Smartrak Guide

EV Fleet Management Guide

Our EV fleet management guide will guide you through the process of planning, implementing, and managing an EV fleet so you can meet your sustainability goals.

Download your copy now 

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.

Get your copy of our EV Fleet management Guide


The Advantages of an EV Fleet Management Strategy 

Before we dive into the detail of what an EV fleet management strategy looks like, it's worth taking the time to reflect on why it's worth implementing one in the first place. Regardless of whether you're looking to reduce emissions and transition to more sustainable transportation, or if you're trying to get buy-in from your other stakeholders in your organisation, outlining the benefits can be a great first step on the journey towards an EV fleet.  

Environmental benefits

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.

Cost savings

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.

The productivity benefits of EV fleet management

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.

Enhanced reputation and customer appeal

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.

Government incentives

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.

Here is an overview of the various rebates available in Australia.

Get your copy of our EV Fleet management Guide


Key Components of an effective eV fleet management strategy

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.

Stage one: Planning

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.

Assess your current fleet composition

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.

Set clear goals and targets for electrification

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.

Evaluate your charging requirements

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.

On-site Charging

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.

Single and three-phase power

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.

Exceeding the power supply to your premises

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.

Locating chargers

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)

Telematics and fleet tracking

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.

Using GPS tracking for utilisation insights

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.
EV vehicle tracking is an important part of any modern fleet.
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.

Using data to right-size your fleet

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.

Using data to right type your fleet

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.
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.
Using telematics data can help you right type your fleet and improve vehicle utilisation.

Remember to include your people in your plans

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. 

Developing a budget

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.

A conventional and EV telematics solution

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.

Making fleet EVs more accessible and easier to share.

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.

Snapshot of budget line items

ProductType of purchase required
EV purchasePurchase or lease through FMO
EV-capable telematics      Device purchase/lease
Pool bookingSoftware subscription
Solution trainingDepending on what's required, this could be included in the purchase agreement

Get your copy of our EV Fleet management Guide


Stage Two: implementation

Start with a test deployment

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.

Charging during trips

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.

Maximise EV utilisation

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.

Measure your progress

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).

Get your copy of our EV Fleet management Guide


Stage Three - Managing your EV Fleet

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.

Day-to-day EV administration

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.

Addressing range anxiety

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 kmand 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.

Evaluating your charging strategy

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.

Measuring and reporting on fleet emissions

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.
Earlier 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.

Targeting the worst-emitting vehicles

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.

Right-sizing and right-typing your fleet is an ongoing process

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.

Addressing Peak Demand

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.

Starting your journey to a more sustainable fleet

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.