It’s one of the oldest choices there is when it comes time to purchase fleet vehicles. Do you opt for a gasoline or diesel? Moreover, now in the twenty-first century, there are hybrid and electrical vehicles to consider as well. The nature of your operations will largely dictate your choice. However, there are also more subtle issues that may sway your decision based on your personal preferences and reputation as a business.
With all the options available today, having to purchase fleet vehicles can be a tough decision. This choice does, however, give you the ability to leverage the pros and cons of various vehicle types and may actually change the way you do business.
Let’s take a look at the operational advantages of gasoline or diesel fleet vehicles, against hybrid and electric, and consider the impact they have on your business’s reputation and bottom line.
Still the economic front-runner for light duty mid-range operations, the ubiquitous presence of gasoline is one of its major strengths as a fuel. Unlike diesel or electric charging stations, it’s never hard to find a gas station, which gives it a significant logistical advantage.
- Gas powered cars are the cheapest option to purchase initially, but also lose their value relatively quickly compared to the other choices. You also have to keep in mind that the cost of gasoline will likely continue to rise over the years. However, for the time being, gas-powered cars are the most economical choice for light duty operations.
- Gas powered vehicles are the poster child of CO2 emissions, so if you’re looking to score points for environmental stewardship, they’re not going to help you there.
Diesel engines cost more to purchase initially than their gasoline cousins. Diesel vehicles are an investment that can pay off in the long run with their better resale value and superior fuel efficiency. Keep in mind that fuel efficiency only matters if the cost of diesel fuel stays similar to that of gasoline.
- Diesel prices have been known to be volatile.
- Diesel engines offer much higher torque and towing capacity to go along with their fuel efficiency, making them the favored choice for heavy-duty fleets.
- Diesel provides more strength, but their engines can cost more to repair. Diesel vehicle insurance can cost you more as well.
- Diesel may be a more efficient fuel than gasoline, but it does release particulate matter and harmful nitrous oxide, so they’re not necessarily scoring you any environmental points either.
Now that we’ve considered the incumbent gasoline or diesel fleet vehicles, it’s time to embrace the electric options. Many states, provinces, and municipalities have implemented incentive programs for businesses to adopt clean energy vehicles (CEV). In the case of British Columbia, there is the CEVofBC™ program that provides cash discounts on clean energy vehicles. The options to purchase fleet vehicles have certainly improved significantly over the last decade, so let’s look at the CEV options.
Hybrid vehicles are a great option for cutting down on fuel usage without experiencing the dreaded “range anxiety” so many pure electric vehicle drivers report having. Hybrids get the best fuel economy and range for city driving compared to all other vehicle types.
- Hybrid vehicles’ resale value tends to be high. If gasoline prices continue to climb, this should continue to be the tendency.
- Hybrids are expensive to buy and still require visits to the gas station, albeit less often. Many studies have suggested that it takes a great deal of driving before you will eventually make your money back in fuel savings from the expensive initial price tag of a hybrid vehicle.
- The economic return of a hybrid vehicle may not be incredibly compelling in the short term, but if you have a long-term plan that involves plenty of driving, they’re certainly an excellent way to go.
- Hybrid vehicles will portray your fleet as taking the initiative towards sustainability. Environmental points scored!
Electric Vehicles (EVs) are the ultimate in environmental stewardship. Depending on how electricity is generated in your operational territory, EVs can be completely emissions-free. You will score major environmental points with a fleet of EVs which will certainly enhance your brand if going green is a part of your company’s image.
- EVs are known as being some of the most fun cars to drive because of their excellent acceleration. Good for driver morale by giving them peppy vehicles to drive around?
- Limited range and charge times are the two operational disadvantages with EVs. However, companies like Tesla Motors are leading the charge with supercharger stations that require dramatically less time to replenish a vehicle’s battery that can make this operational disadvantage much less severe.
- EVs are still quite expensive to purchase initially but should hold their value relatively well compared to other vehicle types. Going with a fleet of EVs is a long-term investment in either shaping your brand or eventually making the costs back through fuel savings down the road. The price of electricity in your operational territory will obviously factor in the economics of EVs.
- EVs are very easy to maintain. Not nearly as many moving parts as internal combustion engines.
The decision to purchase fleet vehicles
There are quite a few factors at play that can affect your decision-making process when it’s time to purchase fleet vehicles for your business. The initial and recurring costs of various vehicle types are changing year to year, so it’s best to try and factor in the economic landscape 5-10 years from now as best you can. Having a fleet made of various vehicle types could help you leverage the benefits of each and give you the experience to inform the vehicle types you’d like to purchase as your business grows.
Outfitting your fleet with a GPS tracking telematics solution will give you insight into your fleet’s operations and indicate how to improve productivity, and possibly inform you as to the optimal vehicle type for specific tasks. Fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page to set up a free no obligation demonstration with a Nero fleet consultant to learn how GPS fleet tracking can enhance your operational capabilities.