Electric vehicle fleets
Photo of a Chevy Volt
Business benefits of electric vehicles

Plug-in technologies make good business sense for a variety of commercial applications. Utilities, delivery and distribution companies, and even rental car companies are increasingly recognizing the benefits of plug-in technologies for their operations. Electric vehicles and chargers make good business sense for a number of reasons.

  • Electric prices are significantly less volatile than oil, allowing you greater control over fuel costs.
  • Electric miles are cheaper than gas miles (2.5 cents/mile on average versus 10 cents/mile for a 30 mile per gallon car).
  • EVs require less maintenance than gas vehicles.
  • EVs operate quietly — a benefit to employees and customers.
  • Tax credits and incentives increase your return on investment.
  • EVs contribute to a more sustainable, efficient business, boosting your "green" profile.
  • The EV charging infrastructure exists and is expanding rapidly.

The electric utility industry is leading by example and adopting plug-in technologies in their vehicle fleets. As the “fuel” provider for plug-in vehicles, electric utilities play an important role as ambassadors for plug-in technologies with their customers, whether residential or commercial.

Fleet considerations

Introducing an EV to your fleet is much like any other aspect of fleet management: It takes careful consideration and planning. Your business should consider the following points before adding electric vehicles to your company’s fleet.

#1 - Purpose/Range

The first thing to consider is: What role would an EV play in your company’s fleet? And how many miles might an EV be driven on a weekly basis? If a part of your fleet is being consistently used, but for relatively low miles, then adding an EV to your fleet is certainly something to consider.

According to a study on each state’s average annual mileage by CarInsurance.com, Oregon commuters drive, on average, 32 miles per business day, or 160 miles each business week. The EVs on the market today generally range from 60 to 80 miles per charge, or more. Just one charge could fit the needs of your EV fleet vehicles for one to two business days. In addition, as battery technology continues to improve, EV ranges will expand even further.

#2 - Infrastructure

You will need an underlying framework for charging station(s) before adding any EVs to your fleet. If your organization takes the time to build the EV charging infrastructure to start, the addition of an EV to your fleet will be easier to implement later down the road.

Please note: A complete EV economic analysis includes evaluation of your own electrical system and EWEB facilities to identify potential electrical infrastructure costs required to charge EVs. The EWEB facilities delivering power to your system may not be of adequate size to support the addition of the needed infrastructure, which could lead to increased project costs incurred by the customer. Please call EWEB Distribution Engineering 541-685- 7521 for more information.

#3 - Location, Location, Location

Choosing a location to build your charging infrastructure is crucial for success. The site(s) must be accessible to power without potential safety hazards (e.g. an extension cord running through the parking lot). Once you pinpoint a secure location for your charging station(s), you’ll need to decide which level of charger to purchase. Your decision about how to charge your new EVs will be based on several factors, read more about charging levels and possible electric service upgrades that may be required.

#4 - Budget/Tax Incentives

While adding an EV to your fleet could cost more initially, your business can save money in the long run while lowering emissions. Fortunately, federal and state tax incentives can lower the upfront cost for new electric vehicles. Plus, Oregon provides tax incentives for business charging infrastructure. For more information on vehicle and charger incentives, please visit Drive Oregon.

Additional resources