Many drivers will get their first introduction to electric vehicles at work.
Any switch from gas to electric vehicles has a benefit for the environment. But when businesses and institutions like the UK's Royal Mail introduce all-electric delivery vehicles, there are even bigger reasons to celebrate. Here's why:
1) Business vehicles are usually used every day, and often all day—so they drive many more miles per year than your average home vehicle.
2) They are often used by multiple drivers—meaning they will be many people's first introduction to the superior experience of driving electric.
3) Your boss decides what you drive, not you—meaning the people being introduced aren't necessarily the current target demographic for electric vehicle manufacturers, but they may soon become converts once they see the benefits.
That's why it's encouraging to hear that Go Ultra Low—a joint government and auto-industry initiative in the UK—has now signed up 100 companies and organizations who are committed to electrifying a minimum of 5% of their fleet by 2020. That list includes local councils, universities, major corporations and small companies alike.
Sure, 5% doesn't exactly sound like a lot, but given the relatively low number of electric vehicles on the road today, it's a relatively ambitious short-term goal that could have significant long-term consequences as companies install the related charging infrastructure, and as more and more drivers get a taste for driving without gas.
Alongside other commercial transportation developments like bus fleets going all electric, and urban delivery operations doing the same, this is one more useful reminder that the future of transportation doesn't just rest with private car owners.
As fleet managers discover the economic advantages of electric vehicles, we can expect to see adoption growing rapidly. Five percent by 2020 may be exactly the kind of tipping point that brings about much faster change moving forwards.