managers understand that electric vehicles (EVs) are here to stay and will play an increasingly important role in how organisations move people from A to B. They are a proven way to reduce fleet emissions, and when utilised properly, an excellent opportunity to reduce fleet running costs. But to ensure you reap the benefits EVs are capable of, it’s important that you have a way to accurately measure EV utilisation. In short, electric vehicle tracking should be a serious consideration alongside your EV deployment.
Vehicle tracking has become an integral part of any fleet management operation. Not only does it give you the peace of mind of knowing where your assets are, but it also opens the door to a wealth of utilisation data that can inform your decision-making. Electric vehicle tracking has then become an extension of this concept, but it offers several additional benefits, including identifying EV suitability, maximising EV utilisation, reducing the administration of EVs, and supporting your chosen charging strategy.
The first question facing a fleet when looking at adopting EVs is how many to bring on board. Often, managers are guided by anecdotal evidence about which roles are suitable for an EV replacement. These decisions are generally framed around range and vehicle suitability (4WD, etc.). If you have telematics deployed for your conventional vehicles, you will be able to use the tracking data to gain real-world insights into actual use profiles and make your decisions accordingly.
This is a good start, but if your tracking solution isn’t also compatible with the EVs you’re adopting, your new vehicles will essentially ‘drop off the radar.’
By having electric vehicle tracking in place, you can refine your EV adoption parameters; taking into consideration how the first tranche of EVs is being utilised and using that information to plan further deployments.
Range anxiety is one of the most common reasons given for choosing a conventional vehicle over an EV. This reluctance to take a chance on an EV is completely understandable if vehicle users are unfamiliar with the technology. If the petrol vehicle is down to a quarter tank, no problem: a five-minute pit stop at any petrol station will sort you out. On the other hand, running out of charge in an EV is viewed as a major inconvenience.
Electric vehicle tracking addresses this issue by allowing managers and end-users the ability to monitor the real-time battery levels of all your EVs. It provides information on the battery level and the current range. This information can be supplied to a user’s computer or via an app on their phone so they know their chosen vehicle has sufficient charge for a trip even before they head to the car park.
This level of battery information is also a game changer for fleet managers, as it provides a centralised view of all EVs in the fleet and their status. If any EVs are running low on juice, they can be prioritised so future users aren’t inconvenienced. In this way, electric vehicle tracking brings agility to fleet EV management to maximise their use and remove unwanted roadblocks.
Most modern EVs will come with a level of telematics already installed and referred to as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) telematics. Unfortunately, OEM telematics are generally specific to a model or brand of EV and will not offer a unified management process across different brands. Some software suppliers are building apps to address this, but you will need to check before choosing your EVs. Even with a third-party app to bring all OEM telematics under a single management process, you will still be faced with a doubling of management workload because your conventional vehicles are being tracked by different, and often more capable technology.
The best option is to bring in an electric vehicle tracking solution that is also capable of tracking your remaining conventional vehicles. This will provide a unified system that delivers the tracking capabilities you are familiar with to your entire fleet. Plus, this continuity is available without compromising on the specific insights you want to successfully manage EVs. Just clicking on the EV Tab in the fleet management or vehicle booking program will bring up the battery information that’s important to EV management alongside all the tracking data you’re used to seeing with a conventional tracking solution.
As your appetite for more EVs grows this dual capability will support a seamless transition, opening a pathway for greater EV adoption without the necessity for additional systems or an extra layer of admin.
The real-time battery information an electric vehicle tracking solution provides will also highlight if an EV is currently on a charger. Combine this knowledge with awareness of that EV’s current battery level and you have the tools to maximise your investment in charging infrastructure. Seeing that a vehicle occupying a charger has a nearly full battery while another EV has an almost empty battery highlights that these vehicles need to be swapped over.
It can also inform how many chargers you may choose to deploy at your head office and remote sites. The conventional wisdom of a 1-to-1 charger ratio with all EVs plugged in at the end of the day will likely prove to be an unnecessary cost if you can proactively manage vehicle charging throughout the day. Research shows that most fleets find a 1-to-4 ratio adequate for operational requirements.
Electric vehicle tracking also helps manage risky driver behaviours, such as speeding. With a unified tracking system, you’re able to confidently address any infringements and measure the performance of all drivers equally.
Another operational goal that will be front-of-mind is measuring the outcomes of your EV investment. While it’s all well and good to know that you can achieve fuel savings of up to 70% and a reduction in maintenance costs of up to 40%, you need a way to track your fleet’s progress. By integrating electric vehicle tracking with a comprehensive reporting suite, you’ll be able to measure progress across key criteria from emissions reduction to operational savings. Being able to identify the highest-emitting vehicles and assess their suitability for EV replacement is an excellent way to tip the balance towards a more sustainable (and cheaper to run) fleet.
