Fleet Decision-Makers Rank Top Electrified Brands

September 14, 2021

Ford, Tesla score top marks among both light and medium/heavy duty fleets, while startups lag behind

Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm, today published the latest findings from Fleet Advisory Hub™, a platform designed to explore the needs, expectations and emotions of commercial and fleet vehicle decision-makers. The newest report examines fleet decision-makers’ familiarity with and opinions of many top brands with electrified vehicle plans, across duty segments, as well as their likelihood of considering products from each brand for fleet implementation.

“With respect to electric vehicles, Tesla has carved out a unique position of ubiquity and alignment with the overall movement,” said Michael Schmall, Automotive & Mobility vice president at Escalent. “However, Ford is the clear winner from a consideration standpoint among fleet decision-makers, a position it has reinforced with the introduction of the electrified Ford F-150 Lightning.”

Among the key findings are clear indicators for the automotive industry’s biggest brands:

  • Ford and Tesla earn top marks for electric vehicle (EV) applications in light and medium/heavy duty fleets.
  • Tesla is the brand most synonymous and emblematic of the electrification movement, viewed as the “absolute leader for electrification” by approximately half of both light duty and medium/heavy duty fleet participants. This reflects similar Escalent EVForward™ findings, wherein retail consumers are most aware of Tesla as a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles.
  • Among light duty brands, startups such as Rivian and Lordstown lag far behind legacy automakers and their observable products and accelerating marketing campaigns.

“Startup brands have a lot of catching up to do among light duty fleet decision-makers, where familiar brands and their electrified products dominate mindshare,” Schmall added. “The story is a bit different for those operating medium and heavy duty fleets, as few tangible products in this segment can be seen on the road, offering a more level playing field.”

The study also provides a closer look at the factors most likely to influence EV adoption among fleet decision-makers. Unsurprisingly, total cost of ownership (TCO) leads the factors most influential to adoption—though clarity also lacks, with many uncertain of EVs’ impact to the traditional TCO calculation. Fleet decision-makers are also considering electrification potential around uptime, a brand’s reputation or their relationship with it, charging and infrastructure concerns, and information available about brands’ EV offerings–including services to ease a transition to electric vehicles.

Among fleet decision-makers, the road map for implementation has begun to come into focus. Along with the needed definition for adjusting the TCO calculation, the study identifies fleet decision-makers’ perspective for the expected timeline to achieve operating cost parity with their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts, with most expecting to reach that point after two to three years of integrating an EV.

Fleet Advisory Hub™ is one of the largest collections of commercial vehicle and fleet decision-maker insights available on the market today. Currently, nearly 10,000 fleets collectively numbering over 800,000 vehicles are represented.

Learn More About Fleet Advisory Hub

About Fleet Advisory Hub™

The results reported come from our 2021 report on the evolving electrified vehicle brand landscape across all types of fleet duty segments, and comprise a subset of commercial and fleet vehicle decision-makers drawn from the Fleet Advisory Hub audience. Participants were recruited from an opt-in online panel of business decision-makers and interviewed online. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

About EVForward™

Select results reported come from our EVForward DeepDive report that was conducted among a national sample of 1,003 respondents and included a survey, focus groups and industry expert interviews between December 21, 2020 and February 19, 2021. These respondents are a subset of the EVForward database, a global sample of more than 20,000 new-vehicle buyers aged 18 to 80, weighted by age, gender and location to match the demographics of the new-vehicle buyer population and by vehicle segment to match current vehicle sales. The sample for this research comes from an opt-in, online panel. As such, any reported margins of error or significance tests are estimated and rely on the same statistical assumptions as data collected from a random probability sample. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

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