How electric vehicles help the environment

Does driving an electric vehicle help to protect the environment?

Friday 22nd April is Earth Day! It’s a day devoted to supporting environmental protection, so there’s no better time to start thinking about what we can do to combat climate change.

For fleet managers, there’s one obvious answer. Begin transitioning your fleet to electric vehicles!

Of course, this can take a number of years to fully transition, and Fuel Card Services is here to help fleets prepare for the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles with products such as the Shell Electric Vehicle Card.

But how exactly does driving an electric car help to protect the environment?

Electric vehicles do not emit harmful gases

The average passenger car will produce approximately 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. This gas is emitted from the tailpipe and sent into the Earth’s atmosphere. Worldwide figures show that passenger cars alone were responsible for 3.2 billion metric tons of CO2 being sent into our atmosphere in 2019. This figure was lower the following year due to the pandemic, but will continue to rise again. This figure also does not take vans or HGVs into account, which also emit a huge volume of harmful gases.

Electric vehicles, however, do not contribute to this! The lithium-ion battery that is most commonly used to power an EV does not let off harmful substances when it is being drained.

For fleets doing thousands of miles a year, the amount of pollution they could prevent by switching to electric vehicles is huge.

Does vehicle charging contribute to pollution?

Of course, it’s easy to say that electric cars are better for the environment when out on the road, but what about on the forecourt? Charging EVs requires electricity, which is often provided from unsustainable resources. In many cases, fossil fuels are still burnt to provide the electricity we use in our day to day lives – this includes charging our vehicles.

However, it is suggested that the emissions caused by powering your EV chargers are offset by the lack of emissions from the vehicle itself. All in all, the overall emissions from charging and driving an EV are around 30% less than running a combustion engine vehicle.

Additionally, certain EV charging hubs are making efforts to be even more sustainable. Shell’s first all-EV charging hub in Fulham is built with sustainability in mind. The energy used to charge the vehicles is 100% renewable. Charging at a hub like this would reduce your emissions even more than charging at home for example, and more renewable energy sources are set to be used in the coming years.

Isn’t electric vehicle manufacturing worse for the environment?

Quite a common argument against the adoption of EVs is that manufacturing them is actually worse for the environment, making them less green. It’s suggested that in many cases, the production of EVs will produce more carbon emissions.

Whilst this may be true, these emissions are once again offset by the fact that EVs will produce less emissions over its lifetime.

Harmful gases will be emitted during an ICE vehicle’s production and during its time on the road. For an EV, the harmful emissions are massively reduced once it leaves the factory. Therefore, driving an EV leads to a greener carbon footprint than a vehicle burning fossil fuels.

When will your fleet adopt electric vehicles?

It may seem like a while away, but the government is set to ban new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 in an effort to reach net zero. Of course, you don’t have to make the change before then – you can still use ICE vehicles made before that date. However, fleet managers should consider the potential cost savings that come from running a fleet of EVs.

Remember, Fuel Card Services is here to help. We can help keep your charging costs down with the Shell Electric Vehicle Card. You can also use this fuel card to pay for traditional fuels as you slowly phase out ICE vehicles.

Get in touch today and we’ll get your fleet moving towards a greener future!

Choosing the right EV for your fleet

Choosing the right EV for your fleet

Electric vehicles have come a long way in recent years, and with the incoming 2030 ban on fossil fuel burning vehicles, it might be time for your business to start thinking about making the transition to EVs.

There are many things a fleet manager must consider when choosing an EV. It’s still true that you’re still likely to spend a little more purchasing an electric car than a traditional one. With that in mind, it’s vital that fleet managers put much consideration into the needs of their business when adopting an EV fleet.

Analyse your current vehicles’ routes

One of the first steps is to decide which of your vehicles could be replaced with EVs. The average range of an electric vehicle is just shy of 200 miles on a single charge. If you have vehicles doing less than that in a single day, they are prime candidates to be replaced with electric vehicles! It will also be a lot easier to analyse the mileage of your current vehicles if you are making use of a good telematics system like Tele-Gence.

