Consumption & Production
Electrify your fleet: how companies can switch to EV
How can you electrify your fleet? As the world becomes increasingly aware of the need to reduce carbon emissions, many companies are looking for ways to electrify their fleets. For companies with commercial vehicles, the benefits of transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs) are numerous, including reduced fuel and maintenance costs, improved environmental impact, and increased brand reputation.
However, transitioning to an electric fleet can seem daunting, especially for companies with a large number of vehicles. In this article, we’ll take a look at the steps companies can take to electrify their commercial vehicle fleets.
Understand your needs to electrify your fleet
The first step in electrifying a commercial vehicle fleet is for a company to evaluate its needs. This includes identifying the types of vehicles currently in use, their range requirements, and the routes they typically take. This decision should also be based on the age of the vehicles, what needs to be replaced, and the company’s sustainability goal, and budget, among other considerations.
The company can then establish which vehicles in a fleet are ideal candidates to replace with EVs.
Another important consideration is the charging infrastructure needed to support an electric fleet. This includes installing charging stations at a company’s facilities and ensuring that there are charging options along the routes the vehicles take.
Evaluate the available options
Once a company has determined its needs, it’s time to evaluate the available options for electric commercial vehicles. This includes assessing the range, payload capacity, and other features of the vehicles, as well as the cost and availability of charging infrastructure.
Moreover, a company should scout available vehicles from OEMs that could serve as suitable replacements. There are a growing number of electric commercial vehicle options available, including vans, trucks, and buses.
Working with the supplier to electrify your fleet
Due to all of the variables associated with electrifying a fleet, a successful transition is aided by a collaboration between the fleet operator and the supplier. Manufacturers or their partners typically have a lot of experience to draw on with helping companies develop charging infrastructures.
Suppliers can help identify the right chargers for a fleet depending on the operational parameters: hours of operation, available time for charging, and battery consumption during a vehicle’s service among others.
Furthermore, they may be able to offer advice on smart-charging systems that use cloud-based monitoring and management that helps with scheduling by providing real-time information or charging status and charger availability based on fleet scheduling.
This includes determining the number and location of charging stations and the level of charging power required.
Whatever the case, opening communication with a business with experience helping companies electrify is an important step.
Address any infrastructure and training needs
A company will likely need to upgrade its electrical system to support the increased demand for electricity. This will require consulting with a local utility company to understand the effects of the demand in terms of strain on the grid, pricing, and capacity.
In addition to understanding the infrastructure requirements, a company must also ensure that its drivers have the knowledge and training necessary to operate the new electric vehicles.
Technicians also need to be trained to maintain not only the vehicles but also the chargers, which includes software updating and checking coolant levels and filters. Scheduled maintenance needs to be conducted on chargers to mitigate the impact on fleet operations.
As technicians have to be high-level certified electricians, their expert knowledge and skillsets are much different than those of technicians that maintain internal combustion engine fleets.
Electrifying your fleet menas developing a deployment plan
After a company selects the electric vehicles it plans to use, it should then develop a deployment plan. This includes determining how many vehicles will be deployed, where they’ll be stationed, the routes they’ll take, and when they will be charged.
Charging requires careful planning. Any downtime means a reduction of vehicle time on the road, which is critical for a business.
Therefore, fleet managers have to determine when a vehicle will be available for charging and how long the charging will take in order for it to be ready for the next shift. So careful timetables for charging should be established for each vehicle in order to avoid costly downtime.
Monitor and optimize performance
Finally, it’s important to monitor and optimize the performance of an electric fleet over time. This includes tracking metrics such as energy consumption, charging times, vehicle range, and battery health.
By analyzing this data, companies can identify areas for improvement and optimize their fleets to reduce costs and maximize efficiency.
Transitioning to an electric commercial vehicle fleet can seem daunting given the complexities and variables, but through early planning understanding needs, evaluating available options, developing a deployment plan, addressing infrastructure needs, and monitoring and optimizing performance, a company can reap the benefits of reduced emissions, improved efficiency, and cost savings that electric vehicles can provide.