If you are planning to transition your fleet to electric vehicles or are in the process of doing so, then you may find this guide helpful.
We’ll cover some of the main benefits of transitioning to electric fleet vehicles, what financing options are available, how to plan infrastructure changes to meet EV demands, and how to pull it all together.
We’ll also spend some time looking at how implementing a good EV charging solution for fleet vehicles can help you ensure your new EV fleet runs smoothly and efficiently.
The main benefits of electric fleet vehicles
Some businesses and fleet managers are put off by the fact that the initial cost of an EV is more expensive than an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. But this is only a short-term problem.
Over the long term, EVs can work out more economically and offer a wide range of other benefits.
- Reduced operating costs: EVs save money on fuel, especially as gasoline and diesel prices fluctuate wildly these days. Electricity supply is generally more stable than oil supply. You can also take advantage of special incentives from electricity providers by charging your vehicles when off-peak tariffs are available and accessing reduced demand charges.
- Lower maintenance costs: EVs are much easier to maintain. You only need 3 types of fluid for EVs – coolant, brake fluid, and windshield washer. No more oil changes and transmission flushes.
- Meet sustainability targets: Most businesses around the world need to make sure they are reaching carbon-neutral or carbon-free goals. ICE vehicle fleets contribute heavily to greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting sustainability goals helps you to reach regulatory compliance and improve the reputation of your business.
The good news is it’s never been easier to access these benefits and transition to an EV fleet. Currently, funding methods are available, such as the one offered by the Inflation Reduction Act.
Step 1: Understand financing options for electric fleet vehicle operations
Before rushing in and spending a ton of money on electrifying your fleet from your company budget, it’s worth checking to see whether you are eligible for funding or finance from various sources.
You can get financing and incentives options from various government and federal funds. For example:
- EVSE: Charge Ready NYSERDA – offers rebates of $4,000 per charging port for public and private organizations that install Level 2 EV charging stations at public parking facilities, workplaces, and multifamily apartment buildings.
- Electric Vehicles Incentives – certain states and the federal government offer incentives not just for passenger electric cars but also for commercial electric vehicles, including school buses, transit buses, and fleet vehicles. For example, the NY State electric truck voucher scheme.
- Infrastructure upgrades: Make Ready Program (New York) – designed to “support the development of electric infrastructure and equipment necessary to accommodate an increased deployment of EVs.” The program provides funding for utility-side and customer-side Make Ready Infrastructure.
- LCFS Credits – generate additional revenue with your charging operations by generating LCFS credits.
Building strong relationships with your energy provider and subscribing to programs that may prove beneficial for your electric fleet vehicle charging operations is important.
Here are a few tips to ensure that the program is right for the needs of your fleet.
- Find out how you will be charged for the electricity. Service upgrades can take anywhere from a few months to years, so engage with the energy provider early.
- Calculate electricity supply costs and any infrastructure upgrade costs and weigh them up.
- Liaise with the utility company to determine if a preferential EV rate is possible.
- Use demand charge to get an allowance for the highest peak power used in your billing cycle.
- Enquire about TOU Rates for times when electricity is in high/low demand, as this corresponds to high/low prices.
- Understand the effects of both power and energy to fuel the fleet.
- Understand which charging method works best for you.
- Charge faster and shorter (high peak, less TOU rates if off-peak).
- Charge longer and slower (low peak, charging over a longer period, possibly during on-peak).
- The goal is to reduce peak charging as much as possible and charge during off-peak hours whenever you can.
Step 2: Plan the charging infrastructure for your electric fleet vehicles
How many EV chargers and electric vehicles will you need for your fleet operations?
The assets you need entirely depend on the type and size of your charging operation. Resources such as simulation tools can help you to define this more easily.
Simulation tools give you an insight into the optimal number and type of chargers needed for the fleet while also ensuring cheap charging costs and on-time departures.
What electric vehicle options do I have for my fleet?
Electric vehicles require a significantly larger initial investment than traditional fleet vehicles. However, they bring significant fuel savings through reduced energy costs.
When choosing the right electric vehicles and charging equipment for your fleet, you should consider the following:
- Range, charging speeds, and fleet schedule
- Upload your fleet data and understand the TCOs and emission savings: Here is an online tool that can help with this.
- What EV charging point options are available?
- AC chargers for overnight charging.
- DC chargers for high power, opportunity charging.
- We recommend choosing charging hardware with OCPP protocol to ensure interoperability between various EVSE and common protocols to allow communication between the charger and vehicle.
Which software do I need to operate electric fleets?
- Charging Management System
- Monitoring of charging operations.
- Alerts and maintenance of infrastructure.
- Optimize charging to reduce costs.
- Ensure on-time departures of vehicles
- Energy Management System
- You may have an existing energy management system, for example, for a building, factory, or facility.
- Combine the EMS with the CMS to improve the optimization of the entire site.
- Fleet Management System
- Depending on the fleet operations, you may already have a fleet management system that tracks fleet vehicles and dispatches the schedule.
- Combine this with your EV CMS to ensure vehicles are ready to leave while minimizing charging costs.
Step 3: Putting it all together and optimizing your charging operations
The final thing to do is choose an innovative smart charging platform to optimize your fleet charging, save energy and money, and ensure your fleet vehicles are ready for the job ahead – every time.
Ampcontrol’s charging management system has powerful energy and fleet management capabilities focused on electric fleet charging. The software is OCPP compatible and manages your energy usage carefully to get the best results for your fleet and your budget.
Learn more about Ampcontrol’s capabilities here.