One lesson fleet managers learn quickly with new electric vehicles is that you don’t just plug them in for eight hours a night at work like sleeping dogs and then watch them get up and ready to go. ready to roll the next morning.
That might fit a perfectly scheduled fleet of vehicles with daily regiment duty cycles and drivers reporting to their job sites, but the reality of a multinational forms with many different transportation needs show the opposite.
Most fleets will need some combination of the plans that charge – at work, at employee homes, and/or at public hotspots. This is even more relevant in times of the pandemic when many employees and drivers work out of their homes or at offices and satellite locations.
A panel at the Fleet Transition Conference in November 2021 armed with fleet data and experience insights explored how to find the right charging strategy among the top three choices. are workplaces, private homes and public warehouses. Team members include: Muffi Ghadiali, head of Ford Pro Charging for Ford Motor Co; Elise Benoit, head of marketing and commercial communications for Enel X – North America; and Aleece Beaulieu, senior program manager for transportation at Genentech.
EV charging connection
“With electrification, we are in a whole new world,” Ghadiali told the audience. “Electricity and charging go hand in hand because we have a new infrastructure that needs to be rolled out.”
Setting up an electric vehicle and accessing electricity can be done by anyone, he said. “You can fill up with gas anywhere you have electricity at home, at a public station, or even at a depot. That creates some interesting opportunities but also problems. One thing for all of us is practically everything that is connected and can be tracked, monitored, and analyzed. “
Ghadiali says increasingly advanced telecommunications systems are opening up data to help fleet operations plan usage and duty cycles. Among the questions to consider: How do you minimize energy costs with the benefits of telecommunications and geographic location? How’s the charge status and how much power does your fleet need for the next day?
Most electric vehicles will be connected with data and monitoring tools, along with charging stations, Enel X’s Benoit added. “It allows fleet managers to not only optimize how many cars they need and where they will charge, but also how sustainably they are charging, because one of the goals of electrification is sustainability.”
Charging stations connected to the internet can help fleet managers determine the best locations and times to ensure vehicles are ready, she said. “They can support different use cases and routes, and figure out where and when to charge to make sure electricity is used as cleanly as possible.”
Easy and convenient charger
The first thing to do when electrifying any fleet, says Benoit, is to see how that fleet is performing, based on duty cycle, usage, telecom data, and GPS. Then engage with the utility as soon as possible to determine local power capacity, such as available transformers, and see which charging options and modes work best. In general, utilities offer a variety of incentives to support electrification with programs that help establish the infrastructure for fleet operations.
“The ability to take advantage of all these incentives is important,” says Benoit. “That’s one of the main reasons to start talking to your gadget quickly. They often have certification programs for charging equipment.” Smart charging stations are the ones most likely to qualify as they can use data to deliver the most efficient current.
“Utilities are happy to work with fleet managers for that reason,” says Benoit. “They are the key to electrification.”
Ghadiali said 3,300 gadgets across the US differ on improvements related to EVs and charge management. They often see EVs and electrification as positives for them because it’s an opportunity to grow their base and become more valuable to customers while growing their business. Most now have sustainability programs and fleets in place.
“Vehicle fleets looking at any form of electrification should make sure they have a vehicle mindset,” he said. “The real vehicle will be the easy part. They will appear in large numbers. It is infrastructure, utility participation, and energy management that need to be in focus.”
Charging @ Home
At Genentech, Beaulieu manages a field team where about 85% of charging is done in the employees’ homes. Since the vehicles operate most of the time on a small campus with various activities and rest at night, Level 2 charging is the most appropriate, she said.
For Genentech, transitioning to an all-electric fleet of vehicles to halve the company’s overall emissions by 2030 is straightforward, Beaulieu said. The challenge is to bring home chargers into the sales force.
Among the questions to consider: “What planning and approval is needed? How do you perform it? ” she asked. “You need to plan for this. Some of the first things we do to plan are analyze the technical and economic feasibility of using electricity, for our site and fleet. It really varies by geography if people can go all-electric or plug-in or if it doesn’t work and they have to stay in a hybrid. We went to the leadership and said we thought it was the right thing to do.”
After deciding on a Level 2 home charger, the company had to find a supplier and figure out how to get the charger to employees. They must also evaluate the location and flexibility of each employee’s home, and preference for charging options.
One challenge for home chargers is whether to install them in rental homes, in individual lots or in complexes. Shared metering requires more attention to figure out chargebacks while fleet operations should consider how long someone will live in a home. Chargers also depreciate over time and need replacement. And the nightly charged tram needs a dedicated parking spot.
Smarter with charging data
A challenge for electric fleets is to find the best resources for integrated data, so electricity consumption and costs can be accurately tracked and analyzed. Public, total, and in-home billing depending on specific use cases. The duty cycles will determine the combination of the charging infrastructure.
“It is not one or the other, but all of the above. In terms of data, we will get data from smart chargers and from telecoms,” said Beaulieu.
When you have different chargers, you can charge on different networks and use data from them. The ability to set up charging fleets at home supplemented with apps for use at public charging points, Beaulieu said, will support a variety of electric vehicle use cases and address access obstacles.
Enel X has aggregated more than 63,000 public charging stations accessible through growing networks, Benoit said. “The problem is that the fleets are running their businesses. They are not in the business of tolling vehicles or owning and maintaining those vehicles. And the same is true for charging batteries at home.”
A turnkey program with home chargers, installation and maintenance operations can reduce friction points and ease the transition to electrification, Benoit adds. “The way we think about this is that you want to make a button easy. You as a fleet manager don’t have to worry about putting all of this together. This problem is widespread. It’s a matter of stepping back and seeing what they lack to put them together? ”
Ghadiali says the path to successful and long-term fleet electrification is to link components of the entire electric vehicle value chain. These include EVs suitable for fleet use, charging infrastructure, energy management, software, telecommunications, computing, and batteries.
“You are a stream of data going into the cloud. You have a lot of cloud computing to handle all the data. The value of innovation will lie in how you bring these solutions together in a way that makes sense for fleet managers and fleet customers. “
Telecommunications meshing and mapping with charging data will bring more insights for efficient operations. “All the pieces were there,” Ghadiali said. The real value would be a way of summing it all together seamlessly.”
Benoit cited Enel X’s example of smart chargers, a software that manages them and then an IoT platform that collects data so the chargers can respond to the grid. “There was no major breakthrough. A lot of technology is there. Now it’s enforcement and then make sure you’re making it easy for those who are charging and those managing the fleet. “
Save on electrification costs
Ghadiali notes that as OEMs commit to creating more sustainable vehicles, they are creating easier and more unified charging and electric options for motorists beyond the luxury vehicle segment.
Of the total cost of ownership (TCO) savings, Beaulieu says an average of 15,000 miles a year will generate about $2,000 in fuel savings. “We expect when people get back to work and get out into the real world, they’ll start to realize more savings.” Genentech also measured drivers with chargers compared with those without, and found employees with Level 2 home chargers are getting more “miles per gallon” than those without.
Benoit added that while savings can vary based on utility ratio and location, aggregated data shows a 40% savings in terms of fuel. In addition to running cleaner, electric vehicles also need fewer moving parts, which reduces maintenance and repair costs. Savings can range from around $6,000 to $10,000 per year on light electric vehicles.
Not many electric vehicle users argue about saving because it’s proven and clears doubts, she said. “None of the customers we spoke to needed convincing that they needed to switch to electric vehicles. It’s a question of how, when and where. “
Originally posted on Fleet charge