Generally speaking, electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain than their traditional fuel counterparts and this is simply because they benefit from having fewer moving parts. Fewer moving parts means less places that things can go wrong.
This is good news for those who have made or are looking to make the switch to EVs for both personal and fleet use, but all machines need some TLC from time to time. In this blog we’ll take a look at what sort of servicing and maintenance electric cars, vans and other vehicles will need, what this servicing looks like compared to traditional fuel vehicles, and what this servicing might cost.
Do EVs need servicing?
Electric vehicles still need servicing regularly, though how often your EV needs a trip to the garage will depend on the make and model. Some might make the mistake of assuming that the reduced number of parts means that EVs don’t need regular servicing and can instead be repaired and maintained based on condition.
Whilst this is true for some models, most EVs will still require regular service to ensure that everything is running smoothly and as intended. Less parts don’t mean they don’t also need properly and routinely checking.
How often is an EV serviced?
A good rule-of-thumb is to service your EV as often as you might service a petrol or diesel car, so every 12 months. However, it’s worth checking your vehicle’s manufacturing guide, as this will help you to decide if your EV needs servicing more or less frequently.
What is involved in an EV service?
Whilst there are some similarities between traditional servicing and electric car servicing, there are also some key differences.
In an EV service, one of the first things that a technician will do with your EV is hook it up to a diagnostic computer which will then identify any battery faults and concerns or issues with the drivetrain. The battery has very few moving parts meaning that the likelihood of something going wrong here is fairly low. When problems are identified with the battery, however, they are often easy to fix and not very costly.
Cabling is then visually checked to ensure no breaks or surface damage. Given that these cables are high voltage they are heavy-duty and built with a high level of protection. This means that damage isn’t common but is nonetheless not impossible. Checking this cabling can help to identify wear-and-tear or other damage that could develop into more complex issues.
Coolant in EVs is much the same as that in combustion vehicles, meaning they need the same care and attention in an electric vehicle service. The coolant prevents the battery from overheating, so the coolant piping needs to be thoroughly checked for any possible leaks and topped up if needs be.
Other standard checks
Much like petrol and diesel vehicles servicing, an EV service will also see the vehicles checked for the health of brakes, suspension, and tyres. These components will see similar wear and tear across all types of vehicles as they are mostly impacted by external factors such as the conditions of the roads.
It’s important to note slight differences though, which will see EV owners replacing tyres somewhat more often as well as brake pads.
What are the average EV servicing costs?
The cost of your electric car service will depend on the make and model of your EV as well as where you choose to get it done. However, the cost of servicing your electric vehicle will almost always be lower than the cost of servicing combustion engine vehicles. There are less parts to check, and this makes for a quicker and thus cheaper servicing process.
Managing fleet servicing with MyService.Expert
For fleet managers, staying on top of servicing for your fleet can be a hefty task, especially when you have a mix of combustion and electric vehicles. MyService.Expert helps you to manage your fleet’s service schedule, and you’ll get access to pre-negotiated competitive rates.
Making it easier to book in and save money, MyService.Expert is an invaluable tool fleet operators can use to ensure that fleet vehicles always operate safely, for the wellbeing of your fleet and the company wallet.
All vehicle owners and fleet managers are familiar with MOT testing. MOT tests themselves are one of the UK’s most essential tools to encourage road safety and minimise or avoid accidents that are caused by vehicle faults.
However, as our road laws evolve, the vehicles operating on them diversify, and the role of electrification increases, it’s important that fleet operators are able to stay up to date with the latest MOT guidance from the government and maintain an awareness of what a test comprises and when to get one.
An MOT test is an annual car inspection in which various parts of a vehicle are assessed to ensure that the vehicle as a whole is considered road safe (legally speaking), and that it complies with environmental standards.
The MOT has been around since 1960 and has seen many changes in its 62-year life span. Originally only required for cars of ten years and older, the MOT was brought in alongside the Motor Vehicles (Tests) Regulations 1960. In 1967, the testing age was reduced to cars of three years and older. For ambulances, taxis, and vehicles with more than eight passenger seats, the testable age is one year due to a change brought in in 1983.