Remember that weather conditions and battery drainage can have negative effects on the amount of mileage you can achieve on a single charge, and the range listed on vehicle specifications tend to be on the optimistic side.

When choosing the right vehicle, your mileage is the most obvious consideration. You might be tempted to go with the cheaper option, but if it lacks range then you’ll have to charge more often. This will lead to more down time and a potential loss of profits.

When looking at your vehicles’ typical routes, the next thing to consider would be the availability of charging points.

Charging points

Public charging at forecourts is becoming more accessible every single year. For example, Shell recently opened their first all-EV charging hub. We’re likely to see more of these hubs pop up all over the UK in the coming years.

However, charging in public tends to be the more expensive option. If possible, you’ll want to install vehicle charging points at your base of operations. That way, vehicles can charge overnight and be ready for the next day. Alternatively, your drivers might take their work vehicles home with them and charge overnight there.

Both of these options are cheaper than going to a public charging space, and if your drivers do less than the average 200 miles per day, this will make transitioning to EVs a whole lot easier for your fleet!

Whilst getting chargers installed at home or at your depot can be expensive, you’re still likely to save in the long run. The cost of running electric vehicles is cheaper on average than traditional vehicles despite the heftier up front cost.

Furthermore, the UK government offers grants to those having chargers installed. This is part of their effort to reach net zero by 2050.

Consider payload weight

When choosing the specific EV that your fleet will acquire, payload weight is something you should think about. This is especially true when it comes to electric vans.

It is recommended that you clear out your current vehicles before acquiring an EV. This will help you to determine whether you are carrying excessive weight. Are there tools or building materials being stored in your vehicles that are no longer needed, for example?

Also consider how many people will be expected to occupy the vehicle. If your drivers are typically carrying more than one person, this could affect the overall range of an EV. As mentioned earlier, the range listed on vehicle specifications tends to be optimistic, and is likely measured with only the driver in the vehicle, and does not account for passengers. Therefore, if you are a taxi firm for example, you might want to get an electric car with more range than you think you will need, just to be on the safe side.

How can Fuel Card Services help?

At Fuel Card Services, we are now offering customers the Shell Electric Vehicle Card. If your fleet is going to rely on using public charging points once using EVs, then this card could save you up to 2p per kWh when you use a Shell charging site.

With this card, you’ll get access to over 7,500 charging points, with nearly 1,000 of those being rapid chargers! Of course, Shell is constantly expanding their network of charging points, so this card will only become more useful over time.

What makes this card a great choice for fleets who are slowly transitioning to EVs is that it can be used to purchase traditional fuels as well – it’s flexible and convenient, and will help you on the road to becoming a fully electric fleet.

Get in touch with our experts today and we’ll see how we could keep the wheels of your fleet spinning with the Shell Electric Vehicle Card!

Shell logo on top of forecourt

UK’s first Shell EV charging hub now open

The lives of EV drivers in Fulham just became easier with the addition of Shell’s new EV charging hub!

Where there was once a fuel refilling station on Fulham Road, Shell have converted the pumps into ultra-rapid charging points. This move has exciting implications for EV drivers and the future of sustainable transportation. It is the first time that Shell have converted a previously existing fuel site to cater fully to electric vehicles.

Shell’s first UK all-EV charging hub

So, what can drivers expect to see when they visit the new Shell Recharge site?

Ultra-rapid charging points

The first thing to note is the impressive technology behind the charging points themselves. The hub is home to 9 high powered, 175kW charge points. These points are said to be able to charge an average battery from 0-80% in just 10 minutes! Considering that the next fastest chargers – rapid chargers – take up to 30 minutes to charge a battery to 80%, these are impressive numbers indeed.

For drivers who remain sceptical of electric vehicles for their slow charge times and low range, projects such as this Shell charging hub might begin to alleviate such concerns. After all, EV technology and infrastructure is only likely to improve in the coming years.

