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Fleets

The Future of EV Fleets: 4 Examples of Fleet Electrification and their Challenges

By

Won Moon Joo

January 3, 2022

The growing awareness around climate change means that world governments are looking for ways to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). 

President Biden has announced a new initiative to encourage the use of EV fleets across the USA and businesses are looking for new approaches and methods to achieve this goal.

Many companies have set ambitious carbon reduction targets and sustainability goals. Lowering greenhouse gas emissions is high on the agenda right now and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

The challenges of running a fleet of electric vehicles (EVs)

In basic terms, running an EV fleet means that all company vehicles within a certain organization are powered by electricity rather than gasoline or diesel. 

Sounds simple, but there are some challenges to be faced. Having a viable charging infrastructure and charging management system is one such challenge when you compare EVs to ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles.

We view this not as a challenge, but as an opportunity.
In this article, we’ll explore some different EV fleet types and how their operations can be optimized using cutting-edge technology.


4 Types of EV fleet and how to optimize them

1. School Buses

Electric School Buses (Image by The New York Times)
Electric School Buses (Image by The New York Times)

Billions of dollars of federal funding are being plowed into the adoption of EV school buses right now. 

State and city authorities are pushing forward change. For example, New York City wants all 9,500 of its school buses to become electric by 2035.

Managed charging will play a big part in making these initiatives viable.

The average school bus transports students over a time period of approximately 6 hours a day. The buses run in the morning to pick up students and in the afternoon to drop off students.

For the remaining 18 hours of the day and night, the buses are sitting idle in the depot. This presents an opportunity for intelligent charging and V2G applications.

Furthermore, in the summer months, when demand for electricity is at its highest, these buses can be used to balance the grid during peak demand. This will increase grid reliability and provide an additional resource of revenue to the schools.

The huge battery capacity of each school bus presents a great opportunity for managed charging.

2. Taxi Fleets

Revel Superhub using Ampcontrol
Revel Superhub, Brooklyn NY


In the UK, London’s largest taxi firm, Addison Lee, has already committed to a fully electric taxi fleet by 2023.

Taxi fleets in the US have also started the transition to electric vehicles. 

For example, Columbus Yellow Cab has already purchased 10 Teslas, with the goal of replacing the remaining 160 taxis with electric vehicles as soon as possible.

In New York City, Revel is looking to lead the way in EV ride-hailing with a fleet of 50 Teslas. Revel’s Superhub boasts 25 DC fast chargers and is the largest publicly accessible charging site in North America.

Ensuring on-time departures can be a challenging task, especially when you manage a large fleet of taxis, with limited room and grid capacity to install a large number of chargers.

Also, taxi fleet operators want to maximize the uptime of their vehicles, as their vehicles are roaming all day.

Here at Ampcontrol, we help to manage the intelligent charging of Revel’s electric taxi fleet, ensuring on-time departures and sufficient battery charge.

3. Light/Medium Duty Trucks

UPS using Arrival electric vans
UPS using Arrival electric vans (Image via UPS)

In 2021, several companies announced the development, prototyping, and launch of EV light vehicles, including Arrival, Rivian, or Tesla.

Large delivery companies like Amazon and UPS are looking to reduce their climate impact and have already placed big orders for electric light and medium-duty trucks.

In a previous article, we discussed how the number of miles trucks drive per day is decreasing and what this means for EV charging.

Light and medium-duty trucks are ideal for electrification as they typically carry out short delivery runs, known as ‘last mile delivery’ to fulfill consumer demand for fast and reliable service.

The good news is that most of the delivery items are eCommerce goods, which fit into boxes and have lower payload requirements.

Vans are filled with relatively light items and run out of room before exceeding weight capabilities. Most deliveries are intra-city, with frequent stops, which means more opportunities for regenerative braking.

All this means that light/medium-duty trucks should perform well as electric vehicles. It also makes them prime candidates for smart charging that can be managed by intelligent software such as Ampcontrol.


4. Heavy-Duty Vehicles & Trucks

Freightliner Electric Truck
Freightliner Electric Truck

The biggest challenge for EV fleets is in long-distance trucking.

Faced with high payload requirements and high mileage, the tradeoffs between battery range and battery weight has to be considered carefully.

Furthermore, the lack of charging infrastructure for these big rigs creates problems for the companies in charge of these long-haul vehicles.

However, that is not to say that there has been no progress. Volvo released its electric VNR Class 8 trucks and Freightliner released its big rig eCascadia.

There are some types of heavy-duty vehicles that are ideally suited to electrification. Large utility vehicles such as ambulances or garbage trucks, for example. These vehicles could benefit a lot from intelligent charging as they travel intermittent, short distances, and return regularly to a home base.
In fact, New York City has purchased 7 models of Mack Truck’s electric garbage trucks. It will be interesting to see how the model scenario of stop-and-go and predictable routes of noise-free garbage trucks will benefit from electrification and smart charging.

Conclusion

As battery technologies evolve, we expect to see rapid changes to the various types of electric vehicles and fleets and the way they are charged.

We are only just beginning to understand how different fleets will operate when they transition to electric power.

At Ampcontrol, we can already see the challenges generated by fleet electrification. We work closely with multiple partners to learn from the challenges of operating electric vehicles and innovate solutions to overcome them.


Read more about how smart software can help with the transition to EV fleets here.


EV Charging Management Made Simple

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.

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