Government provides £240k funding to support small fleet electric switch.

A new, Government-backed total cost of ownership (TCO) app that tracks business journeys is aiming to help small fleet operators switch to electric vehicles (EVs).

The Go for Zero project is looking for up to 250 businesses to take part in a trial phase from January 2022, before the free-to-use app and dashboard is launched into the wider market.

By assessing individual journeys and likely charging patterns using the app, which is downloaded on to the driver’s phone, Go for Zero’s dashboard highlights the most cost-effective replacement vehicle to the fleet decision-maker.

“Electric vans can help businesses save money without affecting the way they work,” explained Mat Thomson, co-founder of Love My EV and Go for Zero’s project manager.

“For SMEs (small- to medium-sized enterprises), the hard bit is seeing that the total cost is lower even when the price tag can be higher.

“Small businesses also need to be confident that they are picking the right vehicle for their needs.”

The pressure is on fleet operations of all sizes to begin transitioning their company vehicles to electric ahead of a ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars and vans from 2030.

Also, with more clean air zones on the horizon and London’s ultra-low emission zone expanding recently, older, more polluting vehicles could be facing charges.

Thomson said: “We set up Go for Zero to help SMEs see their best options. We use a journey-tracking app to find a vehicle that is practical and affordable. We can also check how each business can make savings by charging with cheap and green energy.”

The project, which has been developed by consumer EV comparison website Love My EV and journey tracking app Eloy, has received £240,000 from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and Innovate UK under the Government’s Transitioning to Zero Emission Vehicles Programme to specifically target smaller fleet operators.

The initiative is also being supported by Energy Saving Trust. Project manager Will Minter-Kemp told Fleet News: “Go for Zero offers a zero-cost, easy to implement and thorough way for small businesses to understand how they could incorporate electric vehicles into their operations – and what this would mean.

“Their services take the hard work out of realising the true potential of EVs as potentially low-cost and more convenient solutions.”

Separate research appears to show an appetite among SMEs for making the switch to plug-in vehicles.

More than a third (37%) of companies with fewer than 100 employees said they either already operated or plan to adopt an EV within the next three years, compared with less than a quarter (23%) in 2019, according to Arval Mobility Observatory research.

One of the first SMEs to sign up to the Go for Zero trial was Burton Computers, which provides IT support to other Staffordshire SMEs.

Manager Emma Carruthers said that, while she wanted to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, she was “overwhelmed” by the initial cost when looking at electric vans.

“We’ve signed up to Go for Zero to help us work out how to approach it, while we’re busy focusing on growing and running a successful business,” she explained.

It takes between five and 20 minutes to set up your business on the system with fleet decision-makers asked questions around the size and type of business, as well as the annual mileage of the vehicle, where it is usually stored overnight/when not in use and the typical payloads involved.

Drivers are invited to download the free journey tracking app that relays data during their working hours, much like a telematics device.

After a week or so, businesses can then check the potential for switching each vehicle and compare total cost for leasing or finance, based on charging patterns.
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