July 6, 2021

Ways to Overcome the Challenges of Fleet Electrification While Upgrading Your Distributed Fleet to EV


5 Min. Read

Fleet electrification is gaining popularity as new energy efficiency initiatives are rolling out. But so far it hasn’t been an easy or streamlined process. Most companies are trying to find the right balance of transition speed, technology and cost as they introduce electric vehicles (EVs) to their fleet employees. Here are a few things to consider as you make the transition to a sustainable EV fleet.

Why make the transition?

Since 2013, global EV deployment has grown from less than 1 million EVs to over 10 million in 2020. This is due to de-carbonization policies, investments in battery and charging technologies, and an increase in available models. All these factors have led to a lower cost of ownership.

Additionally, the global demand for sustainability and better air quality is producing a push towards EV. With transportation being the leading source of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, many countries are setting dates as early as 2030 for changes to be in place. In the US, New Jersey is taking an even more aggressive approach, setting a goal of 2050 for 100% clean energy.

Thus, we will only see demand for fleet electrification grow as more models become available with lower costs, longer range and better charging options. Indeed, some of the key advantages of EVs include:

  • Lower total cost of ownership, including operating and maintenance costs.
  • Decreased GHG emissions (a.k.a., your company’s carbon footprint).
  • Less volatile cost per kilowatt-hour electricity than cost per gallon of gas, which makes it easier to budget using telematics.
  • Ample tax credits and rebates available to lower sale price and install costs.
  • Improved employee satisfaction, which can decrease driver turnover.
  • Improved safety opportunities for fleet managers.
  • Opportunity for increased driver productivity with at-home charging.

Business considerations of fleet electrification

Though the idea of EV may sound appealing and feel like the right decision, there are some key items that businesses will have to consider before upgrading to EVs.

Choosing which vehicles to replace, along with when and how to replace them, are matters to think about well in advance. Most companies will need to use drive-cycle data or other measuring tools to identify which vehicles are the best candidates for EV replacement. Businesses seeking immediate ROI should aim to convert the vehicles with the most driving first. High mileage vehicles will impact ROI and emissions quicker than those with less use.

Factors like parking location, travel route and time of use will help determine priorities. It will also help decide who can benefit from take-home versus shared cars.

With at-home charging, drivers can encounter constraints to their drive range and may need to update their travel routes to be more conscious of their battery capacities. In 2020, the median range of an EV was about 250 miles. To ensure the most efficient usage of that power, drivers will need fleet support to help map the best routes. After all, they will not be able to make last-minute stops for gas anymore. If they do stop, it could waste work hours at a slow public charger.

Managing EV battery levels is essential to the vehicle’s operation, so be sure to develop operational plans before you make the switch to EVs. For businesses choosing to have shared EVs, they will need to create a pool driver and charge schedule to ensure efficiency and protect the batteries from improper charging practices. Installing charging stations at drivers’ homes will help decrease the chance of improper charging by providing the correct charger and plug needed for the specific vehicle. Also, by giving the opportunity to fully charge the EV overnight with smart meters that automatically shut off, you will eliminate the chance of battery damage and ensure your drivers have a full charge each morning.

Key concerns for fleet managers

While the lifetime cost for EVs is lower than that of gas-powered cars, the upfront costs are often more. So, fleet managers will need to create a fleet electrification transition plan. They will have to decide whether to upgrade the whole fleet at once or spread the cost across several years while also maintaining a mixed fleet. Some companies will have a small enough fleet to manage a mass transition, but other companies’ fleets will be too complex to do everything at once without risking massive operations issues and downtime.

They will also need to decide whether to use telematics, which can assist with tracking all vehicle metrics and reimbursement charges. However, telematics can be costly, so be transparent about your situation and realistic about your capabilities to ensure long-term success.

Other considerations include:

  • Home and public charging bundles.
  • Renewable energy options like solar.

Fleet managers will need to identify local regulatory policies, infrastructure availability and expected ROI. Having charging stations installed at employee homes can be complicated, but having a plan in place can help ease the process while staying on budget.

Training and preparation

Managers should not assume that all drivers will be able to hop in an EV and know how to use and charge it. On the contrary, most are completely unfamiliar with EVs. So, having proper training programs and processes in place is key to the success of your EV rollout.

To reach top efficiency levels, drivers must understand how to operate the vehicle the right way. It is also important for them to understand how different temperatures can impact their driving range. Certain driving styles will also deplete the battery quicker. Plus, they’ll need to know the difference between the types of charging offered.

Having qualified technicians can help ease the training process, but thorough and periodic training is good for safety and operational purposes. Teaching drivers how to drive their new EV with the most efficiency will also ensure the best ROI.

Learn how to take control of your charging infrastructure

Qmerit simplifies fleet electrification by helping fleets overcome the complexities of installation. We provide a simple and seamless installation experience with top-quality service you can trust, helping fleets budget and control costs while tracking every step of the process.

See how Qmerit’s expert team is ready to make your @Home EV charging installation simple, with guaranteed satisfaction and support.

Contact us today to learn more.