costs come straight to Mitie, rather than being paid for by the employee.

Joining the EV revolution Getting employees on board has been instrumental in our successful transition to EVs. When we asked our fleet drivers whether they would like an EV, the response was overwhelmingly positive. When we asked why, the number one reason given by drivers was because they wanted to help the environment, not, interestingly, to reduce cost.

“By switching 20% of our fleet to electric by 2020, we’re already

saving 4,000 tonnes of CO2, which is the equivalent to twice the size of Sherwood Forest, each year.”

However, switching to an electric fleet means a big change in driver habits. For example, drivers need to adjust to topping up the vehicle’s battery regularly rather than relying on the fuel light to prompt a refuel, as they would a mobile phone. To combat this, we’re currently developing an online learning tool to educate drivers on switching to electric. Getting employees to test drive vehicles is also vital, which is why we’ve held a series of EV roadshows with our vehicle and charge point partners.

EVs a success. We need to ensure that charge points are ubiquitous in all areas where there is on-street parking or communal parking areas. This means working with charge point partners, but also legislators and local authorities to expand the coverage as rapidly as possible.

It’s payback time Another key challenge to tackle has been reimbursing employees for the money spent on the energy used to charge their EVs. We don’t want our drivers to be out of pocket but currently, when at home, drivers need to use their own electricity supply to charge up and there isn’t a scheme available which mimics the existing fuel cards for petrol and diesel vehicles. In the short term, our only option has been to use the Advisory Electricity Rate (AER) as a cost per mile which the employee can expense.

With this in mind, we’ve found that employee engagement is key to ensure drivers understand the process. Whilst, it’s important to shout about the many benefits of EVs with your fleet, it’s equally important not to shy away from the fact that it’s still a work in progress.

In an ideal world, we’d opt for a single pre-loadable app which covers all charge points around the country. This way, companies could pay directly for the energy its drivers are using. In the absence of this we’ve worked with our EV partners to design a solution that means home charging

Prioritise procurement As impassioned as we are to convert our fleet, without the supply, we can’t make the change. We’ve had to enormously adjust our approach; it’s a shock to find that the model you want isn’t available in your chosen spec or in a reasonable timeframe. We’ve found bulk ordering offers the best chance of having a specific model of EV when you need it. We’ve also found that engaging with manufacturers as early as possible to see how best they can help shows you can never be too prepared.

Keep your foot on the pedal Clearly, EVs are the not-so-distant future of our roads so it’s something all businesses need to think about now. Whilst we can’t always control the supply and rollout of public infrastructure, we’re in a unique position to drive change and make a positive difference to the environment. By switching 20% of our fleet to electric by 2020, we’re already saving 4,000 tonnes of CO2, which is the equivalent to twice the size of Sherwood Forest, each year.

My advice to anyone looking to switch their fleet to electric vehicles would be to remember the power of early preparation. Assess options, look at what’s available, and engage with suppliers and clients early on to smooth out any potential problems. Perhaps most importantly, embolden employees to join the EV revolution. Once they’re onboard, together we can all help protect our planet. TOMORROW’S FM | 31

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