What is checked on an MOT?
Dozens of tests are carried out during an MOT, most of which are focused on the functionality of parts such as the windscreen wipers, brakes, and exhaust. The MOT test does not test the health of your engine, clutch, or gear box. Key elements tested include:
Lighting and Signalling Equipment
Tyres and Wheels
Exhaust and Fuel Emissions
Drivers Road Views
Why do MOT tests include an exhaust emission test?
The exhaust emission test, introduced to the MOT in 1991, ensures that a vehicles engine is operating efficiently and that the emissions from the car are within legal requirements for environmental protection. It is not a direct check of a vehicle’s engine, but if your car fails its MOT on the basis of the exhaust emission test then you might need to have your vehicle serviced and your engine checked.
Why is an MOT important?
In short, an MOT ensures that your vehicle is safe to drive and doesn’t pose a threat to you, others, or the environment. An MOT may not check for issues with the engine, but ensuring that your vehicles steering, for example, is in full working condition and good health, will help to prevent malfunctioning that could lead to loss of control and ultimately an accident.
Driving without an MOT
While the wider motivation for the MOT test is to minimise risk on the roads, on an individual level there is a legal responsibility to ensure your car has its MOT. Driving without an MOT certificate leaves you liable to a £1,000 fine, and if you are caught driving a vehicle deemed ‘dangerous’ in an MOT test then you could face a fine of up to £2,500.
Not only could you receive this sizeable fine, but you could also get three points on your driving license for every fault you drive with. The consequences of points adding up on your license could be as severe as multiple years ban on your license – a major issue if you require your driving license for your job.
Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions around MOTs.
When is my MOT due?
MOTs are an annual test, so you will need your next MOT exactly a year from your last. If you are unsure when your car is due its next MOT, you can use the GOV.uk MOT status tool to check.
How long does an MOT take?
An MOT test takes around an hour to complete. If your vehicle fails any part of the test, you may be able to have the repairs carried out immediately, depending on your MOT provider.
How much is an MOT?
The cost of an MOT will depend on where you have the test done, however they average around £40. There is a maximum fee for cars (up to 8 passenger seats) and goods vehicles (up to 3,000kg) of £54.85.
When does a new car need an MOT?
New cars do not require an MOT until they reach three years of age. You can choose to get your new car MOT tested if you wish, but there is no legal requirement until it is three years old.
Managing your fleet MOTs
When managing a fleet, staying on top of all MOTs can be a tricky task to manage. MyService.Expert is a handy tool that can help you to manage the servicing and testing needs of vehicles in your fleet.
Simplifying your company vehicle maintenance, MyService.Expert allows you to easily keep track of when your fleet vehicles need testing or servicing and offers access to garages nationwide so you can keep your vehicles on the road. With simplified invoicing and pay-as-you-go, MyService.Expert is a great tool for maintaining your fleet and keeping costs down.
For operators of commercial fleets, going about managing those fleets in the right way is absolutely crucial. That’s because fleet management impacts a business’ profitability, staff, and customer base.
In this guide, we’ll cover off the key aspects of fleet management to help operators stay on top of the best practices used in industry. We’ll specifically touch on subjects including:
Fleet management involves the coordination and organisation of a business’ vehicle portfolio and drivers. This includes not only company-owned cars or vans, but also grey fleet vehicles which are owned by employees but used for work purposes.
Exactly what a fleet management model should look like differs from company to company, and can depend on the number of vehicles managed and the infrastructure and systems in place. However, there are some universal truths to effective fleet management that apply to all businesses at any given stage during their lifecycle.
Some of these key components include:
Monitoring operational cost.
Ensuring vehicle safety and compliance.
Vehicle maintenance and repair.
Employee management and training.
Managing operational efficiency and optimisation.
A good fleet manager should be able to keep a legal and safe operation running, engage and motivate workforce, and do so while making cost savings wherever possible.
The role of the fleet manager
The job of the fleet manager is to oversee both the wider strategic movements and the day-to-day operations of a business’ cars, vans, or trucks. Fleet managers have a wide range of responsibilities and so need to be versatile in their skillsets and able to dabble in everything from accountancy to strong communications and the ability to multitask.
