A Case Study in Fleet Electrification
Because of our experience moving LeasePlan Netherlands to a fully electric fleet, LeasePlan has gathered first-hand insights into what works best.
Since Europe is ahead of the U.S. in terms of fleet electrification, it’s important to look to their example to identify best practices for electrification here at home. Because of our experience moving LeasePlan Netherlands to a fully electric fleet, LeasePlan has gathered first-hand insights into what works best.
In 2017, LeasePlan Netherlands announced a goal of having a zero-emissions, fully electric fleet. Keep in mind that in 2017, there were only four EV models available; it was a much younger market than today.
The process was no small feat, requiring us to transition 700 employees and replace 200 vehicles.
Here are some of the key lessons we learned during this process, and that we are already applying here in the U.S.
Start at the top and lead by example
When we started our electrification plan, the first decision our project team made was that LeasePlan Netherlands would go 100% electric; we’re going to walk the talk. Starting in January 2018, our official policy was that new orders were going to be electric vehicles only.
Of course, this brought on some initial concerns from our high mileage drivers. We made sure to have one-on-one conversations between HR and the drivers to address those concerns, but we made it clear: if you work at LeasePlan, you drive electric; no exceptions.
Help change your drivers' mindset
Whenever there’s a big policy change, drivers tend to have a lot of questions. In the case of electrification, those questions typically involve them applying the same mindset to EVs as they have been doing to ICE vehicles.
This doesn’t work. Instead, you need to work to change your drivers’ mindset.
For example, we received a number of concerns around highway charging. It is entirely possible to embark on long-range trips and rely on highway charging, but it requires a mindset change. You have to plan your trips ahead, and perhaps work during charging time to make the most of those hours.
Start providing an EV experience ASAP
It’s hard to be positive about an unknown. This is why you don’t want to wait until the deadline to switch your drivers over. Instead, give them the opportunity to get used to EVs and have positive experiences with them. Then, they’ll be more positive and enthusiastic about the transition.
Some of the ways we did this was through an EV rental, ordering and waiting until a vehicle of choice is available, and holiday cars. Generally, when drivers experience electric vehicles, it’s difficult for them to say no to the transition.
Proactively invest in charging infrastructure
Overall, we did not see a massive cost increase from switching to EVs. In fact, the only area where we spent more was in charging infrastructure. This is because we made a point to proactively invest in both at-work and at-home charging capabilities.
In fact, we believe this is one of the main reasons we had such enthusiastic buy-in to our all-electric policy: because we provided all the infrastructure our drivers needed to make the change.