So, drivers won’t need to wait too long to charge their vehicles, but what can they do during their short visit?

Coffee, snacks and more!

Drivers can wait out their charging time in “a comfortable seating area” with free Wi-Fi. There’s a Costa Coffee, and a Little Waitrose & Partners, meaning drivers can enjoy a coffee whilst they wait, or even pick up some essentials on their drive home.

Shell’s vision for the “future of service stations”

Sustainable building

Another highly impressive feat of this new charging hub is how sustainability has been considered in its design.

For example, timber has been used to build the canopy which uses less energy than the production and transportation of steel. On top of this canopy is a selection of solar panels, which provide for around a quarter of the hub’s electricity needs.

What’s more, high insulating double glazing is used for the storefront windows, meaning reduced energy is used for cooling and heating the building during times of more extreme weather.

Renewable energy sources

Arguably the most impressive feat of Shell’s new EV hub is that all of the electricity supplied to the EV chargers comes from 100% renewable energy sources. Environmentally conscious drivers can have the confidence to charge their vehicles at this hub knowing they are not purging the planet of non-renewable energy sources.

For more information on Shell Recharge, visit the Shell website!

In addition to the creation of this new site, Shell are working hard to improve electric vehicle infrastructure across the UK. They’re endeavouring to install 5,000 charging points at both current service stations and new locations within the next three years. You can also expect to see 50,000 on-street chargers from Shell by 2025. This is all part of their goal to provide convenient, high-quality charging to their customers.

Shell Recharge station

Charging vehicles with the Shell Electric Vehicle Card

For drivers wishing to save money on charging their vehicles, they could get their hands on the Shell Electric Vehicle fuel card. This card can be used at over 270 Shell Recharge sites, and lets you pay at over 7,500 individual charging points across the UK.

Furthermore, this card is a fantastic option for fleets with a mix of electric and traditional fuel vehicles. The Shell Electric Vehicle fuel card doesn’t limit you to just paying for charging, but you can also pay for your traditional fuels at Shell sites.

For businesses near the Shell Recharge on Fulham Road, they would be well paired with the Shell EV fuel card. As the UK moves further towards the full electrification of our vehicles, it pays to start preparing now!

Get in touch with Fuel Card Services today, we’ll find a fuel card that suits your needs, whether you need to charge your EVs or fill up your petrol and diesel vehicles!

Electric charger plugged into white car

Can you use a fuel card to charge electric vehicles?

The UK’s transition towards zero emissions means that businesses are going to be turning to electric vehicles to fuel their operations. Why, then, should a fleet manager stick to using a fuel card if electric vehicles are the future of transport?

Of course, EV infrastructure is a completely different landscape to what many fleet managers will be used to. You might even ask “how am I supposed to pay to charge my vehicles?”

It’s a valid question. Fleet managers have been paying for fuel in a number of ways for years. Fuel cards are a popular option, or having employees pay for fuel and claim back expenses later is also common.

However, with the inevitable adoption of EVs on the horizon, fleet managers might worry that these payment methods will no longer be viable.

Why are old payment methods less compatible with EVs?

Your fleet may have operated under a system where your drivers paid for fuel with their own money, then claimed that money back via expense forms.

When it comes to charging an EV, however, this may not be as effective.

In 2021, electric vehicle batteries still have a long way to go. Huge advancements have been made in charging technology, but many EVs will struggle to get 200 miles out of a full charge. This means that drivers are likely to charge their vehicles more often than they were fuelling their combustion engine vehicles.

When it comes to filling out expense reports and claiming back mileage, this is not ideal. Admin time could be doubled with all these extra reports to fill out.

It gets even more complicated when you factor in the different charging apps. Until recently, finding an electric vehicle charging point that accepted contactless card payments wasn’t as easy as you’d expect. Instead, different charging points used different apps to process payments.

Whilst contactless is now more common on the EV charging network, your drivers may still encounter a charging point that requires one of these apps. This is just another complication in the purchasing and expense claiming process.

