If you live in the city, you’ve probably already seen the Shell Recharge stations at malls like Bukit Bintang and Bangsar Shopping Center. You may even already know someone with an EV. But is this just a trend encouraged by Elon Musk and the growing dialogue around carbon neutrality? Or are there immediate benefits to your business beyond just saving the planet eventually?

In this blog, we want to help you answer some of those questions with an honest appraisal of EV. We lay out the good and the not-so-good and in doing so, hope to help you decide whether making the transition to electric is the right step for you.

The advantages of EV

Most of us know that electric cars go a long way toward reducing the environmental damage caused by greenhouse gases. Besides doing contributing to a cleaner world, EVs do come with some other strategic perks that a savvy business owner would be sure to appreciate:

  • Electricity will be cheaper than gas: Even before recent events caused the surge in fuel prices, gas was always a major expense for any fleet owner. Within the decade, EV is expected to reach cost parity with ICE vehicles and even become cheaper as technology improves, competition increases and renewable electricity becomes more available. Many EV owners also install solar panels to charge their vehicles at home, which will slash costs even further.
  • Maintenance is also cheaper: A car that runs on traditional fuel can quite easily rack up maintenance costs. EV do not require as much work as internal combustion engines, which need regular tune-ups and oil changes for your internal combustion engine. EV are also reputed for their longevity, with batteries so durable that they are predicted to outlast the vehicles themselves.
  • A silent driving experience:. EVs are so quiet that certain government bodies have made it mandatory to install noisemakers on them, just in case pedestrians don’t see them coming! So transitioning your fleet to electric will cut down on noise pollution, in addition to regular pollution.
  • They are incredibly easy to operate You may be a bit surprised by how minimal the driver’s set-up in an electric car is. That’s because operating them really is that simple. Because they are gearless, electric cars only require your drivers to manage a set of pedals or buttons to control their speed. And that’s about it. It’s as close to autopilot as you can get on the road.

The disadvantages of EVs

There are certainly a lot of perks that come with running an electric fleet, like increasing affordability and the quiet, user-friendly driving experience your drivers will enjoy. However, we did promise to give you a balanced view and we intend to deliver. Here are some reasons you might not want to transition to electric just yet.

  • High upfront costs: Maintaining and charging an EV may save you a lot in the long run, but only if you can afford the steep price of admission. You’ll be able to find traditional fuel cars at a variety of price points, but electric cars are still a new addition to the market and are therefore much more limited when it comes to budget range. You’ll also find that used electric vehicles do not go for cheaper, as they increase in value over time.
  • Lack of a charging network: While many service providers are taking significant steps to expand their charging ecosystem, viable charge points outside KL or other metropolitan areas are limited. So if a large part of your business involves carrying cargo to rural areas, an electric fleet might not be the right choice for you at this time.
  • Shorter range: In addition to the limited accessibility to charge points across the country, the EV itself might struggle to go the distance. It has a shorter range than a regular vehicle, due to the lack of availability of charging points, and is therefore not suited to extended cross-country trips. However, with growing adoption of EV, the range is improving every year.
  • Long charging times: Refueling a car at a gas pump is often a non-event, but charging an EV involves a lot more planning and effort. While service providers are working to change this, electric cars can take several hours to charge as opposed to the few minutes it would take to refuel at the pump. Definitely not an ideal situation when you’re a business owner with a lot of time-sensitive deliveries in your pipeline.

So should you get electric car or not?

You now know the good and the bad of going electric. Now, it’s up to you to decide if the benefits of the transition outweigh the costs for your business. Before you decide to commit, it’s worth asking yourself some important questions:

  • Do you greatly desire to reduce your carbon footprint?
  • Do you have the liquidity to shoulder the upfront costs of buying EVs?
  • Do you have long distances to travel across the country?
  • Do you have access to charge points in the areas where you must travel for business?
  • Can you spare the time to charge your car?

If you answered yes to most, if not all, of these questions, you just might be ready for the great leap to electric. But even if you are not at the moment, this is a new field that is always changing and evolving as adoption rates increase. You never know when rural areas might get their own charging network, or when charging time reduces from several hours to ten minutes. We’d advise you to keep watching this space and to keep an open mind, even if your business isn’t quite ready for the transition yet.