Four Success Factors for Accelerating Fleet Electrification
Electrifying fleets, whether fleets of passenger vehicles used as company cars or road transportation fleets, including buses, delivery vans and heavy-duty vehicles, promises to have significant environmental and commercial impact. Fleet vehicles are responsible for close to 25% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so turning them into zero-emission vehicles will go a long way toward meeting country-level GHG goals. What’s more, current trends indicate that electrifying fleets will drive broader EV passenger vehicle adoption in both Europe and the US.
However, EV charging infrastructure is lagging behind vehicle adoption. Recent research indicates that taking a long-term view in planning charging infrastructure buildout is key to reducing the total cost of infrastructure and operations and avoiding costly retrofitting. At the same time, fleet managers moving toward electrification will need to consider how they will scale up EV charging management.
Having been involved in many fleet electrification processes around the globe, we’ve identified these four success factors to accelerating fleet electrification: integrating charging into a seamless vehicle journey, optimizing energy management, achieving a stable charging environment that drivers can rely on, and reducing overall total cost of ownership (TCO).
Creating a seamless electric vehicle journey
To meet driver expectations and increase satisfaction with EV fleet vehicles, charging must be integrated seamlessly into the vehicle journey. That starts with intuitive and easy-to-use tools for drivers delivered to them via a mobile app or an online portal.
EV drivers should be able to charge in multiple locations, including in-route charging away from the workplace or depot. Think maps for locating and navigating to allowed roaming charging locations, an easy way to pay at public facilities, and simplified reimbursement for home charging. They should also be able to report issues with EV charging, like a faulty charger, using the app or portal.
To enable a real seamless journey, an EV charging management solution should also integrate with legacy fleet management solutions for schedule planning, vehicle tracking, vehicle sharing, and the like.
Optimizing energy management and infrastructure capacity
Whether your charging facility has a few or dozens of chargers, balancing power across all of them is a challenge. A smart EV charging solution will help you ensure that all vehicles are ready for their next journey and reduce cost by activating chargers based on vehicle use priorities and on time-based utility charges so you use the most electricity when it’s cheapest.
There are other steps you can take to lower costs. Based on charging-behavior-patterns data captured by your energy management system, you can evaluate current energy use and trends, plus use that data for capacity planning and for infrastructure expansion ahead of growing demands. Also, be sure your facility is designed to support as many EVs as possible given the topology of your site and energy supply from your utility.
Another strategy, useful for large fleet owners and workplace facilities, is to integrate your charging site with renewable energy sources and local storage, such as solar panels and batteries. And plan from the outset to support vehicle-to-grid (V2G), an emerging technology that allows EVs to green the grid by stabilizing demand and smoothing peaks and troughs throughout the day.
Achieving a stable EV charging environment
EV chargers’ availability and stability are key. EV fleet managers will benefit from choosing a modular and scalable charging and smart energy management solution that supports 24/7 monitoring and provides advanced tools for managing chargers. For example, you can streamline management with a solution that provides Insights-driven operational dashboards to highlight problems in real time. You can resolve issues faster with troubleshooting tools that enable remote problem resolution or, even better, employ advanced self-healing technology to enable proactive and automated problem resolution. Your drivers should be able to report problems such as broken chargers via their mobile app or web portal.
Objectives shared by EV fleet managers are maximizing cost savings while optimizing utilization of the charging infrastructure, whether you are operating a depot or placing charging stations at workplace locations. Choosing a hardware-agnostic EV fleet charging management solution will help by providing the flexibility to expand as needed while taking advantage of more efficient hardware solutions like chargers and batteries as they come on the market. Also, you can decrease field technician costs with an EV charging management solution that maximizes uptime and provides remote issue resolution capabilities.
Add up the benefits
In addition to a seamless driver journey, optimization and stabilization of the charging environment, and cost savings, benefits of an EV fleet charging management solution include optimized fleet utilization because vehicles are always charged on time and ready for use. That results in confidence and peace of mind for fleet managers and drivers alike.
Read our “Decision-Maker’s Guide to Selecting an EV Charging Management Platform” for more insights into choosing a solution for your fleet electrification program.