- What Is Fleet Charging?
- What is an EV Fleet?
- What are the Benefits of an EV Fleet?
- Should You Invest in EV Charging Stations?
- Why Does Your Fleet Need EV Charging?
Electric Vehicles are rapidly growing in popularity in the U.S. and worldwide in general. It is expected that EV sales will jump from 5.7% in 2022 up to 20% by 2030, some of the most important stakeholders making this happen are corporations, companies, and organizations in general that are electrifying their fleets, shifting from traditional gas vehicles to EVs that run entirely on electricity.
As fleets from organizations of all types and sizes switch to electric, the concept of EV charging fleet and its understanding becomes extremely important. In this article, you will learn the basics of EV fleets, EV fleet charging, the benefits of shifting from combustion vehicles to electric ones for fleets, and more.
EVs do not run on gas as regular Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles do, instead, they have large capacity batteries that range in size from 40 kWh up to 100 kWh or more, these batteries are used to power the EV electric engine that delivers power to the wheels. The process of electric vehicle charging fleet involves charging the EV batteries of a fleet of vehicles to keep them running as they are needed.
To charge an EV fleet, companies install commercial-rated level 2 EV chargers that tend to deliver a power rate of up to 22 kW to a vehicle. While there are faster and more powerful EV chargers in existence known as DC Fast Chargers (DCFC) or rapid-chargers, these have much higher costs and degrade EV batteries at a faster rate, making them a less cost-efficient option for companies acquiring EV fleets.
Companies may opt for different EV fleet charging strategies depending on their needs. Some companies requiring their EV fleet on-demand at all times may schedule vehicles to charge on arrival, charging up to 20 miles per charging hour. Other companies may charge EVs in the fleet based on pending tasks, while others looking to reduce expenses can opt for energy management EV fleet solutions to charge vehicles during off-peak hours at a lower cost per kWh consumed.
EV fleet services electric charging can adapt to the tailored needs of each company and its priorities. Now, before diving into the benefits and importance of EV fleet charging, it is important to understand the concept of an EV fleet.
An EV fleet comprises numerous groups of electric vehicles destined to operate and fulfill tasks for a company, governmental agency, or any other organization that either owns or leases the vehicles. Charging and operating an electric fleet is performed either by the company or an external service. EV fleets are used to transport people, deliver goods, or fulfill any type of tasks required by the company.
EV fleet charging solutions can help companies reduce their carbon footprint, reduce driving expenses, and improve their brand. EV fleets can be used to replace regular ICE vehicle fleets of taxis, private and public buses, trucks, light-duty vehicles in general, and more.
Currently, there are many important companies such as Amazon, AT&T, DHL, Hertz, IKEA, PepsiCo, Verizon, and others, that are switching to EV fleets as their main transport option. While large companies and other entities are the first ones to leave their combustion engine days behind, other small and large companies are also following their steps towards e-mobility.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
EVs are zero tailpipe emissions vehicles, meaning that they do not release Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to the environment. These vehicles are not entirely guilt-free, since they do have a carbon footprint caused by the manufacturing process of the vehicle and energy generation using fossil fuels.
It is expected that during their lifespan, EVs release 64% less GHG emissions than ICE vehicles, reducing those emissions further down when charged with clean energy. Companies switching to e-mobility can more easily meet sustainability goals, especially when the fleet EV charging is powered with clean energy.
Reduce Driving Expenses
Driving an EV is less expensive than driving an ICE vehicle. According to the Transportation Research Institute from the University of Michigan, driving an EV can be around 50% cheaper than an ICE vehicle. These numbers can shift depending on the price of electricity and the price of gas, such as during June 2022 when gas prices reached an all-time high of $5.032 per gallon.
Considering this price analysis, EV fleet charging and driving can save companies a great amount of money. Forward-thinking companies can even reduce these costs further by using popular clean energies such as solar power to charge their EV fleets.