Some of the key responsibilities of a fleet manager role include:
Ensuring operating costs are kept as low as possible is a primary task of the fleet manager. This can include getting a good deal on initial purchases or rentals, as well as keeping ongoing costs down, which could be achieved through improving fuel efficiency or managing the use of services like fuel cards.
Overseeing vehicle maintenance
Keeping your fleet on the road is vital to the success of any business. This means ensuring cars and vans are regularly serviced and checked for any faults. The latest smart technology can alert you to any potential issues before they become a problem, allowing you to plan your schedule and reduce the risk of a breakdown.
Ensuring driver safety
As well as ensuring your fleet is mechanically sound, a good fleet manager should also be keeping an eye on driver behaviour. Tools like telematics systems can keep a full log of their actions, and show you if they were speeding, for instance – or if any harsh inputs have been made on the steering or brakes. This information can enable you step in with training or advice where necessary.
It’s essential that you know where your vehicles are at all times. GPS tracking tools give you a complete picture of your current situation and let you make changes. For instance, it can show you if drivers are taking inefficient routes between jobs and therefore help better plan your operations. What’s more, it can quickly alert you to any unauthorised vehicle use or track down a stolen car.
It’s also up to the fleet management team to ensure their vehicles are road legal and that drivers are meeting their requirements. However, this doesn’t just include keeping MOTs and insurance valid. You should also be tracking any mileage claims for expenses and tax purposes and ensuring drivers aren’t breaching working time rules. This also covers ensuring your drivers are fully licensed for the vehicles they operate. And you’re keeping a record of any issues such as penalty points.
How to improve your fleet management
The most efficient and profitable fleets are likely to be those with the best managers at the helm who can provide structure and processes that are easy to follow, while also ensuring communication with drivers is clear.
Our tips on the key areas in which most fleets could look to upgrade include:
1. Accessing real-time information
The first thing any fleet manager needs in order to work effectively is full visibility of their cars, vans, and drivers. This means having access to real-time data that can show them, at a glance, the location of each vehicle and employee, their current status, and whether they are experiencing any issues.
The most effective way of achieving this is by implementing an effective telematics system. This system connects to a vehicle’s computer and uses a range of sensors to feed data back to a central computer detailing everything a vehicle’s location and speed to driver inputs. Real-time data is also a pre-requisite to many of the solutions we’re about to cover, so if you don’t have it, you could be working with one hand tied behind your back.
2. Implementing GPS tracking
A key part of any real-time information solution will be instant details of your fleet’s locations via GPS. This can be vital if you need to dispatch an employee to a certain destination, as you can see at a glance who is available and best-positioned to respond.
However, it can also be used to help record mileage and hours spent on the road, divert drivers away from areas of congestion and even provide customers with real-time updates on when they can expect your employees to arrive.
3. Improving route planning
GPS tools can also be used in combination with other tech solutions to improve your firms’ route planning. This isn’t just about finding the shortest way from A to B. It should also take into account factors such as expected fuel consumption along the route and the distance to the cheapest filling stations.
For example, if a vehicle is spending a lot of time stuck in traffic with the engine idling, this results in greater fuel consumption and higher costs. With good route planning tools, this can be avoided.
4. Monitoring driver behaviour
Being able to keep an eye on how your employees are driving is also essential. First and foremost, this improves safety. If fleet telematics data shows frequent speeding, or sensors detect harsh control inputs, you can step in to address this. You can even generate league tables that show your best and worst-performing drivers, highlighting who you need to speak to most urgently.
This can also help reduce fuel consumption. By monitoring inputs such as acceleration and braking, you can educate employees to drive more smoothly as well as safely. Indeed, almost half of businesses (49 per cent) using telematics have seen a reduction in speeding incidences and fines, while 55 per cent experienced a drop in fuel usage.
5. Reducing your fuel costs
While better route planning and driver monitoring can help improve your fuel consumption, you should also make sure you’re not paying over the odds at the pump. To do this, it pays to have a suitable fuel card for your usage.
There are a wide range of products to choose from, so it’s important to get this right. It may be the case that the cheapest option isn’t very convenient for your firm. You also need to consider whether you’d benefit from cards with wider motorway networks, for example, and which brands have locations nearest your most common routes.
6. Predictively scheduling maintenance
Breakdowns can be a major headache for fleet managers. Beyond the direct costs associated with fixing vehicle problems, having vehicles off the road unexpectedly also hurts the firm’s productivity. You can avoid this by using the data taken from telematics systems to predictively schedule maintenance. These tools can highlight potential issues and allow you to step in before they turn into serious problems.
7. Automating your expenses
Admin work is often among the most time-consuming parts of a fleet manager’s job. Working out details such as mileage claims, expenses, fuel MPG and other details are essential but tedious activities. But with the right fleet management systems, this doesn’t have to be the case.
Being able to calculate these figures automatically, based on data recorded by the telematics system, doesn’t just free up your time. It also ensures the data is accurate and can highlight any unusual events – such as vehicles doing significantly more miles than expected – for investigation.
8. Setting up security alerts
Spotting and cracking down on unauthorised vehicle usage is also essential. For example, you can set up alerts that let you know if a vehicle is being used outside normal office hours. You can also establish geofencing to warn you if a car from your portfolio travels beyond a certain area.
This isn’t only useful for identifying any employees using company assets for personal use, but it can also help you quickly track down any stolen vehicles – using GPS tracking to guide police precisely.
9. Tackling fuel fraud
Another major concern for many fleet managers is the risk of fuel fraud, such as employees filling personal vehicles using a company fuel card or making claims for miles they haven’t done. Telematics can help spot issues with expenses, while a good fuel card can also help by ensuring vehicle locations match fuel card usage, for example.
10. Managing your vehicle inventory
A good fleet management system can also help keep track of your vehicle inventory. This allows you to better plan ahead for replacements, get alerts when services or MOTs are due, and prepare your finances.
You can also see at a glance details such as the types of fuel used, which will be important to know when selecting a fuel card, and can factor into future buying decisions. For instance, if the majority of your fleet is petrol-powered, you may want to consider phasing out any remaining diesels to simplify your operations.
11. Procuring the right fleet vehicles
It’s crucial that your vehicle portfolio is properly equipped to meet the needs of your business, and there are a lot of considerations you could make around whether to bring new vehicles on board, or upgrade existing cars and vans. A good starting point is to analyse the fuel they’re currently using, and gain visibility over all car running costs.
From there, you can factor in market movements such as the growth of electric vehicles when making judgements on how to go about upgrading your fleet over the coming months and years.
Fleet management software solutions
Many of the efficiencies fleet operators can look to make stem from using the latest and greatest technology in market to automate, track and calculate ways to improve performance.
To recap some of the key pieces of commercial fleet technology we’ve mentioned in this article, the essential software includes:
A thorough telematics system, such as our Tele-Gence service – which can help businesses take control of vehicle management.
Software to help drivers with their daily operations. For example, our My Drivers Club app can help drivers find their nearest fuel pumps with ease.
Having a good technology stack behind a fleet operation can also prove an attractive prospect for new drivers and partners, who may be accustomed to enjoying these benefits when offered by rival businesses.
Why is fleet management important?
In this article, we have covered what fleet management is, an overview of the fleet manager role, and helpful software solutions, but what is likely to be the impact of upgrading your fleet management processes today?
Some real-world benefits you could see within your fleet include:
Improved employee productivity.
A reduction in fuel costs – which could have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Saving time by controlling your fleet online and eliminating administrative tasks.
Reduced mileage claims.
Automated reporting dashboards.
Improved driver safety and security.
If you want to know more about how Fuel Card Services could help you and your business, you can get in contact with our fleet management experts today.
The choice to fit your fleet’s vehicles with either seasonal or all-season tyres can be a tough one. All-season tyres provide many practical benefits, whilst their seasonal counterparts offer improved safety and performance when used correctly.
Which set of tyres are likely to be best for your fleet? Read on, and we’ll help you make the decision.
