How to Engage and Motivate Company Car Drivers to Make the Switch to Electric Vehicles
One of the biggest challenges to making the transition to electric company cars and vans is changing company car drivers’ prejudices about electric vehicles.
Myths about poor performance and ‘range anxiety’ persist among employees – even though the vast majority will have never actually experienced an electric vehicle.
Challenging these prejudices and perceptions is central to accelerating the uptake of electric vehicles – and the best way to do this is pretty simple: get the sceptics behind the wheel of an EV.
TAKE A TEST DRIVE
Many of our clients who have committed to making the transition to EVs have hosted an EV ‘Ride and Drive’ day – giving employees the chance to take a closer look at a range of EVs, have their questions answered and get behind the wheel of their first EV.
When they experience the refinement, smoothness, silence and seamless acceleration of the latest generation EVs, even the most committed ‘petrolhead’ can quickly become a convert.
Once drivers realise that even a modest electric hatchback like the Nissan LEAF offers a smooth and silent ride that’s much more refined than an ICE equivalent.
And once the driving experience is backed up by hard figures: lower company car tax, lower fuel bills and less time in the garage for servicing and maintenance, the proposition really starts to make sense.
In our experience, once they have got behind the wheel, the majority of drivers are pleasantly surprised by their first experience of driving an electric car.
Responses range from: “So quiet and smooth!” to “Surprisingly good performance” and even “I’ve just driven into the future, when can I have one!?”
Typically, fleet managers find 20 – 25 per cent of their drivers are enthusiastic ‘early adopters’, another 50 – 60 per cent will wait for someone else to take the plunge before following them, while 20 – 30 per cent remain sceptical.
Recent converts to EVs are often the most enthusiastic advocates, so it’s worth encouraging these employees to share their experiences with colleagues and maybe via the internal company newsletter.
TAKE THE LEAD
Securing support from senior managers and getting company leaders ‘on side’ is critical to facilitating the electrification of any company car fleet.
Without buy-in from the board of directors, a transition to electric vehicles is unlikely to succeed. But it is about more than senior leadership signing off a new electrification strategy.
Ideally, the company leadership team should lead by example and – because of the additional purchase price of EVs – board members with higher monthly car allowances are in a stronger position to make the transition.
Premium car-makers such as Audi, Mercedes, Tesla and Volvo are set to launch a string of upmarket EVs over the next 12 months and persuading a couple of board members to switch to an electric company car sends out all the right messages – to their staff – and beyond.
TACKLE RANGE ANXIETY
Based on travel statistics, the next generation of electric vehicles already meet the daily mileage requirements of most drivers, most of the time. Yet drivers continue to worry about running out of charge en route to an important meeting.
One of the key differences involved in transitioning from a conventional petrol or diesel car to an EV is the amount of journey planning required. When the fuel light comes on in an ICE car, it’s relatively quick and simple to fill up quickly and continue your journey. EVs require a little more advance planning, so that every opportunity to top up the battery is taken.
Fast-growing EV charging network Podpoint understood this back in 2009 and pledged to install charge points wherever people park their cars for an hour or more.
This could be be in the company car park, the shopping centre or the cinema, but an awareness of the need to top up the battery whenever the car is parked – while the driver is working in the office, at a business meeting or simply taking a break from motorway driving – is essential.
However, the key question for most employees is pretty simple: can they charge an electric car at home? If the answer is yes, then the viability of an electric company car increases significantly because it means the employee can start out on the daily commute or a business trip with a full battery each morning.
After all, how often would you stop to fill up on the road if you had access to a (potentially free) automatic refuelling system at home?
Get employees behind the wheel – organise an electric vehicle ‘ride and drive’ event
Drive engagement – communicate the latest EV model news with company car drivers and invite feedback and enquiries
Recruit ambassadors – identify internal influencers and persuade them to make the switch first
Secure senior management support – encourage the board of directors to lead by example
Distribute ‘real-life’ case studies and stories – “I was sceptical about the benefits, but I love driving my EV now!”
Find more quick tips here.
Hosting an EV ride and drive event at the workplace is a great way to engage employees © Go Ultra Low www.goultralow.com
EV Roadshow in Nottingham UK © Go Ultra Low www.goultralow.com
Recent converts can be the most effective advocates for EVs © Go Ultra Low www.goultralow.com
The ability to charge at home is essential for most company car drivers © Go Ultra Low www.goultralow.com