• Dec 17, 2012
Plug-in electric vehicles haven't been selling at the high rates hoped for in the past two years as the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and other competitive models made their way to dealer lots. President Obama's lofty goal of one million electric vehicles sold in the US by 2015 appears to be unattainable. By the end of this year, it looks like there will have been around 65,000 to 70,000 plug-in EVs sold in the US market.

To increase sales, what about fleet sales? Some companies with large fleets have been champions of electric vehicles, which is obviously good for sales numbers. Ian Hobday, chief executive officer of UK-based GoinGreen, thinks that utility and delivery company fleets offer more significant growth potential than the private, consumer car market.

The main reason for this is that utility and delivery fleets need less charging infrastructure. Fleet vehicles that drive shorter, regular journeys and return to a work garage every night offer the biggest potential gain by going electric. If the focus moved to these types of fleets, the sales increase could be substantial, Hobday said.

GoinGreen markets the G-Wiz, Tazzari and Mia small electric cars. The company started up in 2002. Since then, it has sold 1,400 EVs and also offers customers an extensive range of electric mobility solutions – from bikes and scooters to electric cars and vans.

Hobday would agree with what many EV supporters are asking for: support from local and federal government, financial incentives and ways to demonstrate the true cost of vehicle ownership. After all, it can make a lot of financial success for a plumber or electrician traveling 70 a day to choose an EV. The great thing about EVs is that they require very little SMR – service, maintenance and repair – Hobday said.

Hobday thinks range anxiety will diminish in the next three years as battery technology continues to improve, with EVs able to travel 400 to 500 miles on a charge. Couple that with fast charging, and range anxiety disappears, he said. Another big advantage of marketing to fleets will be that sales volume increases, which can drive down purchase prices.

Hobday is not an uninterested party, since GoinGreen hopes to see more fleet business. The company is looking to expand its customer base in the UK in conjunction with support from local authorities actively investing in EV infrastructure.

"I think the focus needs to shift for faster success," he told Fleet News. "Manufacturers haven't enjoyed the volume they expected because they are trying to sell an expensive product without the infrastructure in place, the sector to focus on is fleet."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      EZEE
      • 21 Hours Ago
      Haven't I been saying this the ENTIRE time? Many fleets have set routes and known mileages. Perfect situation for knowing if an electric is practical.
        throwback
        • 21 Hours Ago
        @EZEE
        Yes you have, but CARB knows better than you. They just know everyone wants a EV.
        EZEE
        • 21 Hours Ago
        @EZEE
        Well, my thought always was, when looking at delivery trucks, couriers, and other vehicle applications used in cities (especially big cities), there will be set daily routes, or ranges, and the business will easily be able to say, "Yes, No, or Maybe." Even if the range on an electric is 80 miles, a delivery person in NY City might be fine with that range.
        SVX pearlie
        • 21 Hours Ago
        @EZEE
        Fleets are also parked / garaged where they can be auto-charged off peak.
          EZEE
          • 21 Hours Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Take that one step further - if they are parked in a garage, or under a large awning at night, have any idea what might be cool to place on the roof of the garage/awning? Solar panels? There is also a 'goodwill' factor here. Paint the vehicles green, put a tree on it, advertise that they are electric... Then maybe add a tree planting program or some such. Good deeds always come back in the long term. People pay attention.
      DaveMart
      • 21 Hours Ago
      'Hobday thinks range anxiety will diminish in the next three years as battery technology continues to improve, with EVs able to travel 400 to 500 miles on a charge.' Then Hobday is in la-la land, and should not be listened to and above all should not be treated as any kind of authority. The mighty 85kwh Tesla S is good for 265 miles on the EPA.. So in general use, as that is what we are talking about for fleets, he is saying 4-500 miles of range in 3 years? He is shot away.
      mehul_kamdar
      • 21 Hours Ago
      Don't just look at plumbers and electricians. Push basic versions of the Leaf or Focus Electric to pizza delivery services, for example. I tried suggesting this on Ford Social some time ago but they did not permit my comment for reasons that only they know. As a long time Ford user, I was amused that they would take a suggestion like this negatively, but then, hey, webmasters know best, don't they? In any case, this post at Autoblog Green should bring our a lot of good new ideas, and, hopefully, if the top brass at the various companies building electric cars are interested enough to read this, they might find some very useful advice for free. :)
        Letstakeawalk
        • 21 Hours Ago
        @mehul_kamdar
        "Push basic versions of the Leaf or Focus Electric to pizza delivery services, for example." Most pizza delivery drivers own their own car.
      • 21 Hours Ago
      I work for an organisation that has 6 pool cars on site, none of them are ev's. I read the log book for a couple of them 300 journeys only 4 over 100km. we have our own golf carts to move workshop guys around and we even have plugs in the car parks but we don't have ev's why? Because I work in Australia were a volt costs 60k, shocking, just shocking, especially when you consider the government support for the auto industry
        Marcopolo
        • 21 Hours Ago
        @Just_Chris The Australian government supports LPG vehicles, not hybrid or EV's. Understandable, since Australia has the largest LPG network in the world for over 35 years, but no public charging network. Although Australia has 240 volt standard power and lots of 3 phase capacity, the Australian grid is aging and stretched to it's limit. Electricity prices in every state have risen dramatically in recent years, as a result of poor government planning and decisions. Most Australian power is produced by coal-fired power stations and transmission losses are enormous. A poorly conceived carbon tax, hasn't helped.