Reduced Noise Pollution
ICE vehicles driving over the city generate a considerable amount of noise pollution, but EVs can soften this problem as electric engines produce lower noise. A combustion engine vehicle traveling at 30 mph can generate up to 50 to 70 decibels (dB) in noise pollution, while EVs barely produce 30 dB at low speeds. Companies will help reduce noise pollution and improve life for citizens around them as they switch to e-mobility.
Improved Brand Image
EVs are perceived by the public as environmentally friendly and sustainable thanks to their zero tailpipe emission and lower carbon footprint. Companies, organizations, and entities, switching their fleet to EVs have the opportunity to improve brand image, because their vehicle fleets will no longer be filling gas tanks to burn gasoline into the atmosphere, but charging batteries and releasing zero tailpipe emissions.
Achieving Fuel Autonomy
The U.S. is a net importer of petroleum, meaning that it imports more oil and refined products than it exports, which increases its dependence on foreign oil. Companies acquiring an EV fleet will be achieving fuel economy by breaking that dependence, this will also increase sustainability and reduce operational costs for the fleet.
Some forward-thinking companies may even take an additional step in the acquisition of this independence by using renewable energy for EV fleet charging. One of the most popular and practical options is solar power, charging EV fleets with solar power can further reduce the carbon footprint of the company as it provides independence from the grid and reduces electricity costs in the long run.
Investing in charging stations for EV fleet charging is a great environmental and financial decision you can take today to lead your company towards a better future. EVs will become even more popular in the following years, which is why investing today is the best choice for you.
Finding the Profit in EV Fleet Charging
EVs represent a higher upfront investment compared to similar luxury ICE vehicles, but the reduced costs of charging an EV fleet and driving it make up for it long-term. A recently bought EV will save fleet owners around $6,000 to $10,000 per vehicle over its lifetime. This means that a 20-vehicle EV fleet is expected to save the company from $120,000 up to $200,000 compared to an ICE vehicle fleet. A clear example is the U.S. federal fleet that it is expected to save taxpayers around $6 billion over 15 years.
Capturing Opportunities in EV fleet Charging
The infrastructure used to recharge an EV fleet can deliver many opportunities to reduce operational costs and increase profitability for the vehicle fleet. Some of the most important ones are the following:
- Using renewable power to charge an EV fleet can ensure operators reduced costs for electricity, ensuring long-term profitability on clean energy that rapidly returns its investment.
- Installing energy-management services can also ensure that charging an EV fleet with oscillating prices for electricity in the grid reduces costs, as vehicles are charged in off-peak hours.
- Providing ancillary grid services is another way to take advantage of an EV fleet. Operators of an EV fleet can sell stored power in EV batteries during peak hours, reducing congestion in the power grid and increasing the profitability of electric vehicles.
Installing fleet charging stations to charge an EV fleet is the most rational decision after analyzing the long-term operational costs of EV fleet vs. ICE vehicles and factoring in the benefits for EVs. Some of the most important reasons to support fleet charging solutions are the following:
- Lower operational costs: EVs are much cheaper to drive and they have a lower lifetime ownership cost in general, saving fleet owners around $6,000 to $10,000 per vehicle in the fleet.
- Lower maintenance requirements: Service for EVs is much less demanding and recurrent compared to ICE vehicles since these vehicles have fewer moving parts and do not require regular oil changes.
- More stable driving costs: ICE vehicles are at the mercy of the constant spikes in gasoline prices, while EVs depend on the cost of electricity, which is more stable. EV fleet operators can further ensure price stability by installing a renewable energy generation system such as solar power.
- Increased sustainability: EVs release zero tailpipe emissions, and while they do have a carbon footprint, it is still much smaller than that of ICE vehicles. Charging an EV fleet will reduce the carbon footprint of your company, which is good for your company and for the brand image.
The cost of the infrastructure required to charge an EV fleet can vary from $400 up to $6,500 per charging stall, depending on factors such as EV charging type, additional features, and more.
Nick Zamanov is a head of sales and business development at Cyber Switching. He is an expert in EV infrastructure space and he is an EV enthusiast since 2012, Since then Nick strongly believed that electric vehicles would eventually replace Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars.