With business across Australia facing increasing pressure to decarbonise, 2023 has seen unprecedented growth in the number of commercial fleet operators looking to transition to electric vehicles (EVs) – but how and why are they doing it? According to Scott Gillespie, founder and CEO of EV Transition Specialists, CarBon Leasing & Rentals, Australian companies are eager to integrate sustainable transport solutions into their operations as they move to leverage the benefits of electrification. “We’re currently seeing a significant shift in the commercial transport sector with businesses acrossa range of industries all seeking to fast track EVs into their fleets. “But with new EVs entering the market and the landscape shifting quickly, it can be difficult to navigate and maximise the substantial economic and environmental benefits that come from zero emissions vehicles. “By partnering with an EV Transition Specialist, organisations can minimise risk and develop a comprehensive strategy tailored to their specific requirements, with no capital outlay,” Mr Gillespie said. And with demand for commercial EVs outstripping supply, Australian companies are moving quickly to reap the benefits of fleet transition. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY A primary benefit of transitioning to EVs is a reduced carbon footprint. Conventional petrol or diesel-powered vehicles release greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, while EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions. COST SAVINGS EVs provide greater cost savings over the life of a vehicle as they have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance. EVs also have a higher energy efficiency rate, translating to lower energy consumption and decreased operational expenses. ENHANCED SAFETY AND PERFORMANCE EVs offer superior performance in terms of torque and acceleration compared to their diesel counterparts. This advantage is particularly valuable where heavy loads and challenging terrains demand robust and responsive equipment. Additionally, EVs minimise noise pollution, leading to a safer working environment. MAKING THE SWITCH When it comes to integrating EVs into their fleets, Mr Gillespie said companies want flexibility, choice, and low risk options. “Rather than being restricted to a particular EV manufacturer or vehicle, customers want flexible leasing that gives them the opportunity to pilot different EVs and unlock the benefits while minimising the capital expenditure of procuring the vehicles themselves,” Mr Gillespie said. “Organisations want to be able choose which vehicles they integrate and when, without having to deal with multiple vendors, which is why EV transition partnership works really well,” Mr Gillespie explained. In partnership with EV conversion specialists Roev, CarBon recently launched Australia’s first fully electric 4×4 ute – the Toyota electric HiLux to the commercial market. “The Roev electric HiLux will soon take part in a major Pilot Program in WA’s northwest, where several resources companies will implement them into their operations and test them in real-world conditions to see how they perform. “Providing opportunities to integrate different EVs without financial risk and/or having to engage with a large supply chain offers a tremendous advantage to companies that are in the early stages of electrification,” Mr Gillespie said. ESG With Australian emissions targets now firmly in place, companies are also looking for robust data to support their environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets and reporting. “Switching to EVs mitigates air pollution and enhances air quality – but it needs to be measured – so all our EVs are fitted with powerful telematics measurement tools that track battery health, emissions reduction and overall fleet performance,” he said. Mr Gillespie said commercial EVs also provided a major opportunity for companies to insulate against regulatory dynamics, improve brand equity and attract impact investors and consumers.