Electric vehicle tracking also plays a necessary component in the variety of EV management solutions being brought to market. Already, vehicle booking solutions can use electric vehicle tracking to alert a booker if their chosen vehicle is below an average trip threshold, which may impact their upcoming trip. This capability opens the door to journey management, with charging stations included in a navigation map together with suggested recharging stops based on that EV’s current battery level and range.
Enrolling EVs in your fleet’s servicing schedules will be simplified and streamlined by using electric vehicle tracking to track the necessary mileage, etc. and then include these service milestones in your operational calendar.
We’ve been busy building the tools that will help organisations transition to more sustainable fleets. Nextrak, our next-generation electric vehicle tracking solution streamlines and eliminates the hassle of managing a fleet of EVs. If you’re ready to switch to an EV fleet, get in touch with us today to discover how electric vehicle tracking can help you.
I’m sure that many people with fleet management responsibilities will already be looking at a year that’s full of tasks. There’s EV adoption and the transition to more sustainable operations, the ever-present demand to achieve more with available resources, and a host of management responsibilities to do with employees, ranging from driver behaviour to managing them more efficiently.
With a potential roster of new initiatives and old challenges that’s already looking daunting adding another topic to your list may be unwelcome. But this is something that absolutely has to be on your radar.
In August 2024, Vodafone will cease 3G operations in New Zealand.
In Australia it's happening in June 2024.
This means that any telematics devices on the 3G network will no longer be supported. August next year seams a long way off but consider the ducks that need to be in a row to ensure a seamless transition. Firstly, you need to make sure your telematics supplier has a strategy for the 4G transition, including sourcing, testing and approving suitable replacements. Talk to them now to find out what their strategy is.
You are also going to have to factor in that lots of fleets will be looking to get replacement devices at the same time. This could potentially create a logistical and product supply logjam, particularly if too many fleets leave their transition to the last minute.
Vodafone’s announcement that its 3G operations will cease in New Zealand from late August 2024 has brought to light an extensive programme of preparation that Smartrak has been engaged in. For the last 18 months, our Product Development and Customer Success teams have been pursuing a 4G transition strategy that will enable our customers to experience a successful transition.
Our efforts have focussed on three areas that will be critical to maintaining business and operational continuity for our customers, during the transition and beyond.
We will also be engaging with our customers throughout 2023 to help them prepare for the transition. Through a combination of general information releases and targeted engagement via the Customer Success Managers, Smartrak will ensure that all customers are fully informed and equipped to develop successful transition plans.
The transition to 4G is an exciting development and we want our customers to be in a position where they will see the benefits 4G brings to fleet management and safety.
4G offers a substantial improvement in data speed. 4G stands for fourth generation, and it’s a step-change in cellular capabilities that will make everything faster and smoother. In fact, 4G is 500 times faster than 3G, making support for high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing and other data-heavy solutions easier and quicker. For our customers, this also means better connectivity when a device is communicating from a moving vehicle, for instance.
4G opens up an exciting future of possibilities, with expanded capabilities for telematics solutions. Video capture of the events leading up to a vehicle accident, or video monitoring of drivers to identify fatigued driving or smoking in the vehicle are all opportunities that can be more easily realised with 4G.
4G offers network confidence with excellent connectivity in urban zones. And for those rare instances where 4G does not match 3G in some areas there’s the new Nextrak device, which automatically falls back to 2G when 4G coverage drops out. Taken as a combined offering, 4G/2G coverage is actually better than current 3G, and if there are issues in remote areas Smartrak will recommend deploying satellite or dual cellular/satellite solutions.
We're ready to help you switch to 4G
The fantastic news is that we've been preparing for the 3G shutdown for more than a year. We've done the research and testing required to find suitable 4G replacements for our existing solutions. We've put hardware through an exhaustive test, including multi-hour round trips in some of NZ's notorious coverage black spots.
Our entire solution suite is now 4G compatible. If you're an existing customer that still has old 3G hardware, get in touch with us today to start the process of upgrading to 4G. And if you've recently purchased hardware from us, you're already 4G future proofed.
Through 2023, Smartrak will be releasing information and support to help our customers develop their 4G transition plans. We understand that every fleet is different with regards to the devices deployed (tracking devices, personal safety devices, etc.) and that the 4G Transition Plan for your fleet needs to be a bespoke document. The information we are producing will take this into account. Smartrak’s Help Desk will also be fully engaged in helping customers through the transition, as will our Customer Success Managers.
A FAQ sheet has been prepared to cover any immediate questions you may have. Download it here. Alternatively, if you're a Smartrak customer, you can talk to one of our Customer Success Managers directly for more information.