Going on range alone, 76% of ICE trucks can be replaced with EVs, which would save operators millions of dollars.
The question everyone is asking is: do these trucks have enough range to cope with fleet requirements? Fleet vehicles are essentially workhorses, pushed to the limit on an almost daily basis. That's why Geotab teamed up with Enterprise Fleet Management (EFM) to conduct a feasibility study. Geotab applied its EV Suitability Assessment program to over 91,000 vehicles, and the results are surprising.
According to Geotab, 76% of the trucks could be replaced with an EV based on range alone. It found that 50% of EFM's trucks never exceeded 280 miles in a single day over an entire year.
The above is well within the Lightning Pro Extended Range, which is a fleet-exclusive model. But the 76% figure is misleading because relying on range estimates alone is not enough. The EPA-estimated figures are not calculated while the truck is carrying a load or towing a trailer.
That's where Geotab's EV Suitability Assessment comes in. It doesn't just look at range figures but rather what a fleet vehicle is used for and how that would impact the range of an EV. This is done using real-world application data from 404,652 light-duty trucks across the US and Canada.
Applying what it knows to EFM's fleet, it found that 45% of its ICE models could be replaced with an EV pickup.
That may be, but there's no denying that EV trucks are currently more expensive than their ICE counterparts. But fleet owners don't look at the MSRP of a truck but rather the total cost of ownership (TCO). That's where EV trucks claw back significant points.
ICE trucks are known gas-guzzlers, while electricity is a cost-effective alternative. The price of electricity is also more stable than the price of gas, which is influenced by multiple external factors that America has no control over. The maintenance cost of an EV is much lower, and fleet buyers have to consider government incentives and rebates, though these are quickly running out when it comes to the more popular models. Is all of the above enough to offset the higher cost?
According to Geotab, "the answer depends on how the vehicle is used. It's much harder to get a return on investment for EVs that have low usage since cost savings increase the more the vehicle is driven. However, there's a sweet spot for vehicles that both drive short enough distances to be range-capable and high enough annual mileage to provide a lower TCO compared to a gas-powered pickup."
Geotab found that over a seven-year service life, 45% of EFM's fleet fit the above description. That's 40,950 of the 91,000 vehicles surveyed. The research shows an average lifetime saving of $4,000 per vehicle, which works out to just shy of $164 million. That's a hard figure to ignore, especially for fleet managers.
Geotab also mentions several other EV features that will improve the lives of fleet drivers. EVs are quieter, reducing various health hazards. Studies have proven that fleet drivers often suffer hearing loss. These trucks are also safer to drive thanks to a lower center of gravity and better weight distribution.
Finally, trucks with can serve as mobile worksites, making them useful for construction or field service fleets.
While the overall percentage is still under 50%, studies like these will likely get fleet operators to at least investigate the possibility of going electric, given the possible savings.