March 18, 2021
In the last decade, as businesses and governments seek to meet ambitious climate change targets through reduced carbon emissions and responsible behavior, electric vehicles (EVs) have seen an adoption renaissance. Despite increased enthusiasm from customers and regulators, the use of EVs in the commercial space is restricted by underdeveloped infrastructure.
Approximately 90% of commercial and industrial sites have insufficient power to charge even five electric trucks, and increasing this capacity could take up to seven years. This makes it even more important for fleet managers to extract the most from existing infrastructure. However, EV demand is not slowing down. As battery technology advances and manufacturers reveal new vehicles that can be deployed in more industries, the use of EV fleets is expected to balloon in the coming years.
Charging Challenges Faced by EV Fleet Managers
The government attention given to EVs in recent years has allowed nationwide charging infrastructure to develop at a rapid pace, overcoming the challenges that held EVs back during their initial commercialization. However, with new models of electric vehicles flooding the market, business leaders struggle to make the right choices. Choosing an EV with the right charger type, power requirements, and charging infrastructures can be challenging for fleet managers who are tasked with electrifying an existing fleet.
The Pitfalls of Unmanaged Charging
Given the considerations fleet managers must address before deploying even a single EV, it can be easy to miss the importance of managed charging and instead rely on charging whenever vehicles report back to the depot.
Most fleets recognize that managed charging can help save money, reducing energy costs by shifting/shaving peak loads. Managed charging software helps fleets optimize their charging schedule to tap into the lowest electricity rates possible and avoid demand charges.
However, there are overlooked benefits to using charging management software in addition to saving on energy costs. Here are three additional ways your EV fleet can benefit from the use of managed charging.
3 Ways Your EV Fleet Can Benefit from Managed Charging
Increase EV deployment speeds and improve operational efficiency
With EVs rapidly becoming mainstream, fleet managers have expressed concern over the impact this might have on their ability to keep their electric fleets running smoothly on an increasingly strained electric grid. Research by Rocky Mountain Institute showed that EV fleets rarely achieve peak performance due to poor charging practices.
Managed charging allows businesses to not only reduce peak-time loads on the electric grid, but also ensure that each vehicle is charged at an optimized rate and to its needed capacity. This piece will help fleet managers to extend the life of their vehicles and increase efficiency in operations
With optimized charging, businesses can also deploy more EVs without significant upgrades to their current electrical infrastructure. Strategies such as staggered charging—guided by insight from charging management software—allows fleet managers to improve operational efficiency.
For example, unmanaged charging often leads to multiple vehicles being charged at the same time and draws a combined load from all the vehicles. Staggered charging would give fleet managers the flexibility to charge their vehicles at regular intervals that are predetermined using strategies such as first in, first out. This can be done either in the face of budget constraints or while waiting for infrastructure improvements.
Identify and resolve charging issues quickly with live status and error notification
While charging EVs is relatively easy for individual consumers with integrated mobile applications and easy-to-use user interfaces, fleet managers often do not have these tools when dealing with large numbers of EVs. Recently published research indicates that charging efficiency tends to drop significantly when more than 10 vehicles need to be charged simultaneously, leading to a higher number of unsuccessful charging events. As a result, business leaders often have to invest in additional chargers to make up for the lost efficiency.
With improved charging management, fleet managers can overcome this challenge by monitoring the charging status of each vehicle in the fleet and responding to any charger faults in real time. This allows businesses to ensure that no vehicle is left undercharged and that energy wastage is reduced.
Develop a holistic view of your fleet with comprehensive data reporting
With the use of any enterprise technology, collecting data to have a holistic view of operations is key in planning future upgrades or maintenance. This is especially true for EVs, given the unique requirements of each fleet depending on their location, utility, and energy consumption. Charging management software predicts charging behavior and helps you prepare for future expansion of the electric fleets.
A study by Sacramento Municipal Utility District revealed that unmanaged EV charging could lead to just under a fifth of service transformers overloading by 2030. Fleet managers can avoid any service disruption and ensure business continuity by using charging management software to predict potential points of failure or inefficiency in their current infrastructure. Comprehensive data reporting systems allow managers to evaluate operational efficiency and performance by employing predictive analytics and checking usage and charging patterns.
How you can be part of the electric future with managed charging
Ultimately, electric fleets can transform the way the industry operates. However, business leaders are still held back by many operational challenges. With managed charging, fleet managers can overcome challenges such as unpredictable electric needs, multiple charger types, and inconsistent data collection.
To find out how you can leverage the power of managed charging to improve efficiency, increase the longevity of your vehicles, and transform data collection from your fleet, reach out to us here.
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