"Your whole driving style has to change to get the best out of EV technology."

Automakers have seen European fleets as a doorway to electric vehicle sales in a slow market, with the United Kingdom being especially good for testing the first units off the production line. Getting employees to drive an EV for a few days is also a good way to alleviate range anxiety and for getting drivers hooked on the experience. Leasing giant Arval is advising automakers to offer business customers "eco driver training" programs if they plan to bring EVs into their fleets. The reason driver training is needed is because "your whole driving style has to change to get the best out of the technology," Arval fleet consultant Paul Marchment said to BusinessCar.

Arval is getting its employees and a few fleet operator clients to test out Nissan Leafs and BMW ActiveEs, and it's been going over pretty well. "You almost see a change in peoples' driving styles because they want to get more and more range out of the vehicle when they're using it," Marchment said. Fleets are generally driven by reducing costs, but Arval is also seeing that some of them genuinely want to lower CO2. Having the famed BMW ActiveE at numerous events is also helping. "It's got pedigree because it's a 2012 Olympic car, but actually people are always wanting to know about the technology," he said.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      Spec
      • 13 Hours Ago
      No. If you tell people "you are not driving it right" then you have already lost the argument. Either make the software control the driver more or have a big battery and/or PHEV so that it can deal with very wasteful drivers.
        RoyEMunson
        • 13 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        If we could educate the masses that there is more to driving than slamming the accelerator at green lights and slamming the brakes at red ones we could cut energy consumption by at least 25%... hybrid / EV / or not... but that would require people to actually pay attention to their driving. That would never happen.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yes ! Both in the UK and Australia, I was surprised at the resistance to the introduction of even hybrids, let alone EV's to company fleets. Driver education really helps. Even hybrids drive differently to conventional vehicles, and familiarization helps drivers to gain knowledge and confidence to enjoy getting the best from the EV technology. I can recall my own experience when a young female employee's parent's expressed concern about her driving a company EV fleet vehicle to do deliveries. ( Her parents were very afraid of fires, etc.). Fortunately, the opportunity arose when I needed to be taken to the airport, and I asked her to drive me, keep my car for the weekend, and pick me up on the Monday. The Lexus reputation, and her new found confidence and knowledge of the technology, must have worked, because shortly after her parents chose an Australian made, wide bodied, Toyota Camry hybrid, as a family car ! Once most drivers become familiar with the advantages, as well as the limitations of EV's, the fear of the unknown disappears. When I first took delivery of my LEVRR, my country neighbors in the UK made fun of my choice. (The comment's made Jeremy Clarkson sound timid !) However, I found that once they had been passengers, in the LEVRR, skepticism disappeared with familiarity . So I believe, the more people drive an EV, and gain confidence of it's abilities and limitations, the faster the market will grow.
        Ben Crockett
        • 13 Hours Ago
        @Marcopolo
        I couldn't agree more. Cars in driveways is good for EV awareness.
      BraveLil'Toaster
      • 13 Hours Ago
      Wow, you must have just landed and stepped off the flying saucer, because I don't know if you've noticed, but "the masses" really could care less. If fuel economy and driving for efficiency mattered one whit to *everyone*, then SUVs wouldn't even exist. A lot of people just don't give a damn. No, really, they don't. Sorry.
      SteveG
      • 1 Year Ago
      How about some driver training at all? The USA badly needs actually driver training and testing for all new drivers.
        RoyEMunson
        • 13 Hours Ago
        @SteveG
        Handing out licenses like they are candy is not a great idea but new drivers are not the main problem. They need to test people over certain ages (65+) regularly... that will alleviate traffic accidents and congestion. Taken to a vote, these measures would never pass simply because many voters are elderly. People drive like crap outside of the US too...
          SteveG
          • 13 Hours Ago
          @RoyEMunson
          New drivers and very old ones are both problems. Look at the statistics, per billion km traveled (highway) we have 5.9 deaths vs the nordic nations are below 3 deaths per billion km. Nations that take driver training and licensing seriously have lower rates of road fatalities.
      Spec
      • 13 Hours Ago
      I think that kind of energy education would be great . . . but as you point out, it applies to ALL vehicles whether they are conventional ICE, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or EV.