Energy prices forecast to dampen EV demand as fleets face whole-life cost knowledge gap


More than half of fleet operators (53 per cent) expect high energy prices to dampen demand for EVs, according to research from mobility solutions specialists Bridgestone and Webfleet Solutions.

The price cap on electricity increased from 21p to 28p per kWh in April and is set to rise again in October, following an Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) review.

“Despite soaring energy prices pushing up the day-to-day running costs of electric vehicles, in most cases the whole-life cost of operating petrol or diesel equivalents remains higher,” said Andrea Manenti, Vice President North Region, Bridgestone EMIA.

“Electric vehicles may be more expensive to lease or purchase upfront than their fossil-fuelled counterparts, but total cost of ownership (TCO) still tends to favour electric cars and vans, with significant savings being realised by fleets that have made the transition. Parity for electric trucks is anticipated within the next three years.

“As a result, TCO calculations have become increasingly important in fleet budgeting and electrification planning.”

According to the study however, conducted among 300 fleet decision-makers, more than a third (34 per cent) admitted to not being confident calculating an EV fleet’s TCO.

“The electric powertrain enables fleets to benefit from considerable fuel savings, with a much lower cost per mile despite the energy price hike, and with fewer moving parts, significantly lower service, maintenance and repair costs,” added Beverley Wise, Regional Director UK and Ireland, Webfleet Solutions.

“Other variables that should be taken into account – from insurance costs, tax liabilities and ULEZ charges to charging infrastructure and residual vehicle values – also contribute to the TCO disparity between EVs and internal combustion vehicles.

“Telematics solutions can play an important role in helping fleets calculate TCO savings by generating data insights that enable comparisons between petrol and diesel vehicle running costs and real-world EV performance, based on vehicle driving patterns.”

The research also revealed that almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of fleets – 68 per cent of HGV operators and 57 per cent of van fleets – are concerned about the cost impact of Clean Air Zones.

The same number (62 per cent), meanwhile, believe that the government must increase investment in transport decarbonisation and green transport initiatives if it’s to meet its transport sustainability targets.

The government is targeting a 78 per cent reduction in emission by 2035, compared to 1990 levels, and aims for the UK to be net zero by 2050.