EV FLEET VEHICLES: CONSIDERATIONS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
As businesses look to become more environmentally friendly and reduce their carbon footprint, electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular choices for fleets. Fleets are choosing to go electric due to green initiative, but there are benefits to electrifying fleet vehicles. EV fleet vehicles not only lower fuel costs and maintenance costs to have a lower total cost of ownership, but they also offer environmental benefits that can improve a company’s brand image, reputation, and meet sustainability goals.
However, before making the switch to EV fleet vehicles, there are several key considerations that fleet managers should keep in mind. In this post, we’ll explore some of the most important factors when considering fleet electrification.
EV Charging & Charging Infrastructure
One of the most important considerations for businesses transitioning to EV fleet vehicles is the availability of charging infrastructure. Businesses will need to ensure that there are enough charging stations available to meet the charging needs of their vehicles, and that the charging stations are located in convenient locations for their drivers.
Businesses will also need to understand the different EV charging options available to determine what is best for their fleet operations. There are three levels of EV charging stations available, Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 (also known as DC fast charging).
Level 1 EV chargers typically come with the vehicle and plug directly into a standard 120 volt outlet to deliver around 1.2 kW. Level 1 EV chargers can take between 40-50 hours to charge a battery electric vehicle (BEV) to 100% from empty and between 5-6 hours to charge a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) to 100% from empty. Level 1 is typically far too slow to keep up with fleet operations.
Level 2 EV charging is a bit faster, but often requires electrical upgrades to install. It offers EV charging through a 240 volt outlet to deliver between 6.2-19.2 kW and is most commonly used for public charging stations. Level 2 EV charging can charge a BEV in about 4-10 hours and a PHEV in 1-2 hours depending on the vehicle and its state of charge (S.O.C). This charging option is still too slow for many businesses.
Level 3 EV charging is the fastest level available and the most difficult to acquire and install. Level 3 charging stations require special installation and construction to deliver between 50-350 kW and can take between 30 minutes to an hour to charge an electric vehicle up to 80% depending on the amount of kW the vehicle can accept and its’ S.O.C. If Level 3 is what you would like to install, it’s important to talk to your local utility companies to ensure that you are getting the best rates and have proper grid access to support this high power charger.
There are many reasons why businesses are unable to install fixed infrastructure such as, not owning the lot, inadequate grid access, or limited availability of charging stations. Fleet managers and owners may want to consider the option of getting portable EV chargers in order to have more reliable access to EV charging. If you’re considering purchasing a portable EV charging system, take a look at our blog post: “What to Look for in a Portable EV Charger”.
Range & Driving Habits
Another important consideration is the range of the EV fleet vehicles and the driving habits of their drivers. Driving habits will affect the operations and maintenance of the electric vehicles, so it is important to understand and analyze these behaviors. Fleet owners will also need to consider whether the range of the vehicle is sufficient for their drivers’ daily driving needs, and whether there are charging solutions available to extend the range if needed.
SparkCharge has created the Roadie Portable for commercial electric vehicles to quickly deliver 15-75 miles of range in order to extend the range of the electric vehicle. This helps fleet vehicle drivers maintain efficient operations.
While EVs offer significant cost savings in terms of alternative fuel and maintenance costs over the long term, they can have higher upfront costs compared to conventional vehicles. Fixed infrastructure can also have high upfront costs depending on the level of EV charger that is needed.
SparkCharge’s EV charging delivery service, Currently, was designed with fleets in mind. Currently utilizes SparkCharge’s portable Level 3 EV charger to deliver a turnkey EV charging solution with no upfront costs.
Currently Fleet, is a charging-as-a-service (CaaS) offering that gives fleet managers access to our charge management software (CMS) and portal where they can request charges, view vehicle S.O.C., and schedule charges up to 6 weeks in advance. This service was designed to scale and overcome the challenges of fixed infrastructure to make managing all aspects of fleet charging simple.
At SparkCharge, we believe that the benefits of switching to an EV fleet far outweigh the challenges. By considering these important factors and taking a proactive approach to addressing them, commercial fleets can successfully transition to anelectric vehicles and enjoy the significant cost savings and environmental benefits that come with it.
In addition, SparkCharge offers innovative portable charging solutions that make charging EV fleet vehicles convenient and accessible, even for decentralized fleets or in remote locations. Our mobile charging-as-a-service solutions allow businesses to deploy their EV fleets with confidence, knowing that their vehicles will always have access to the charging infrastructure they need.
In conclusion, the transition to an EV fleet is an important decision that requires careful consideration of several key factors. By addressing these factors and partnering with companies like SparkCharge, businesses can successfully transition to an EV fleet and enjoy the many benefits that come with it.