Which Powertrain is Ideal for EV Fleets?

Up until the mid-90s to the mid-2000s, anyone looking to purchase a vehicle either for personal or commercial use had to choose between gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. Over the years, however, technological advancements made battery-powered electric vehicles (“EVs”) a viable option. Additionally, as the long term effects of climate change became clearer, plenty of state governments have started incentive programs to promote or encourage customers to switch to electric vehicles. Such programs have made EVs much more affordable, thus granting a larger customer base access to the EV market.

Fleets have a wide variety of options to choose from these days when it comes to electric vehicles. Not only are there a variety of automakers producing electric vehicles, but there are also five different types of EVs based on their powertrains. This refers to the components that generate power to propel the vehicle, and different types of EVs run on different powertrains. The type of electric vehicle you opt for will affect the range, fuel economy and charging time of your fleet.

Battery electric vehicles (“BEVs”) run entirely on rechargeable batteries and do not have an internal combustion engine. Hybrid electric vehicles (“HEVs”) have a rechargeable battery as well as an internal combustion engine and they rely on regenerative braking to recharge the battery. Plug-in-hybrids (“PHEVs”) also have a rechargeable battery and an internal combustion engine with the battery being charged through either regenerative braking or by plugging it into a charger.

On the other hand, fuel cell electric vehicles (“FCEVs”) rely on hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity and a rechargeable battery to store the energy. Finally, there are extended range electric vehicles (“E-REVs”) that have a rechargeable battery as well as back-up energy source like a gasoline engine to extend the range. At the moment, plenty of fleets are holding off on making a choice and are instead watching the space to see how each type of powertrain fares.

Ultimately, the type of EV you opt for should be representative of what your fleet of vehicles is geared towards as well as range, cost, and presence of a reliable charging network. Will the vehicles be zipping around city centers and parking in tight fitting spots or will they be carrying several passengers over long trips with little stops in between? Answering these questions will help you see which type of electric vehicle best caters to your specific fleet’s needs and will make it easier to make a well informed decision.

It would be interesting to hear what thoughts companies like Net Element Inc. (NASDAQ: NETE) have about the kind of powertrain that would work best for their fleet.

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