The Challenges Commercial Fleets Face In The Transition To EV | Chapter 8 Shop

The Challenges Commercial Fleets Face In The Transition To EV

Amazon announced late last year that they plan to increase there electric fleet by thousands across UK and Europe and aims to invest more than £880m to add thousands more electric HGV’s, vans and cargo bikes to is vast fleet of delivery vehicles across Europe - spanning the next 5 years. £300 million of that will be spent here in the UK. This will mean there will be an increase to over 700 electric HGVs tother fleet by 2025, when today there are said to be just 5.

In a recent pan-European survey about the shift to EVs, 8/10 companies are transitioning, or intend to transition to Electric Vehicles or alternative fuels, with the key focus being around sustainability.

Electric vehicles are the future and as the world moves with more focus on sustainability, the transition to electric vehicles has become an important focus for many companies across the UK, ensuring they meet their green credentials.

We are not there yet though, and recent stats indicate that only 1 in 180 vans and 1 in 2000 HGV’s are EV, so it is clear that the move from fossil fuels to electric vehicles is proving a challenge for many companies. 

So, what are the challenges they face?

1. Lack of charging points/infrastructure

One of the biggest challenges for commercial fleets in the move to EV is the distinct lack charging infrastructure to support productivity and operations. It is clear that the current EV charging infrastructure is not adequate to meet the demands of fleets with who aspire to run EVs. Also, when you factor in the time it can take to charge electric vehicles as a posed to filling with traditional fuel, which takes significantly longer, this can then cause major disruption to operations.


2. Long distance driving range limitations

Another obstacle commercial fleets face is the limited mileage range of Electric Vehicles. Many EV’s currently available in the market today have a driving range of approximately 200-300 miles for a single charge and some less, which more often than not won’t support long distance driving. Also, the limited availability of Electric Vehicle models in the market can also be an issue for commercial fleets looking to make the switch, where some manufacturers only offer a limited number of EV models making choice and availability a factor and often very long wait times.

3. Production and operations

Aside from the charging time for EV’s, additional challenges fleets face in the transition to electric vehicles is the lack of engineers who are trained and experienced in the maintenance of running these EV to ensure operations run smoothly. It is clear that more investment needs to be made here to support operations and production.

4. Financial challenges

Electric vehicles typically have a higher upfront cost compared to petrol or diesel vehicles, which can be a purchasing barrier for commercial fleets. 

The installation and maintenance of charging infrastructure can also be a costly exercise for commercial fleets which includes purchasing and installing the charging stations, as well as the running costs of electricity and maintenance.

Additionally, the potential loss of revenue due to charging downtime can also be a financial challenge for commercial fleets. With EVs typically taking longer to charge than a refuel with petrol or diesel, so in turn can result in a loss of productivity/revenue for commercial fleets.


What is being done to overcome these challenges faced?

One solution is to deploy smart charging infrastructure that can manage the charging of large numbers of EVs, taking into account factors such as available energy capacity, time of use, and user needs. Smart charging can optimise the use of existing infrastructure and reduce the need for costly upgrades.

Another solution is to encourage the development of public charging stations, which can help alleviate range anxiety and provide a more reliable charging network for drivers. Governments and private companies are investing in the development of public charging infrastructure, and some are also exploring the use of renewable energy sources to power these stations.

In addition, advances in battery technology are making it possible to charge EVs more quickly, reducing the time needed for charging during operations. This includes the development of fast-charging technologies and the use of larger batteries with longer ranges.

Finally, governments and private companies can offer incentives and financing options to help fleet owners cover the costs of installing charging infrastructure. These incentives can include tax credits, grants, and rebates, which can help make the transition to electric vehicles more affordable for fleets with limited budgets.


The transition to electric vehicles is crucial for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality. Despite the challenges, implementing solutions such as investing in adequate charging infrastructure, utilising telematics to optimise routes and charging, and selecting the right vehicles for the fleet's needs can help commercial fleet managers overcome obstacles and successfully transition to electric vehicles. The benefits of this transition go beyond environmental sustainability and also include increased efficiency, lower maintenance costs, and improved public perception.

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