Electric Vehicle (EV) fleet management and EV fleet charging are two new terms that emerged with the electrification of companies’ fleets.
As more and more companies upgrade their fleets with electric vehicles, an upgrade of traditional fleet management with EV charging software is needed. Only in this way can a company answer the challenges the electrifications of fleets bring.
Almost all businesses rely on some transportation. Their goal is to manage their fleet to optimize vehicle investment and improve the efficiency and productivity of the fleet operations. This management reduces their overall transportation, operational, maintenance, and staff costs.
Traditional fleet management has been around for a long time, and companies have implemented it into their business model.
Because of significant differences between diesel and petrol vehicles (ICE) and electric vehicles, switching to an electric vehicle fleet (EV fleet) completely changes this established and running fleet management system.
Fleet management can include a range of functions, such as vehicle leasing and financing, vehicle maintenance, licensing and compliance, supply chain management, accident management and subrogation, vehicle telematics (tracking and diagnostics), driver management, speed management, fuel management, health and safety management, and vehicle re-marketing.
Source: Wikipedia – Fleet management
Table of contents
- What is EV fleet management?
- EVs and their adoption in fleets
- The investment in EV fleet and charging infrastructure
- The total cost of ownership (TCO)
- CAPEX vs. OPEX in EV fleet management
- EV Fleet Charging planning
- EV Fleet Charging as a Service
- How does EV fleet management work?
- Core monitoring parameters for EV fleet management
- Tridens EV Charge fleet software
What is EV fleet management?
EV Fleet management is an upgrade of traditional fleet management. It takes all the elements and challenges of regular fleet management and adds another big dimension – EV fleet charging and the EV charging infrastructure needed for that.
In traditional fleet management planning where to refuel ICE vehicles is simple. Gas stations are everywhere, and refueling is only a matter of minutes. Electric vehicles can take hours to charge and EV charging points outside of a few hotspots are rare, so fleet management becomes trickier when planning the same operations with electric fleet vehicles.
The most common daily questions traditional fleet management doesn’t include are:
- Does a company have enough own charging stations to recharge its fleet?
- When will the vehicles charge “in-house?”
- How to prevent grid overload with EV Charging load balancing?
- At what cost will the EVs charge and how dynamic EV Charging load management can help?
- What distances and workloads must a certain vehicle drive that day?
- Can the daily route be done in one charge, or do you need to recharge in-between?
- Where to recharge on the route, and for what cost?
- How to optimize trip times, stops, and recharge?
- What maintenance on vehicles and infrastructure is needed and when?
These are just a few of the significant differences in the fleet management when a company decides to electrify its fleet and why it needs a good EV fleet management software.
EVs and their adoption in fleets
Electric cars are already being introduced in fleets at fast rates in the segment of passenger and light commercial vehicles. As we will see later in the benefits, it’s a logical choice for businesses that transport passengers and light cargo in urban. The total distances are not long and can be done without or with minimal recharging.
Intercity deliveries, taxis, and bus companies are the first businesses to jump on board e-mobility, with many others, even some police departments following.
Uber, Walmart, Amazon, Frito Lay – PepsiCo, and FedEx are just some companies that have announced that they plan to go completely electric by the year 2040 or sooner.
There are many zero-carbon initiatives. One of them is EV100, a global initiative of The Climate Group. EV100 brings together companies committed to switching their owned and contracted fleets to electric vehicles and installing charging infrastructure for employees and customers by 2030. Among the current 121 members, we can find companies like Baidu, Coca-Cola, Danfoss, Deutsche Post DHL Group, GlaxoSmithKline, Heathrow Airport, HP, IKEA Group, METRO AG, Novartis PG&E, Siemens, and Tesco, to name a few.
For any business, an EV fleet is an excellent investment and a must-have in the long run, but only if their fleet is combined with a good Electric Vehicle (EV) fleet management solution.
The investment in EV fleet and charging infrastructure
At the first look, an investment in restructuring companies’ fleets from ICE vehicles to electric vehicles can be frightening in terms of initial costs. Evs’ purchasing prices are high, they need to invest in new EV charging infrastructure and accept a new approach to fleet management.
But to truly get the whole picture, it is necessary to evaluate the total cost of ownership (TCO), which can be much cheaper than it looks.
The total cost of ownership (TCO)
The total cost of ownership considers the purchasing price and all other factors in the life of an EV. This includes maintenance, depreciation of value, received incentives, tax and insurance bonuses, and clean air zone fees. When looking at the TCO altogether, EVs suddenly become much more attractive compared to their ICE counterparts.
Fuel costs, maintenance, and reliability are the main advantages for EV fleets operating on a large scale. It has been said many times before – with proper EV fleet charging management software, the cost to run EVs is lower than running a fleet of ICE vehicles.
Electric vehicles also have fewer moving parts and need less servicing and replacing oil or parts. They are also more reliable, which means fewer idle hours and, therefore, cheaper to maintain and keep running.
In line with the new orientation to promote a shift to e-mobility, governments everywhere are also offering grants for EVs and tax bonuses and, on the other hand, beginning to penalize the use of ICE vehicles.