Should you still use a fuel card once you adopt electric vehicles?

In short, yes. The way that we fuel our vehicles may be changing, but paying for it is just as easy.

One of the main benefits of using a fuel card is that they can give your drivers access to a large range of chargers. You won’t need to worry about having the correct app installed.

Each of your drivers can be given their own individual fuel card, meaning their payments can be tracked and linked to their vehicle.

A single, consolidated HMRC approved invoice will be provided to you. This means that there is no need to keep track of receipts, and your admin time will be massively reduced.

Many fuel card offerings also give drivers the option to pay for regular fuel as well. This means you don’t have to take the huge leap of transitioning to an electric fleet overnight. You can start by introducing a few electric vehicles to your fleet and slowly phase out your ICE vehicles. After all, you won’t be able to buy any new combustion engine vehicles after the 2030 ban, so it’s worth preparing yourself for this change now.

As of April 2021, only 6% of businesses were using a fuel card to charge their electric vehicle. That’s 94% of businesses missing out on the huge benefits they offer. Say you’ve already made the transition to EVs, why not get even further ahead of the competition?

How can Fuel Card Services help?

Our most recent addition to our line-up of branded fuel cards is the Shell Electric Vehicle Fuel Card.

With this card, you’ll get access to over 7,500 charging points in the UK. 900 of these points are also rapid charging.

The Shell EV Card can also be used at Shell Recharge sites. Shell Recharge is Shell’s network of rapid EV chargers. They use 100% renewable energy and can provide most vehicles with 0-80% charge in just half an hour.

Of course, this card can also be used to pay for petrol and diesel, if you are operating a mixed fleet.

The change to electric vehicles doesn’t have to be an expensive venture for your business. Get in touch with our expert team today and see how we could help save you time and money.

hybrid or electric cars for commercial fleets

Electric or hybrid cars for commercial fleets?

The cost of new vehicles is always a huge factor for fleet managers to consider. It can require capital investments worth thousands of pounds, which can have a serious impact on a business’ cash flow in the short term.

This decision isn’t one that can be ignored or put off, either. The government announced that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030 – so savvy commercial fleets are now looking to explore the world of electric and semi-electric vehicles. To help make this decision, we’re sharing our insights that should help cover all bases when choosing which types of vehicles to buy or lease.

One popular question we see fleet managers ask themselves is whether to choose between electric or hybrid cars, so this article will help to identify the types of hybrid and electric car, shine a light on the pros and cons of these different models, and provide some insight around how best to make that crucial decision.

Types of hybrid and electric car

While the first hybrid car (the Prius in 1997) looked completely different to anything else on the roads, this isn’t the case anymore. In fact, unlike their fully electric counterparts, you may not even realise you’re looking at a hybrid when you see one.

Hybrid vehicles bridge the gap between traditional vehicles that are powered by petrol or diesel and those that are completely powered by electric energy by combining a typical engine with a battery-powered electric motor.

As operators look to incorporate electric vehicle models into their fleets, it’s important to understand the range of options available in market. These include:

1. Parallel hybrids

This is the most common type, with an example being the Toyota Prius. It can be powered solely by the engine; solely by the motor; or using both together. Electricity is produced and stored when the brakes are applied.

2. Range extender

Like the BMW i3, the engine in these cars never drives the vehicle and is instead used to produce energy to recharge the batteries.

3. Plug-in hybrids

These cars can be charged while they are being driven, or by being plugged in at a designated charging point. The Mitsubishi Outlander is a good example.

You might also hear the terms ‘strong’ or ‘mild’, which simply refers to the amount of battery power available – strong hybrids can drive further than mild ones.

4. Fully electric cars

Full-electric cars require charging at compatible charging points every time they run flat, but have surprisingly low running costs once these have been established. An example is the SEAT Mii electric.

rear of white hybrid car

The key factors to consider

When choosing between electric and hybrid vehicles, consider the following.

