"Your whole driving style has to change to get the best out of EV technology."

Automakers have seen European fleets as a doorway to electric vehicle sales in a slow market, with the United Kingdom being especially good for testing the first units off the production line. Getting employees to drive an EV for a few days is also a good way to alleviate range anxiety and for getting drivers hooked on the experience. Leasing giant Arval is advising automakers to offer business customers "eco driver training" programs if they plan to bring EVs into their fleets. The reason driver training is needed is because "your whole driving style has to change to get the best out of the technology," Arval fleet consultant Paul Marchment said to BusinessCar.

Arval is getting its employees and a few fleet operator clients to test out Nissan Leafs and BMW ActiveEs, and it's been going over pretty well. "You almost see a change in peoples' driving styles because they want to get more and more range out of the vehicle when they're using it," Marchment said. Fleets are generally driven by reducing costs, but Arval is also seeing that some of them genuinely want to lower CO2. Having the famed BMW ActiveE at numerous events is also helping. "It's got pedigree because it's a 2012 Olympic car, but actually people are always wanting to know about the technology," he said.
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