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EV Market

How to save money when charging electric vehicles?


Connor Tariche

November 17, 2022

When managing a vehicle fleet, optimization is key to success.

The important things to focus on are operational and labor efficiency, resource management, and controlling costs.

As most fleets are currently in the process of transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs), fleet managers need to pay close attention to charging costs.

Your energy tariff influences the overall cost of your EV charging network. 

The best way for fleet managers to avoid unnecessary energy costs is to implement a charging management system (CMS). 

A good CMS can help to take advantage of different energy tariffs that will have a big impact on the running costs of your EV charging network. 

Why Do Energy Tariffs Matter?

Energy tariffs often have off-peak and on-peak pricing, which means that there are times when charging is cheaper (off-peak) or more expensive (on-peak). Energy companies call this time-of-use (TOU) rates or spot pricing.

A CMS can optimize your charging schedules based on rate structures, fleet schedules, and the vehicle target state of charge (SoC).
Optimizing your charging schedules using a CMS will ensure that your EVs reach their target state of charge for daily operations in the most cost-efficient manner possible. 

While it’s highly unlikely that all charging sessions can take place during off-peak hours, an advanced CMS can move as many charging sessions as possible to off-peak hours, keeping the vehicle SoC and the planned departure time in mind. This will reduce both energy supply and delivery costs. 

Depending on the EV charging location, applying a CMS can also maximize incentives for off-peak charging, such as smart charging credits or rebates.

Structure of Energy Tariffs

The best way to explain how energy tariffs work is to look at an example.
A last-mile delivery company in New York City has a charging site with 40 DC chargers and 100 electric vans. Their electricity rate structure is broken into three main pieces: Delivery Charge, Supply Charge, and Smart Charge Cash Back.

To keep this at a high level, we will not talk about system benefits charges or taxes.

Delivery Chargers

Delivery rates are set by state regulatory agencies and aren’t subject to market changes. This revenue allows the utility to maintain and upgrade its electric systems and keep its service safe and reliable. Electric systems can include transmission and distribution systems.

The main cost drivers for delivery charges are Energy Consumption and Power Demand.

  • Energy consumption: Energy (kWh) is delivered to the charging depot. This $/kWh rate does not change based on the time of delivery
  • Demand Charges:  Power (kW) delivered to the depot. This $/kW rate can depend on the time of day and season. The difference in rate fee is based on peak and off-peak hours.

Supply Chargers

The supply charge is the cost associated with consuming the energy generated by a power plant. 

The cost of supply charges can vary depending on the time of day, season, and location of the ratepayer. Supply charges are also structured as $/kWh charges.

Smart Charge Credits

Depending on the utility in your service territory, there can be smart charge incentive programs.

These programs incentivize charging during off-peak hours. This reduces stress on the grid.

Reduce Costs with Charging Management Software

Charging Management Software helps to reduce charging costs. In this case, Ampcontrol’s CMS would:

At a high level, smart charging profiles are sent directly to the charger, optimizing the power consumption of vehicles based on:

  1. Departure times 
  2. Current SoC  
  3. Target SoC
  4. Rate structure

Ampcontrol’s system automatically determines the optimal charging session start and end time based on the four data points above.

This charging strategy prevents unnecessary peak energy and demand chargers. The amount of savings can vary depending on the dwell time of vehicles. In optimal scenarios, fleet managers can save up to 60% in utility costs.

See the simplified example below:

Ampcontrol save money ev example

Save Money with EV

As electric vehicles become more commonplace, fleet managers are under pressure to keep the cost of charging as low as possible while maintaining service reliability.

A Charge Management System (CMS) such as Ampcontrol is a valuable tool in minimizing overall charging costs. Ampcontrol’s smart charging system balances the charging needs of the fleet with the cheapest possible energy supply. 

In other words, you can ensure that your EVs have enough charge when it comes to departure time and keep charging costs to a minimum by taking advantage of off-peak energy tariffs. 

To find out more about Ampcontrol and how it can help you optimize your fleet charging and minimize costs, contact us today.

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Ampcontrol is a cloud-based software that seamlessly connects to charging networks, vehicles, fleet systems, and other software systems. No hardware needed, just a one-time integration.