Fuel prices appear to know only one direction these days—up. They keep rising and rising, which puts many small businesses that rely on mobility in a bit of a bind. This leaves small business owners everywhere facing the decision of whether or not it’s better, for the sake of their businesses, to raise prices to cover the costs of fuel, or to find new ways to reduce the impact those costs have on them. One solution that many small business owners are considering is the electric vehicle. But, is it the right answer? Here are a few facts you may want to consider as you decide whether or not an electric vehicle is the right choice for your small business.
What are the Cost Concerns?
The U.S. government offers some impressive incentives to businesses that are willing to lower emissions (and as a result their carbon footprints) by investing in electric vehicles. However, the costs of purchasing these vehicles is much greater than purchasing hybrid vehicles that offer greatly improved fuel consumption over traditional vehicles. The current government incentives of $7,000 do not adequately bridge the gap for many small businesses.
How Serious are Mileage Limitations?
The main limitation for electric vehicles is that they can only operate for so long before they require recharging. This will vary from vehicle to vehicle and according to weather conditions. But, the fact remains that you can’t exactly stop by your local convenience store and be ‘good-to-go’ in a matter of a few minutes (despite the fact that your wallet will be much lighter). It can take up to ten hours to recharge the battery on the average electric vehicle.
Some electric vehicles also have gasoline engines. For the most part, small business owners either need to keep their mileage limited to make these cars work for them, or invest in electric vehicles that have gas options.
How Green are Electric Vehicles?
Some small business owners are willing to bite the bullet and take the cost hit, as painful as it may seem, on the front end, for the promise of greener technology and fewer emissions. However, green cars still require fuel that has emissions related to its creation. Electric vehicle owners are simply trading gasoline emissions for power plant emissions.
Electric vehicles seem promising in many ways, but they haven’t yet been put to the test in real world small business applications. Researchers are working on some of the electric vehicle drawbacks, including improved battery technology to and increase driving range, reduce recharging time, cost, and battery weight. These factors will most certainly play a role in the future of EVs. Until that time, however, another alternative is a hybrid vehicle. Regardless of your decision on electric vehicles, though, you should always protect your small business vehicles with adequate commercial auto insurance coverage.