With a wider range of models, an increasing focus on striking design and rising practical usage – for more and more people, electric vehicles are a real mobility contender. The infrastructure is developing rapidly as well, both in public spaces and on company premises. In the vehicle fleet, electric cars are the first step towards a holistic, intelligent mobility concept.
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), the demand for cars with alternative drive systems in the European Union rose by almost 30 percent in the third quarter of 2018 alone. Battery electric cars and hybrid vehicles in particular, drove this development with an increase of over 37 percent. Plug-in hybrids were also significantly more popular than during the same period in 2017, with an increase in demand of almost 25 percent. For comparison, the demand for LPG or CNG vehicles "only" rose by around 12 percent.
And this is just the beginning: new registrations of pure battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids will continue to rise significantly between 2018 and 2022. For Germany alone, Frost & Sullivan forecasts an average increase in registrations of 19 percent per year during this period. Annual growth will be even higher in France (33 percent), Belgium (26 percent) and the Netherlands (24 percent). Poland is the clear front-runner with 47 percent, but compared to other European countries very few electric cars and plug-in hybrids have been sold there to date.
Appealing e-car range
One major reason for this development is the greater product range of appealing e-mobiles. Even though companies such as BMW, Nissan, Renault or Tesla have been in the market for several years with good-looking, well-designed and practical electric vehicles, customers did not have many options beyond those. This is swiftly changing as other prestigious competitors such as Volkswagen, Hyundai or Mercedes-Benz are substantially expanding their e-car range, which also leads to increased public awareness for e-mobility. Furthermore, cheaper batteries are having a positive effect on the e-car pricing, directly affecting the growth of the e-mobility market.
Another important reason why consumers are migrating towards e-cars is the increased selection of offers for individual mobility needs. Commuters are turning to battery-powered vehicles; and those who want to make their daily trip to the office electrically, but also keep the flexibility of using the car for long distances, are turning to plug-in hybrids. Additionally, the first manufacturers are starting mass production of practical fuel cell vehicles. For those who live near one of the rare hydrogen pumps, this opens up a further e-mobility perspective.
More and more charging points
Substantial progress is also underway in regards to charging infrastructure. In Germany alone, the number of charging stations has risen from just over 5,400 in the first half of 2017 to over 12,000 at the beginning of November 2018. But of course, public charging facilities are not the only challenge in setting up a practical infrastructure. For company fleets in particular, the local infrastructure is a decisive factor in the success of introducing an e-mobility strategy. Alphabet supports corporate fleets with an integrated 360-degree solution for sustainable e-mobility in the company.
How does Alphabet specifically help to implement the e-mobility strategy? With AlphaElectric, Alphabet supports companies from vehicle selection to charging infrastructure and energy management to individually customisable services. The basis for this service is a fleet and driving profile analysis, carried out by the Alphabet Mobility Consulting Tool (MCT). The MCT gathers real data about individual vehicle and fleet usage over the course of a month to develop a tailor-made e-mobility concept and advise on the right selection of vehicles. But this is not where Alphabet's support ends support – together with its partner Digital Energy Solutions, Alphabet also develops holistic and individual solutions for setting up the charging infrastructure at the customer's site. They also ensure optimum energy management for the ongoing operation of electric cars. In addition, further services ensure the smooth management of the e-fleet and corporate mobility. This holistic approach has made an important contribution to the fact that five percent of the fleet vehicles serviced by Alphabet are already electric cars or plug-in hybrids.
Overall mobility concept
Fleets that actively opt for electromobility today are not only benefiting from the dynamic development of automotive mobility, they are also opening completely new doors for holistic and cross-linked corporate mobility. Making the leap from electric cars to further innovative mobility concepts is generally the logical next step. Alphabet has the structure in place to bridge this gap – from Corporate CarSharing solutions such as AlphaCity as a replacement for classic pool vehicles; to intelligent short-term and long-term rentals such as AlphaRent for spontaneous mobility needs; or even long-term comprehensive mobility budgets such as AlphaFlex, with which Alphabet already is taking its first successful steps in Belgium and the Netherlands.