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When is it worth switching to electric vehicles? – Online tool helps fleet operators decide

Posted September 8, 2015

Taxi companies, car-sharing providers, company cars – vehicle fleets play an important role when it comes to bringing electromobility to the roads and making it visible. But replacing traditionally fuelled vehicles with electric vehicles must also make sense financially. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have developed an online tool that fleet operators can use to calculate the conditions under which the use of electric vehicles will be worthwhile.

Electric cars for fleet operators: new online tool calculates whether transition is wothwile. Photo credit: EU-Projekt I-CVUE.

Electric cars for fleet operators: new online tool calculates whether transition is wothwile. Photo credit: EU-Projekt I-CVUE.

Detailed scenarios for fleet operators

The software developed by researchers at the DLR Institute of Vehicle Concepts under the I-CVUE (Incentives for Cleaner Vehicles in Urban Europe) EU project can be used for free after registration. It is initially aimed at fleet operators and can, in minutes, calculate the total cost per vehicle. “In order to create the best possible basis for making decisions, we considered a wide range of criteria and assumptions,” explains Christoph Schimeczek, who manages the project at the DLR site in Stuttgart. These include, for example, incentives such as tax breaks and depreciation options, as well as assumptions about changes in petrol and electricity prices, repair, maintenance and insurance costs, and the total mileage and spread of the mileage throughout the year.

Database for seven European countries

The users can work entirely with a predetermined reference data set. Alternatively, they can change individual assumptions and incorporate their own data into the calculation, thus generating different scenarios. “Compared to other offerings, our program enables a very detailed assessment. At the same time, the underlying suppositions are transparent for the user and can be customised as required,” says the DLR researcher, summarising the benefits. The evaluation is available in Germany, as well as the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Austria and Spain. Norway and France will soon be included as well.

Decision-making support for government and public authorities

Policy makers will be at the focus of the second stage. In the coming months, the DLR researchers aim to continue developing the software so it can also be used to compare various funding options for electromobility. Besides financial incentives, other motivations might also include parking spaces reserved for electric cars, the use of bus lanes, or access restriction for emission-intensive vehicles. “In this way, depending on local factors, decision-makers in government and public authorities can work out what measures promise the greatest success for developing electromobility and thus benefit from existing experience,” says Schimeczek, explaining the next stage in the project.


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