Apart from investing in infrastructure and rethinking the whole concept of fleet management, the most apparent cons are the purchasing price and battery life.
The answer to both of these concerns is time. With the broader adoption of EVs and a larger number produced, the price of electric vehicles and batteries will eventually go down. Many experts believe that the selling prices of ICE and EVs will equalize somewhere between 2025 and 2027.
If we are realistic, the switch to EV fleet is not a question of wanting to do it or not. With ICE vehicles going slowly out of production, it’s only a matter of time before all are forced to do it.
CAPEX vs. OPEX in EV fleet management
When talking about switching to an EV fleet, the CapEX vs. OPEX approach to Electric Vehicle fleet management is worth mentioning. Simply put, with CapEX (capital expenditure) approach, the company invests its capital in purchasing and maintaining the fleet. In contrast, the OPEX (operational expenditure) approach means the fleet would be “leased” from a service provider for an all-inclusive monthly fee.
In general, from the tax point of view, companies prefer OPEX expenses so it’s safe to assume most companies will lease the electric vehicles when upgrading their EV fleet.
EV Fleet Charging planning
EV Fleet charging is what makes EV fleet management different from traditional “ICE” fleet management. The question is where to charge electric fleet vehicles, at what time, and for how long?
Before a company adopts any electric vehicles in its fleet, it must have a plan on how to charge them. Planning an EV fleet charging project must also consider how the EV fleet will evolve and grow. So how many charging stations will they need, how fast must they be, at what locations, etc. If the EV fleet charging infrastructure is poorly planned, no amount of expert EV fleet management can help.
Another technology is worth mentioning in connection with EV fleet charging – Vehicle to Grid or V2G technology. If V2G technology becomes widespread, EV fleets could also earn revenue by storing cheap energy and returning the extra power to the grid for a higher price.
EV Fleet Charging as a Service
Like fleet vehicles, the investment in EV chargers and infrastructure can also be “leased”. The service is a good way to avoid the stress and investments associated with establishing an EV fleet charging infrastructure. For more information, read our blog on EV Charging as a Service. Let’s just mention that it’s a turn-key solution for a monthly subscription and that like leasing an EV it also qualifies as an OPEX expense.
How does EV fleet management work?
Since gas stations are widely available, a traditional fleet management solution revolves primarily around workload and route optimization, with less focus on refueling.
With an EV fleet, recharging is critical for workload distribution and routing, so for a fleet to properly function, Electric Vehicle fleet management must concentrate on constantly collecting and analyzing battery data, charge status, and charge options of all EVs in the fleet.
Therefore, a modern EV fleet management software will remotely monitor the status of key vehicle parameters and display them in real-time to the online control panel.
Core monitoring parameters for EV fleet management
Vehicle range and battery charge status
EV fleet owners must know the battery levels in real-time to plan where and when to charge the vehicles. For better future planning, battery status analytics and charging history are recorded and available at any time.
Charging process monitoring
The analytics also gives insights into charging process data, which tracks any errors or misuse that could damage or degrade battery health.
Predicted and actual range (milage)
The predicted range is a closely monitored parameter and basis for route planning. The EV fleet management software shows the energy consumption per kilometer and the real-time predicted range. In addition to that, analytics helps planners understand how external factors affect the range. These external factors can include data on how much load, cold weather, traffic jams, or altitude can affect the driving range. The planners can estimate the actual range in different scenarios and adjust the planned route and charging with all this data.
Availability of charging infrastructure
To plan the routes, the planners must have access to real-time data on the availability of charging infrastructure. Companies often use different EVs, for instance, a mix of light-duty, medium-duty, or heavy-duty vehicles. They can require different charging stations and have different charging times, so an EV fleet operator must have the data on charging infrastructure to ensure all vehicles are adequately charged. With data analysis of charging infrastructure demand, companies can identify the potential lack of infrastructure on critical routes and invest in building additional charging points at needed locations.
In the case of unplanned charging stops, real-time data on availability can be crucial for the successful execution of the task.
Monitor driving style and Energy recovery
Another factor that affects planning is monitoring the driving style and energy recovery that an EV receives while driving. Data analysis of use cases can significantly help future planning and decision-making.
Maintenance and Battery health.
By monitoring key EVs parameters, it’s easy to plan future maintenance of vehicles. That is especially important for battery health which wears out and degrades over time. With battery health monitoring, a company can properly plan battery replacement ahead of time and avoid any problems on planned routes due to battery capacity loss.
Benefits of Electric Vehicle (EV) fleet management:
- Reduce total cost of ownership (TCO)
- Less maintenance, more reliability, and stability
- Seamless vehicle operation
- Optimize energy management
Tridens EV Charge fleet software
With a switch to EV fleets, a modern cloud-based EV fleet management software like Tridens EV Charge provides fleet managers and Charge point operators (CPOs) with the right tool for the job.
Use Smart EV Charging Management software, view Reports, and Real-time Analytics, or Monitor, Manage and Troubleshoot your devices. EV Charge can manage your fleet and infrastructure and easily integrate with your existing fleet management software.
EVs will dramatically change fleet management, and collecting and analyzing data generated by vehicles and infrastructure will be extremely important for business.
Focus on your core business and leave everything else to Tridens!
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