By Virg Bodyfelt & Matthew Livesay
Electric vehicle sales are increasing across the country and many analysts believe this number is indicative of mass EV adoption in the near future. According to an early July report from Bloomberg, 5% of new cars purchased in the United States during the first half of the year were electric vehicles. Despite this positive trend, there are still pervasive factors influencing hesitation among many drivers to make the electrification transition, including price, range anxiety, and lack of new car inventory. Nevertheless, many Americans can benefit from EV adoption despite not driving an electric vehicle themselves. As customers of businesses that utilize electric vehicles to deliver goods and services, the benefits of EVs will be realized by a growing number of people across the country.
How Fleet EV Adoption Impacts You
Businesses that rely on transportation and delivery as part of their operations are beginning to transition to electric vehicles due to the prospect of long-term cost savings. Using electricity rather than gasoline or diesel to power a vehicle is more affordable, even in states where electricity rates are above the national average. Many utility companies recognize the impact of EV adoption in their territories and offer off-peak EV charging rates at lower costs to EV drivers to ensure grid optimization and better energy management. Maintenance on light-duty electric vehicles is also less expensive over the years, coming out to around40% less expenses per mile according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.
As the positive effects of EV adoption materialize for businesses, their customers may benefit from continued product and service offerings as well. Potential benefits achieved from EV-related cost savings could range from extended delivery times throughout the day, additional locations served, and wider ranges in delivery geography. Amazon, Fedex, and DHL have all committed to electric fleets, which may result, ideally, in sustained delivery cost reductions to customers as opposed to increased costs passed to consumers from unpredictable and increasing gasoline and related transportation prices. Telecommunications and broadband companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast are also making the switch to electric fleets, allowing service departments to provide cleaner, less expensive, and more efficient customer outreach and service. Rental car companies like Hertz have also committed to cleaner transportation, announcing a multi-billion-dollar deal with Tesla earlier this year. Likewise, Enterprise Holdings and Avis Budget Group announced plans to transition away from internal combustion engine cars, allowing those who utilize these services more product variety and choice with respect to what they drive as a rental.
Why Local Businesses Are Going Electric
Not only does EV adoption support existing services and product offerings, but it encourages the delivery of new offerings outside traditional locations and service territories. Mobility Prosthetics, a private, technology-driven prosthetics company, is a perfect example of how EV adoption can help extend product and service delivery to new places. Headquartered in Murray, Utah (outside of Salt Lake City), Mobility Prosthetics offers advanced digital scanning and in-home prosthetic limb care across Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming, all delivered by a Tesla Model S. Owner and primary prosthetist-orthotist Brian Greer added 37,000 miles to the company Tesla in the first five months of utilizing the vehicle. He serves patients in places as far and remote as Shoshone, Wyoming, and Elko, Nevada, providing specialized medical treatment to individuals who do not have access to such services locally and find it exceedingly difficult to travel out of state to receive treatment.
While there have been challenges in locating reliable charging infrastructure and learning what conditions draw more power from the battery (e.g. hills, cold weather, etc.), Brian has said he will never drive anything but a Tesla going forward. The evolution of electric vehicles advances sustainability but also drives new technologies embedded within the vehicle. More specifically, Tesla’s autopilot feature is the main reason Brian drives as far and long as he does, giving his team an incomparable degree of safety for the thousands of miles they cover to meet patient needs.
Once he returns to Salt Lake City, the benefits of driving an electric vehicle continue – EV drivers are allowed to utilize highway high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, beating rush hour traffic and bringing more efficiency to business operations. Admittedly, the price of EVs may still be prohibitive for full fleet adoption, but his business has seen a noticeable reduction in the cost of fuel and maintenance, specifically in savings from eliminating the many oil changes that would be necessary with the thousands of miles his team drives.
Breathe Deep With EVs
Another important benefit of wider EV adoption that is shared collectively is cleaner air and a higher quality of life resulting from less pollution. Air pollution linked to vehicle emissions contributes to serious health conditions like emphysema, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, and even heart disease. Children and the elderly as well as communities located in disadvantaged communities are particularly vulnerable to the negative health and social effects of poor air quality.
The transition to vehicle electrification, which reduces harmful emissions, is helping to decrease the number of deaths attributed to these emissions. According to a recent report from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a reduction in vehicle emissions led to a decrease in deaths from 27,700 to 19,800 over the course of their nine-year study. Positive health improvements contribute to wider societal benefits. Researchers in this study “…estimated that reductions in emissions yielded $270 billion in social benefits in the U.S. in 2017 – mostly due to the estimated value of reduced mortality risk from fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution – and, to a lesser degree, to reduced; social costs’ from greenhouse gas emissions, which are calculated from a range of factors such as human health impacts, changes in agricultural productivity, natural disasters, risk of conflict, and more.”
Another advantage to EV adoption that bolsters a better quality of life for everyone is a reduction in noise pollution, especially in urban areas where the concentration of industrial and transportation-related noise is more prevalent. Exposure to loud sounds can lead to hearing loss, increased anxiety, and more complicated mental health disorders. Electric vehicles are noticeably quieter than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. With more EVs on the road, a greater number of people can enjoy cleaner air and more serene environments.