3 Tricks To Build Your EV Fleet

Updated: May 7, 2020

In the not-too-distant future, it’s likely that vehicle fleet operators will be big buyers of EVs.

In fact, many of them are already enthusiastic about the idea, it’s just the lack of infrastructure and logistics holding them back. It’s likely that the next decade will see widespread adoption of EV fleet vehicles.

McKinsey projects that US commercial and passenger fleets may account for as many as 8 million EVs by 2030 (compared to fewer than 5,000 in 2018). This figure would equate to between 10 and 15% of all fleet vehicles.

Number of Electric Vehicles in U.S. Fleets
Number of Electric Vehicles in U.S. Fleets

With this rapid growth of fleet EVs on the horizon, we’ve decided to share 3 useful tricks you can use to plan for the electrification of your fleet to get ahead of the game.

Oh, and once you’ve read this article, make sure to send it on to your favorite car/van manufacturer so they get the picture too!

1. Analyse your current stay-time of vehicles

Fleet operators are experts at multitasking. Every day they manage several things at once; vehicle staffing, preloading, uploading, planned maintenance, vehicle inspections, etc.

During most of these activities, the vehicle is standing still at the depot - known as “stay-time”. Charging an electric van or EV bus is similar, with the vehicle stationary next to the charging station.

The most important thing for planning and executing the transition from fuel vehicles to EVs is to analyse the stay-time of vehicles in your current operation mode. The last thing you want to find out is that you must reorganise your entire operation when you change over.

Just think - it’s a critical difference if a bus stands for 2 hours per day or 10 hours. Or if a van is 10 hours at the depot, but it’s being preloaded and unloaded for 4 hours without access to a charging station.

To really understand why stay-time is important, let’s take a look at an example.

Let’s say you were to charge a fleet of 50 electric vans simultaneously. If left overnight for 10 hours using an 80 kW charger, which charges relatively slowly, they would demand 4 MW of grid capacity.

But, let’s say that just 30% of those delivery vehicles needed a quick charge during the day, you would need to use 450 to 500 kW chargers for 10 to 15 minutes, using around 7.5 MW of grid capacity.

In other words, quick daytime charging uses nearly 90% more capacity for just 30% of your fleet. To put this in context, 7.5 MW is the same capacity required by roughly 1,250 homes at peak consumption.

To understand the impact of fast charging for electric fleet vehicles, Ampcontrol has published a simulation.

Required Charging Power to Charge Electric Vehicles of Fleet Operators
Required Charging Power to Charge Vehicles

2. Predict your cost of operation and installation costs

Fleet operators can reduce costs by planning EV implementation and choosing energy-efficient charging methods.

At the moment, EVs cost more than comparable vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs). However, the superior efficiency of EVs and the comparatively low maintenance costs, allow fleet operators to quickly recoup the initial cost of purchasing EVs, and achieve a lower total cost of ownership.

McKinsey suggests that fleet EVs will have a total cost of ownership that is 15 to 25% less than that of equivalent ICE vehicles by 2030.

The factors that reduce the EV total cost of ownership are:

But, the high investment of charging infrastructure can upset the plan.

Every kW of charging power costs money, in the following ways:

  • Operation cost: Demand charges account for 90% of total energy costs. At the moment, companies pay between 10 to 30 USD/kW to the utility company. For example, 50 EVs charging at 80 kW each, adds up to $1.5M annual cost (not including cost per kWh).

  • Installation cost: Fleet depots are often next to warehouses or fulfillment centers with access to high power grids only. Therefore, an extended grid connection is needed for new charging stations at the depot. Grid upgrades cost around 500 -1,000 USD per kW. For example, 50 vehicles charging at 80 kW each, will cost around $1M to $3M one-time investment (not including the actual charging stations). Alternatively, companies can change their entire supply chain to charge vehicles at other locations, but this is likely to cost just as much, if not more.

Total Costs of Operation and Installation for EV Chargers and electric fleet cars or vans
Total Costs of Operation and Installation EV Chargers

With the knowledge of where high costs are likely to be incurred, you can plan to counteract them.

At Ampcontrol, we’ve carried out various simulations to identify cost reduction potential for EV charging. In our latest case study, we identified a potential reduction of 30% in operation costs.

3. Take action to install more EVs and charging stations at the same cost

By 2030, the US market for energy-optimisation services to support the charging of EV fleets could be worth up to $15 billion per year.

By taking advantage of energy optimisation, you can bring down the cost of charging and offset, reduce or eliminate the cost of installing charging infrastructure.

Examples of energy optimisation services include:

  • Commercial-scale stationary batteries that allow fleet operators to charge EVs faster during a short stay-time, e.g. 2 hours to charge fully.

  • Taking advantage of time-of-use energy prices and matching EV charging to low price energy rates.

  • Identifying vehicles that don’t need full charge for their next journey or vehicles that can stay at the depot for longer. Intelligent monitoring systems such as Ampcontrol can help to reduce kW peaks.

What’s Next?

In summary, to prepare for electrification, fleet managers should:

  • Analyse the stay-time of vehicles at the depots

  • Understand and predict possible cost drivers (operation and installation)

  • Use balancing systems and stationary storage to increase the efficiency of EV charging.

At ampcontrol we’ve enabled fleet management systems and charging point operators to take advantage of these possibilities. This includes simulations to plan and predict costs, or actual optimization systems to deploy electric vehicles efficiently.

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