Advantages of seasonal tyres
As the name suggests, seasonal tyres need to be used during different weather conditions. During the winter months when temperatures fall below 7°C, you should fit your vehicles with winter tyres. These improve the performance of your vehicle in snowy and icy conditions, and excel at clearing away snow and slush to increase your grip with the road.
Additionally, the material used to make winter tyres stays soft during colder temperatures, whilst all-season tyres might tense up and be less flexible.
Once seasonal temperatures exceed 7°C, your vehicles should be fitted with summer tyres. They are designed to get more mileage out of your vehicle in warmer temperatures, and they excel on dry roads. Their tread patterns and compounds mean they are perfectly soft and grip the dry roads well, making handling even more efficient.
What are the disadvantages of seasonal tyres?
Whilst both winter and summer tyres provide the best performance, they come with certain practical disadvantages.
Of course, the main con being the fact that you’ll need to regularly change the tyres on all your vehicles. This can come with extra costs if they are fitted by professionals, and there is the matter of storing the tyres you’re not using.
Furthermore, it isn’t something you can avoid. Using summer tyres during winter for example could actually put drivers in danger. According to Kwik Fit, a vehicle fitted with summer tyres will take almost twice as long to come to a stop from 40km/h when driving in snow compared to a vehicle fitted with winter tyres.
Advantages of all-season tyres
Alternatively, you might decide to fit your vehicles with all-season tyres. This means you can keep your tyres on your vehicles whatever the weather! Of course, you’ll have to change them when they are no longer suitable; maintaining regular safety checks on your tyres is important regardless of type, and they must be changed when you find your tyres have been worn away.
Where all-season tyres excel is their ability to offer a safe, stable drive regardless of the weather. They combine elements of summer and winter tyres to create an all-rounder. Of course, this comes with a slight compromise on performance. Summer tyres are best for summer, winter tyres are best for winter, but all-season tyres perform more than adequately in either scenario.
Which tyres are best for your UK fleet?
It can be difficult to decide which set of tyres would be ideal for a fleet, and this is especially true for UK fleets.
Fleet managers might want to consider that UK weather never tends to get too extreme. Whilst it is certainly unpredictable at times, we don’t often find our roads entrenched in snow, or experience abundant heatwaves. Therefore, you might want to opt for all-season tyres, given that the benefits gained from winter tyres may not be as noticeable here as if you were driving in a colder country. After all, using seasonal tyres is actually a legal requirement in some territories!
On the other hand, the forward thinking fleet manager might want to consider the effects that global warming is likely to have in coming years. UK weather is likely to reach further extremes such as more storms, more snow, and an increase in scorching heatwaves. Seasonal tyres would be able to give your vehicles a needed performance boost in such adverse weather. If you are operating in the northern regions of the UK, winter tyres might already be an obvious choice for you.
How can Fuel Card Services help?
Changing tyres and other maintenance tasks can be an expensive and often time consuming job. With a service plan like MyService.Expert, you can schedule your maintenance at thousands of main dealers and independent garages with pre-negotiated rates. Maintaining your vehicles has never been easier!
Every commercial fleet operating in the UK should have a robust and comprehensive policy for ensuring that their vehicles are only ever driven with safe tyres. What exactly constitutes a ‘safe’ tyre, though, can be a complex formula with many components.
Whether you’re operating with HGVs, LGVs, or standard estate and saloon cars, this article is designed to help you identify the key components of tyre safety and make you aware of the legal limits that drivers should be adhering to.
Why is tyre safety important?
Before we get started, though, here’s why meeting safe tyre standards matters. Firstly, the livelihood and wellbeing of your drivers should be paramount to any organisation. Having a happy and healthy workforce means you can take on more work, rather than having to plug the gaps caused by avoidable tyre accidents.
What’s more, proudly advertising your business as one that treats driver safety as a top priority could also make your organisation stand out from the crowd in the jobs marketplace; giving you an edge when prospective employees are looking for a new place of work.
Tyres themselves are tangential to vehicle safety, and worn out or old tyres directly limit the amount of control your drivers have over their vehicles. In fact, poor tyres can increase stopping distances, reduce fuel economy when tread is low, and become more prone to tyre blowouts.
