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How to keep your electric fleet charged and running

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Not only will the way business premises and vehicle parks are used change, but new short to mid-term investment challenges will arise as operators get the right infrastructure in place to accommodate a new-look fleet and ensure they’re on the road when required.

 

There’s a number of things for operators to consider regarding charging that should be carefully outlined in a corporate policy document to ensure all stakeholders are aligned and there are no instances where vehicles are off the road due to running out of charge.

With that in mind, there are serveral key things for businesses to consider.

 

How many EV chargers should I install?

This is the million-dollar question for most operators. Given electric vans or electric trucks are going to be an expensive outlay in their own right, businesses will want to keep the ancillary costs as low as possible e.g. can I get away with two chargers for four vehicles?

On top of the size of fleet, the critical piece in this puzzle is analysing the fleet’s trip data – how many hours/days are the vehicles being used each week? What’s their average length of trip? What sites do they need to visit or operate from?

The trip data then needs to be overlayed with the electric vehicle range data – how far can the vehicles travel, what average speeds are required to get the most out of a single charge, do multiple stops/starts impact the remaining battery life etc.

 

Where should the EV chargers be?

Once you have this data you can work out if chargers need to be placed at the business premises, what type of charger is required (e.g. high-speed for quick turnaround vehicle usage), or even do you require chargers to be placed elsewhere (customer or business partner premises for example).

Additionally, it’s important to understand where the closest source of energy is to where the vehicles ideally need to be charged. The supplier of energy from the national grid to a business can supply this information, enabling operators to understand the number and strength of charger that can be installed without requiring expensive updates to the energy source available.

Wall mounted is the easiest way to get the fleet charged but if grounds work is required to upgrade the power sources available on site, then it’s best practice to future proof and install for fleet growth.

 

Which vehicles should be charged and when?

This depends on the type of vehicles being used, the type of trips being taken, and the requirements of when to be on the road. This needs some careful coordination as, for example, operators might have a mixed fleet of vans running daily trips and a heavy goods division running longer weekly trips, so being able to ensure they both receive the charges when required using the same charges and with contingencies built in to allow for trip delays, will require a tight schedule.

 

Depending on the type of fleet being operated, where does the cost of charging sit?

This is most relevant for businesses running grey fleets. Given these vehicles are a mix of business use and perk, there needs to be a balance in how you charge employees for the electricity, just as you would do with a fuel card. If you make it inexpensive there’s no incentive to charge at home, causing a build up of cars on business premises and an employee relations job for your internal comms team, or if you make it too expensive then there will be a reluctance to take on the designated vehicles and cause issues for the business in meeting its emissions policy.

Equally, as we all eventually move to personal EVs, being able to charge at work will need to be discussed by the business – what’s the investment required to install business and personal charge points? Is it worth mitigating the risk that someone could one day forget to charge at home.

 

Can I monitor who’s charging their vehicle?

This is where a lot of issues could arise and force vehicles off the road if not governed correctly. Each driver should know well in advance when and where their next charge is coming from, so forward planning for fleet managers will be key, particularly for vehicle requiring charging on the road – adding stops for vehicle charges into the two-way communication between drivers and fleet managers can help monitor this in the business data.

Equally, for vehicles charging on site, methods of adding driver ID will ensure the right vehicles are being charged at the right ports – pin pads, key fobs, or cards can help align to a master charging mainframe that will grant access to the right vehicles.

 

Can my fleet management solution help me convert to an electric fleet?

It goes without saying that a successful EV implementation requires a lot of data crunching – the sort of thing that a fully utilised operator or fleet manager has little time to take onboard. This is where the power of your fleet management solution can come in, where tools such as AI can help by doing the thinking for you and going from data to decisions, instantly.

 

 

Our EV Readiness Tool integrates seamlessly with TN360 and analyses all telematics data to provide operators with detailed recommendations of where electric vehicles could be adopted into their operation. The smart algorithms behind the EV Readiness Tool will even recommend the ideal EV vehicles to switch to and advise on how many and what type of chargers are required to run those vehicles. It can also calculate the cost of the chargers, as well as where they should be located to ensure no loss of battery based on the trips being undertaken.

But one things for certain, change takes time. Enquire now, and start today by building a sustainable transition plan to an electric fleet.


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