Making the transition to low carbon energy is an issue most businesses are facing right now. With increasing day-to-day costs, resourcing challenges and competing priorities, companies are faced with some big decisions.
“Businesses are in a unique position at the moment where we’re on the cusp of this huge global transformation,” says Rebecca Wilson, Z’s head of fleet and mobility. “It’s exciting, but it can also feel daunting. There’s no doubt businesses have a lot on their plates, so we are trying to make things a little bit easier for them by supporting their transitional efforts wherever they are at in their journey.”
Helping businesses to decarbonise their fleets is one thing, but ensuring the right infrastructure is in place to charge or fuel the vehicles is equally important.
“Most organisations are looking first at how to decarbonise their light fleets which we are largely seeing move to battery technology, while technology and infrastructure becomes more readily available and certain to enable the more complex heavy and offroad fleets to decarbonise. Although changing a petroleum vehicle to an EV sounds relatively easy, swapping vehicle technology does come with a number of challenges (think grid constraints, type of vehicles required, fleet routes and utilisation and therefore charging requirements, driver preference etc) and requires careful planning, no matter how big or small your fleet is.”
“In all cases, it’s a chicken and egg scenario. You can bring the vehicles in, making them part of the fleet however if you can’t charge them effectively at the right time and place, enabling your people to do their jobs effectively, they’ll sit idle (or worse, frustrate your drivers), and that’s certainly not good for any business,” explains Rebecca, who says integrated charging platforms are essential. “We believe charging solutions specifically matched and tailored to an organisations’ operations, across a variety of use cases at home, work and in public locations, is essential to making the transition easier for businesses and their people.
“For people like courier drivers, sales representatives, or project managers, we see it as important to have on-the-go charging available for example at Z Service Stations, however for those that travel back to base each day, depot, or worksite charging can help enormously.” Rebecca continues “It’s about ensuring businesses have everything they need for charging their fleets, wherever their drivers are, without increasing backend administration processes or driver downtime. For example, we’ve recently partnered with Europcar to deliver workplace EV charging infrastructure to support their EV offering to customers. 17 EV chargers are now live across Europcar’s Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airport locations, and their Auckland City base.”
Infrastructure however is just one part of the complexity. Some of the barriers to EV ownership include range anxiety – the fear of running out of charge – or the need to be sitting for hours on a charging station. But Rebecca believes there needs to be a change in thinking around the way we drive and charge when it comes to EVs.
“A substantial part of the transition is changing the way we operate and driver behaviour. We’re so used to driving the tank to empty, then filling it up to full, in a single session and place. But with an EV it’s slightly different. If you’re a business customer on the go all day, you might not charge to full – you might pop into an on-the-go charger (at a Z service station for instance), grab a coffee, and use that 10 minutes to top up on a fast charger. You don’t have to charge it to full, because you can do that at home overnight, or back at the depot, when the vehicle isn’t being utilised.
Rebecca sees one of the most critical success factors for businesses is to map out and plan their transition journey from the start, understanding the different technologies and fuels and how those can support a business most effectively, over time.
“Z is helping our customers through sharing our education and insights, and supporting those who require it through the development of their transition plans, and then being there as they implement their roadmaps and change journey,” she explains. “We have thousands of business customers, all with diverse fleets and complex needs. We also know traditional fuels will be here for a while, particularly in the heavy vehicle space as technology catches up, but we want to be able to support businesses as soon as they’re ready to transition.”
“This is a really exciting time for our customers and for Z,” says Rebecca. “It’s an opportunity to look at how businesses currently operate and how that can be supported with new technologies. The world can feel a little uncertain in this space at the moment, but Z hopes to help by bringing a bit more certainty to customers and helping them on their journey as things evolve.”
Z Energy is offering a range of low carbon solutions to help businesses transition. If you would like further information or to arrange a discussion, please contact: Rebecca Wilson, Head of Fleet and Mobility, [email protected]