Updated: Nov 5, 2020
There are three major challenges facing fleet operation managers.
Implementing green-fleet initiatives
It comes as no surprise then that 90% of fleet managers see electric vehicles as the future of commercial fleets.
But how will this impact the fleet depots?
Some worry that it may cause chaos if the transition isn’t handled well.
We think that this transition to electric vehicles should be something to look forward to. That’s why we’ve put together some fascinating facts on how to implement EV fleets and top tips on using smart charging to optimize your fleet operation.
Fleet management 101 — What is fleet management?
A vehicle fleet can consist of cars, vans, trucks, pickups, or a combination of all the above.
Many companies operate fleets. Obvious ones are delivery firms, wholesalers, logistics companies, service providers, engineering companies, transport providers, etc.
But it’s a mistake to only think of the major corporations such as FedEx, UPS, or Amazon. Smaller companies also operate fleets. For instance, a small brewery that just added its sixth delivery truck is still a fleet.
Whether large or small, managing a fleet involves several areas of responsibility, which traditionally includes the following:
Purchasing and licensing of vehicles
Safety and accident managements
Vehicle disposal or remarketing
Route planning and optimization
Over the coming years, EV charging management will need to be added to that list.
Electric vehicles vs. combustion engine vehicles. Which are easier to manage?
The main priorities of fleet management are overseeing, organizing, and recording all aspects of a company’s vehicle fleet.
EV fleet charging needs to fit into this list of priorities, as it is vital that it is overseen and managed effectively. This is a significant change for fleet managers, especially when you consider that managing EV charging is a very different prospect to fuel management.
Let’s take a look at what it actually means to “manage” the charging of electric fleet vehicles.
In general, EV fleet charging involves the following tasks:
Selecting the right charging stations for the vehicles
Selecting the correct ratio of vehicle and charge points
Analyzing the grid connection of the fleet depot
Scheduling arriving vehicle on available charge points
Prioritizing the vehicles based on parameters such as departure time
Making day-ahead and intra-day charging plans
Monitoring progress and identifying process improvements
Connecting the optimization to other fleet systems
So, that explains what needs to be done. The next section will give you some valuable tips on how to master the art of EV fleet charging.
3 Top Tips To Master EV Fleet Charging
1. Plan ahead before making rash decisions or changes
Big changes can go smoothly if managed well. The key is in the planning. You need to strategically think about the placement of charge points and how they can connect to the grid.
If you don’t plan it well, 85% of costs will come from grid investment and related monthly energy costs. You need to avoid or minimize these costs for investments include grid connections, cables, transformers, other hardware, and labor costs.
To optimize your EV charging installation, you can use simulations that we can provide to get a better understanding of where to place your charging infrastructure to minimize costs.
2. Connect your existing IT system to a cloud-based optimization system
The next tip is to make sure you connect your current IT stack to a single optimization system dealing with electric vehicle charging. This doesn’t mean you have to change your entire IT stack! You don’t want to mess with your maintenance systems, route scheduling, workforce management, communication systems, etc.
You can apply a system such as Ampcontrol to cover the EV fleet charging while keeping your existing software systems as they are.
If you plan ahead, you can even make investment cost savings by choosing optimal charging infrastructure and making the right decisions on charging point hardware.
3. Test early (if possible)
Your company may have strategic goals, such as operating a 50% EV fleet by 2030. To prepare your fleet, staff, and IT system, you should begin to plan and trial systems now. The sooner you identify what works best for you, the more money you will save in the long run, and you’ll be more likely to meet your long-term goals.
It’s a big mistake to simply view the charging of an electric fleet as comparable to a new maintenance system for inspection or repairs, for instance. We’ve witnessed Fortune 100 companies that have been forced to reorganize their entire fulfillment center as their hyper-efficient workflows were optimized for fuel vehicles and not electric ones.
Ideally, you should begin with no more than 10 to 30 electric vehicles. But you want to make sure that you test these with a full setup for charging and maintenance.
Imagine you electrify 30 to 60% of your fleet. Your tests must include the optimization system that manages and schedules the charging stations. This ensures a smooth transition and means you’re more likely to hit your KPIs, especially for low downtime and efficient end-to-end processes.
Make electric vehicle fleet charging self-managing
Now that you have some idea of what’s involved with managing an EV fleet, you need to begin planning which systems to use. There are intelligent software systems for EV charging that can help you to partially automate the process in terms of planning, optimizing, and testing EV fleet concepts early on in the implementation phase.
At ampcontrol, we enable fleet management systems and charging point operators to take advantage of these automation and optimization possibilities.
The service we offer includes simulations to plan and predict costs or actual optimization systems to efficiently deploy electric vehicles.
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