June 25, 2024

Fleet Electrification Planning: A Step-by-Step Guide to the EV Transition


6 Min. Read

In the growing electrification industry, the transportation sector is undergoing the most significant transition since the rise of the automobile industry. Fleets are at the heart of this change, with more companies pushing toward a sustainable and cost-effective supply chain to meet ESG and organizational goals.

Going electric is a major operational shift, but it’s a necessary step for building a modern business, meeting critical ESG and revenue goals, improving vehicle and driver performance, and unlocking new opportunities in the future.

You can separate your fleet from competitors by leveraging the critical component to a successful transition—proper fleet electrification planning. This article outlines the key steps for your fleet’s EV transition.

Strategic Fleet Assessment and Analysis

Before exploring electrification, it will be helpful to collect as much information as possible about your fleet and its unique strengths and challenges. Important considerations include requirements for your fleet vehicles, usage patterns, typical routes, current costs, and industry-specific compliance.

The next step for your fleet electrification planning project is to examine the pros and cons of electrification.

Savings on Fuel and Maintenance

An immediate benefit of an electric fleet is saving money on gas. With electric vehicles (EVs) getting 3 to 4 miles of range per kWh, the average electrical rate of $0.15 to $0.16 per kWh translates into costs of $0.03 to $0.05 per mile. For fleets driving thousands of miles more than the average American driver, this translates into significant savings on fuel.

Access to charging is a crucial consideration for unlocking these savings. EV charging solutions for fleets include building a central charging hub for your fleet vehicle, providing at-home charging with a distributed charging infrastructure for fleet drivers, or even partnering with other electric fleets in the area to utilize and share more community-based charging stations.

Maintenance is another area where electric fleets can generate significant savings for your company, as EV batteries and motors require less maintenance than their gas-powered counterparts, there are fewer fluids to check and replace, and regenerative braking reduces wear and tear on the brakes. While there are fewer maintenance needs for an EV, it is still important to have and implement a regular EV maintenance strategy for your fleet vehicles.

Route Optimization and Range Considerations

Transitioning to EVs will save you money and time with strategic charging schedules during vehicle downtime, however, you may also need to make significant changes to your route planning and optimization processes to maximize the benefits of your EVs. It can take time to adjust and implement new strategies, but integrating software for electric fleets will help you effortlessly boost the efficiency of your fleets.

Battery capacity and charging capabilities introduce new opportunities and limitations for EV fleets. Enhanced EV battery capacity can extend driving ranges, reduce the frequency of charging, and increase operational efficiency. However, limitations may arise from the availability of charging infrastructure, charging times, and the need for strategic planning to ensure optimal EV charging schedules. Prior planning can help you overcome this challenge.

As with any business transition, fleet electrification requires a strategic approach with clear goals that you can measure. Relevant KPIs include capital expenditure for your EVs and charging infrastructure, projected maintenance costs, TCO, EV and EV charger uptime, EV utilization rate, charging times, reductions in emissions, driver productivity, and more.

Electric Vehicle Selection and Procurement Strategy for Fleets

The next step in fleet electrification planning is to select the right EVs for your fleet. Keep in mind that your fleet can include different vehicle models and that you don’t have to replace all your vehicles at once.

Considerations include range and battery capacity, payload requirements, costs, and maintenance. You can also look into buying new or used vehicles, research the federal, state, and local incentives available to your fleet, and assess how much value tech features such as advanced telematics or bidirectional charging would create.

Purchasing EVs isn’t the only procurement option, as many fleet management providers offer access to EVs via subscription models or leases.

Your vehicle procurement strategy should reflect your budget, key requirements, and electrification goals. There are many EV fleet models on the market and with the decreasing cost of EV batteries and other new technologies available, manufacturers have announced more planned releases in the near future with increasing technology and the potential for lower prices.

Getting drivers involved in this part of the planning process is also a great way to ensure you pick EVs that deliver an optimal experience for them while reducing any range anxieties or other concerns they may have about driving electric.

EV Charging Infrastructure Planning and Implementation

With a 7.7% increase in the number of publicly available charging ports during Q3 2023, there is a nationwide effort to develop a strong EV charging infrastructure and this push toward widespread EV charger access is rapidly growing.

However, despite significant public and private investments, access to EV charging infrastructure remains limited in many areas, and EV charger uptime and waiting lines can be an issue for commercial fleets relying solely on public charging stations. Therefore, fleet electrification planning must include developing a reliable charging infrastructure for your fleet vehicles.

This part of fleet electrification planning entails identifying the best charging locations, whether you determine a central hub, drivers’ homes, third-party locations, or a combination of these options will be the best location to deploy your fleet EV charging infrastructure. You will also need to compare different charger models based on your fleet needs for range and downtime, assess how many EV charging stations you’ll need, reach out to your utility provider to discuss and negotiate charging rates, and even explore DC Fast Charging as a faster alternative to Level 2 EV charging depending on your fleet needs.

If you opt for Level 2 EV charging, you should know that fleet vehicles will gain 12 to 80 miles of range per hour of charging, creating the need for an optimized charging schedule to avoid wasted downtime. These chargers can often refuel an electric vehicle in four to ten hours and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in as little as one to three hours.

Adopting flexible EV charging and route planning strategies helps to maximize your EV fleet savings. For instance, you could adopt a rotating schedule to ensure that EVs are consistently on the road or plugged into your charging infrastructure and ready to hit the road as soon as the battery is fully charged. Additionally, you might leverage at-home charging and have drivers stop at a nearby residential charger for top-off charging in the middle of a route before heading back to a central charging depot to fully recharge. These approaches can enhance operational efficiency and keep your fleet running smoothly.

Get Help From Qmerit For Your Fleet Electrification Project

A successful fleet electrification project requires a strategic approach, starting with a thorough assessment of your fleet’s requirements and objectives. Next, you should consider the vehicles you will purchase and determine a procurement strategy. The final step is to develop an EV charging strategy that ensures your fleet vehicles are charged and ready when your drivers are.

Having the right partner by your side can make all the difference in easing your transition and ensuring you make the most of your fleet’s electric vehicles. With Qmerit, you’ll have access to years of expertise as you develop a customized electrification plan that addresses your unique challenges and goals.

As the largest and most trusted electrification network in North America, our network of certified electricians has installed over 450,000 EV charging stations in homes and businesses across the U.S. and Canada.

We’ve earned our reputation as the most experienced and high-quality electrification service and EV charger installation network and can help make your transition easy with our experience and commitment to your business.

Find out how an electric vehicle fleet can help build your business for the future. With a simple and seamless installation experience and top-quality service you can trust, Qmerit makes driving electric easy no matter where your drivers need to charge.

Contact Qmerit today to learn how we can support your fleet electrification project and help you enjoy the benefits of a seamless EV experience without the typical complexities of EV charger installation.

Author: Ken Sapp

Ken Sapp

Senior Vice President, Business Development and eMobility