Fundamentally, having drivers operate with tyres that are below safe standards can have a range of negative impacts on safety and cost, and the only real downside of replacing tyres is the initial cost of new tyres. This is well worth doing, especially considering there is a legal element to this equation.
Tyre safety laws
There are a few different important laws governing tyre safety for commercial vehicles in the UK. One crucial piece of guidance to be aware of is the official ‘vehicle safety and maintenance guidance’, which is frequently updated with information around conducting safety checks and MOT inspections.
There are also helpful guides around how drivers can carry out safety checks, which is essential given it’s a legal requirement that drivers conduct a walkaround check before setting off on any journey, which must include checking the:
Load and other equipment
Beyond this, laws exist to ensure that individual drivers communicate with their employers around safety matters. Any defects should be communicated in writing, and many employers may look to use software to streamline this process.
At Fuel Card Services, part of our work is to empower fleet operators with software to achieve exactly this goal, and our MyDriveSafe.Expert service enables drivers to report any defects via a mobile phone app which links through to a central database that managers can access.
What makes your tyres illegal?
Diving deeper into tyre safety, then, what are the key regulations to be aware of? Well, the main components of safe tyres are:
1. Tyre pressure
Tyre pressures make a difference to fuel economy as well as driver safety. If your driver’s tyres feature a pressure of around 30-40PSI, then they’re likely to run smoothly on the roads and require less power.
Conversely, low pressured tyres of anywhere downwards of 20PSI can be a genuine danger to the safety of your driver and other road users. These tyres are more susceptible to blowouts and can destabilise a vehicle.
The exact recommended limits for tyre pressure vary from vehicle to vehicle, and drivers should always have access to and check the manufacturer’s handbook to gauge recommended PSI levels. Conversely, over-pumping tyres can have a negative effect on performance by causing uneven tyre wear.
As a fleet operator, it’s key that you ensure drivers check tyre pressure frequently. Officially, this should be checked on a weekly basis. However, if this proves impractical, it’d be unwise to leave tyre pressure unchecked for any longer than one month.
2. Tread depth
The legal tread depth limit on any tyre in the UK is 1.6mm, control over the vehicle can be severely limited. Tread serves to grip the road as a wheel spins, thus making turning easier – and drivers can actually feel the difference between high and low levels of tread.
Fleet operators should ideally be advising drivers to change tyres when tread drops below 3mm, and failure to adhere to legal limits can result in substantial fines both for individual drivers (who can also incur points on their licences), and the organisation.
3. General tyre health
Through regular spot checks, drivers should be able to gauge whether tyres are in good condition. Any signs of tyre bulging should result in immediately replacing tyres, and this is also the case if the structural integrity of the tyre has been damaged through debris or vandalism.
It’s also a legal requirement of fleet operators that any non-roadworthy vehicles are taken out of service, and operators must implement a system to make this happen.
Taking tyre safety seriously
Ultimately, there’s no questioning that tyre safety should be a top priority for fleets, which is true both from a driver safety perspective and a cost-saving perspective. Newer tyres with better technology and safe pressure and tread levels require less fuel to power, and becoming a brand that showcases its good safety policies can stand individual operators out from the crowd in the eyes of potential new recruits.
How can Fuel Card Services help?
At Fuel Card Services, we take driver safety seriously. That’s why we offer a range of commercial fleet services that are designed to improve driver safety and provide cost savings. Services include:
Tele-Gence; a smart telematics system that’s tailored to your business’ unique needs. This software can improve safety for your drivers and security for your vehicles.
MyDriveSafe.Expert – which allows drivers to carry out vehicle checks on their mobile phones. This data then feeds back into a manager’s portal, enabling you to check that vehicles are safe to drive and that legal requirements are met.
MyService.Expert – we offer an online, pay-as-you-go system that gives you access to pre-negotiated repair and maintenance rates at thousands of UK garages, meaning any faults can be resolved quickly without breaking the bank.
If you think these services could benefit your operation, get in touch today and see how we could help you.
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