How to Optimize Your EV Fleet Charging Operation
Fleet electric vehicle (EV) charging refers to the process of charging a group of electric vehicles such as OEMs, ride-share companies, utility vehicles, and many more industry fleets. As green initiatives become more prevalent, companies everywhere are starting to add electric vehicles to their fleets. The most daunting part about adding EVs is optimizing your charging operations.
EV fleet charging is typically done at a central location, such as a parking lot, where the vehicles have access to the grid and can be connected to ev charging stations. The goal of fleet owners and operators is to ensure the electric vehicles have sufficient battery power to operate while also optimizing the charging process to minimize downtime and reduce costs. Planning for electric vehicle charging can be difficult due to the constantly changing energy costs, long lead times for fixed infrastructure, installation, grid updates, permitting, and construction needed to install charging stations.
Optimizing your electric vehicle fleet charging operations challenges fleet owners and managers to find innovative solutions to charge electric vehicles in a way that is efficient, reliable, and brings down the total cost of ownership. There are several steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the most from your EV fleet charging solutions:
1. Assess Your Current Charging Infrastructure:
If you already have a method in place, you’ll want to consider the scaleability of that solution. Is it going to be able to keep up with the growing number of EVs and charging needs? Is it disrupting routes? Are the costs unpredictable and difficult to plan for? You may need to consider upgrading your current infrastructure to a more powerful EV charging solution or adding additional charging options to your fleet.
2. Use Energy Management Systems that Integrate:
By using a charging system that can integrate with your current platforms, you will be able to better monitor your vehicles and their state of charge (S.O.C). There are also smart charging technologies that can help you track your vehicles’ battery performance as well as help you plan when to charge your EVs. The more information you have on your electric fleet vehicles, the more streamlined your operations will be.
3. Develop a Charging Plan:
Develop a schedule for when and where your electric vehicles will be charged, and communicate it to your drivers. You may want to develop a system to prioritize which vehicles are charged first based on current battery levels and their expected usage.
If you have traditional fixed EV charging infrastructure, you may want to consider off-peak charging times to help lower costs and avoid high demand charges. It is important to note that energy costs for fixed infrastructure are constantly changing and difficult to plan for.
For decentralized fleets, look into programs that offer mobile charging, like SparkCharge’s CaaS (Charging as a Service) programs, that can help manage vehicle charging in different locations by delivering the charge to the vehicle. This can help you avoid charging bottlenecks and ensure that your EVs are ready to go when they are needed.
4. Educate Your Staff:
Educate your fleet drivers on the importance of optimizing electric vehicle batteries, and provide them with the tools and information they need. This can include training on how to use the charging equipment, how to monitor and manage the charging process, and general EV battery tips.
Electric vehicle batteries perform differently depending on where they are stored. The way in which EVs are driven can also increase battery performance. There are specific battery percentages that electric vehicle batteries are not supposed to drop below in order to optimize charging and performance. All of this information is very important to performance and maintenance of the vehicle. Informing management and drivers can improve daily operations and reduce the likelihood of mismanagement and vehicle downtime.
5. Invest in the Right Charging Equipment:
Choosing the right charging equipment can also help optimize EV fleet charging operations. There are many things fleet operation managers need to take into account when looking for charging solutions. How many vehicles need to be charged? How far/often are the electric vehicles being driven? Do I have the right grid access to support EV charging? Ideally, most EV fleets would need charging equipment that has a high charging speed to keep up with demand. Level 3 EV chargers offer fast charging compared to Level 2 chargers, but cost up to $120,000 and can take up to a year to install just one charger. Explore grid-free Level 3 EV charging options like SparkCharge EV chargers and their mobile CaaS (Charging as a Service) offerings.
Optimizing EV fleet operations can have many benefits for your business. By implementing strategies like investing in the righ equipment, integrating systems, and proper education, you can maximize the efficiency of your fleet and reduce operational costs (OpEx). Taking these steps can help ensure that EV fleet operations run smoothly and efficiently.