BOULDER, USA: Over the next few years, corporations and governments will be highly focused on improving the efficiency of their vehicle fleets. While traditional hybrid electric vehicles will continue to play an important role, with the twin goals of reducing lifetime operating expenses as well as lowering emissions from their vehicles, fleet managers will increasingly turn to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) as a solution.
A recent report from Pike Research forecasts that between 2010 and 2015, more than 1.3 million PEVs will be purchased for use in fleet operations, with nearly 400,000 vehicles being sold annually by the end of the forecast period.
“Plug-in electric vehicles are primarily known for their consumer applications, but they will play a greater and greater role in fleets as well,” says senior analyst Dave Hurst. “Fleet managers will be drawn to the fuel efficiency benefits of PEVs, in many cases to satisfy requirements to reduce overall fleet emissions. Tax incentives are also a powerful motivator to some fleet operators, though others will not factor this into the equation either because they do not qualify or because the tax incentive is not put back into their budget.”
Hurst adds that automakers will look to the fleet markets in these early years of PEV sales to help bolster production and reduce overall vehicle costs. As a result, passenger cars will be the leading segment in the PEV fleet market over the next five years, representing more than 80% of total sales in 2015.
Small SUVs will also be an important segment, though their adoption will lag significantly behind passenger cars. Early adopters for fleet PEVs will include operations that have local, predictable routes such as delivery vehicles and taxis. Hurst anticipates that many fleet operators will maintain their own EV charging stations and thus will be relatively insensitive to range and charging infrastructure concerns.