Initial purchase cost

The initial purchase cost of any new vehicle is likely to be the most significant cost a business will incur during the vehicle’s lifespan. As of 2021, the average cost of a full-electric car is around £44,000, which of all car types is likely to be the most expensive option in the market.

Hybrid cars are typically around £4,000 more expensive than their cheaper petrol equivalents, and still undercut fully electric vehicles by up to around £10,000 when comparing models like-for-like – making them the middle-market option in terms of listing price.

It’s also important to consider the cost of charging points your fleet is likely to be facing. Different EVs require different types of charging stations, and a single charging point could cost up to £1500 – so nailing down charger compatibility is an important part of the buying process.

Running costs

Once you’ve purchased your electric or hybrid vehicle and established your charging requirements, it’s time to think about running costs.

The cost of fuel is considerably more expensive than the cost of electricity when considered like-for-like. One mile of unleaded for a typical UK hatchback could cost a driver around 18p, whereas an equivalent cost for a similar size of fully electric vehicle is likely to be around 0.025p.

For an SME running a fleet of taxis, this significant cost saving could really rack up with the kind of mileage drivers are likely to be covering, which could exceed 30,000 miles per year. Hybrid vehicles are able to enjoy some of the cost-saving benefits associated with using electricity over fuel, coming in at around 30% cheaper per mile than fuel powered vehicles, but this can vary depending on the type of hybrid your fleet utilises.

One additional point to consider in terms of daily running costs is charging point availability. If your electric vehicles aren’t getting access to an adequate network of charging stations while on long haul journeys, then it could increase the total duration of each trip and drive your overheads upward.

Just because you have an electric vehicle doesn’t mean you can’t continue to make great savings with a fuel card though. With the Shell Electric Vehicle Fuel Card, you can save 2p per kWh, and access over 7,500 nationwide charge points. You can even use it to pay for regular fuel, making the transition from fuel to electric even easier!

Environmental impact

There’s no doubt that electric vehicles are the most environmentally friendly option for commercial fleets in the UK, but hybrid vehicles do also go a long way to reducing driver’s fuel emissions.

From an ethical standpoint, having a fully electric fleet could position your business as eco-conscious to customers and prospective employees alike. If this shift is in fact inevitable, with the gradual phasing out of fuel-based vehicles rolling out, then it may be worth considering making the shift to a fully electric fleet sooner rather than later.

It’s also worth considering whether being more environmentally friendly could actually be cheaper for your fleet. There’s a good chance the UK government will introduce a carbon tax within the next twenty years, and that could see the cost per mile of running a hybrid vehicle increase. So, creating projections for the future that can factor into your business’ cash flow forecast may also help you decide between which electric vehicle models to acquire.

Range anxiety

The opinions of your drivers could also be a factor worth taking into consideration. Range anxiety, for example, could prove to be an issue for some. With fully electric vehicle technology still feeling alien to some, hybrid alternatives could potentially give drivers reassurance, and confidence in their routes.

What’s clear is that the adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles is on the radar of virtually every major fleet operator in the UK. According to Arval figures, 25 percent of UK fleets have already begun adopting hybrid cars, so now is a better time than ever to start asking these questions and learning more about the market.

How can Fuel Card Services help?

At Fuel Card Services, we specialise in helping businesses save money on their fuel costs. Electric technology may not be a fully viable option for all, and businesses can be making real cost savings today. With a fuel card from our range of branded cards, you could be making a real impact to your bottom line for every mile driven by your team. For businesses who have made the transition to EVs, we recommend the Shell EV Fuel Card to keep your charging costs down.

Additionally, it’s important that you’re able to properly track your driver’s routes, and plan routes efficiently. Our Tele-Gence technology can be used to empower your drivers with this information. Live traffic updates can notify them of long traffic queues, enabling them to steer clear, and you’ll be given updates on their driving habits to understand whether they’re burning unnecessary fuel.

Tele-Gence also syncs seamlessly with your fuel card account, making them the perfect pairing for keeping your fuel costs and consumption as low as possible. Get in touch today and see how we could help you.