August 31, 2023

Strategies and Solutions for Fleet Operators Addressing Range Anxiety


7 Min. Read

EV range anxiety is a potential barrier to fleet electrification. However, as EV battery capacity increases and charging technology evolves, fleet managers are adopting increasingly efficient ways of addressing this challenge.

With the right strategy, you can manage charging, reduce range anxiety, and get the most out of your fleet electrification project.

Selecting the Right EV Model for Your Fleet

Not all EVs are equal when it comes to charging and range. Assessing your needs and selecting an EV model that meets your requirements will go a long way in facilitating EV fleet management.

Vehicle Range

Recent EV models feature enhanced ranges, with the average range exceeding 200 miles. Assessing the typical patterns of your fleet will help you determine the minimum EV range you need.

For instance, a driver on a local urban route might not exceed 50 miles a day, and regenerative braking in heavy traffic can contribute to extending the range of their EV. On the other hand, if your service area includes customers in remote areas or your drivers regularly cover larger territories, you can justify investing in EVs with an extended range.

You can go further by researching how EV models perform in different conditions. Depending on the battery technology, some EV models are more sensitive to hot or cold weather and can underperform in these conditions, so the local weather may also be a factor for your consideration.

Payload Capacity

The latest EV models include performing electric trucks with a towing capacity that exceeds 10,000 lbs. Whether your drivers need to tow a utility trailer or load the back of their EV with parcels, it’s crucial to consider an EV’s payload capacity since overloading can significantly reduce the vehicle’s range and negatively impact the battery’s lifespan.

Charging Capabilities

The charging technology used is a crucial consideration when assessing the average charging time of an EV. While Level 2 charging can take four to ten hours for a full charge, Level 3 charging can fully charge a battery in less than an hour.

Regularly relying on Level 3 charging, also known as DC fast charging (DCFC) could be detrimental to EV battery health in the long term, reducing range and the overall lifespan of your fleet vehicles. Even so, fast-charging is a viable strategy for fleets that must complete long routes with minimal downtime.

The vehicle itself is another crucial factor since not all EVs charge at the same speed. Typically, you can expect better charging performance if you select a recent model and use a Level 2 charger with a high output.

However, the vehicle’s onboard charging management system will not draw more power than the battery’s charge acceptance rate, resulting in varying charging times from one EV to another when connected to the same charger.

You can simplify EV fleet management by selecting EV models compatible with Level 3 charging and by delivering fast charging speeds when connected to a Level 2 charger.

Implementing a Robust Charging Infrastructure

Fleet managers can alleviate EV range anxiety and build a solid foundation to support ongoing electrification and fleet expansion efforts by investing in reliable charging infrastructure.

Charging Station Accessibility

Upgrading your company depot with Level 2 charging stations and potentially a few DCFC chargers, depending on your fleet needs, will turn your facility into a centralized hub where EVs can charge overnight. Drivers can stop by during the day to top off their batteries.

You can further boost your sustainability and cost-savings by looking into generating your power with a solar array or upgrading your facility with a Battery Energy Storage System. These solutions will support resiliency and make you independent from the grid, so your fleet can operate even when the grid goes down and you can avoid high electricity costs during peak demand times by relying on your private energy storage solution and drawing power from your BESS when time-of-use rates are high.

Consider how many charging stations your fleet will need and where chargers should be located for accessibility. However, remember that a centralized charging hub might not be the most effective model for your fleet.

At-Home Charging

Providing drivers with at-home charging solutions is emerging as a preferred model for many fleets. Access to a Level 2 charger at home allows drivers to charge their fleet vehicle overnight and start the day with a full battery.

Drivers save time and energy by leaving for their route directly from their homes instead of driving to your company depot first. This model can also help expand your total service area, and you can strategically address EV range anxiety by optimizing routes based on where drivers live.

For many businesses, a combined strategy of charging at the company depot and at-home charging results in a flexible infrastructure that facilitates access to charging.

Public Charging Network

The public charging network is growing quickly, with 54,000 new Level 2 chargers and 10,000 new Level 3 charging stations installed in 2022. These numbers are promising, and a strong federal policy supports the development of the public charging infrastructure.

However, an effective public charging network across the U.S. is not yet realized. Geographic distribution remains unequal, and fleet drivers might experience unplanned downtime if they must wait in line to charge their vehicles at public charging stations.

Despite these obstacles, leveraging your local public charging network is a great way to complement your private charging infrastructure. Assess the current state of the public charging network in your service area, identify local charging stations, and contact local charging networks to negotiate special rates to make the most of the existing infrastructure in your region.

Incentives for EV Adoption and Charger Installation

Investing in a charging infrastructure supporting your fleet electrification efforts is significant. You can offset this cost by planning your project around tax rebates, grants, and other financial incentives.

Corporate incentives for EV adoption include a tax credit of up to $7,500 per fleet vehicle. You can also qualify for federal grants, rebates at the state level, and programs offered by your electricity provider. These incentives can include rebates for installing charging stations or a preferred time-of-use pricing for charging your EVs.

You should also contact your utility provider to discuss your electrification project. You can negotiate a lower rate or find the best time to charge your fleet vehicles to avoid high time-of-use rates.

Utilizing EV Fleet Management Software and Telematics

With software and telematics, fleet managers can leverage the latest tech to address EV fleet needs and alleviate range anxiety.

Route Optimization

Route optimization software plans smart routes that reduce your vehicles’ time on the roads while enhancing the customer experience with fast service.

You can use route optimization software for EV fleet management to schedule charging into your routes and plan routes while considering the range. These tools can also help you estimate how much energy an EV will use during a route and when it will need a battery top-off.

Route optimization platforms are valuable for achieving continuous optimization on your regular routes. You can also leverage these tools to plan occasional routes as effectively as possible.

Real-Time Monitoring

Modern EVs have smart features that allow fleet managers to track battery levels and other data points remotely. You can use this data to identify any deviations from the schedule and send alerts if a driver needs to charge their battery earlier than expected. You can locate the nearest charging options and make changes to the route in real-time to accommodate charging.

Remote monitoring via telematics also helps keep drivers accountable for following the established route and charging their vehicle. Plus, it can reveal valuable insights into driving habits and lead to personalized feedback designed to help enhance the EV driving range.

For instance, drivers can extend their range by driving at lower speeds, better using regenerative braking, shielding the EV from the sun when parking, and topping off the battery before it’s fully depleted.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is a valuable tool for planning future electrification investments. You can leverage data to look at how route changes will affect your future charging needs and make plans for adding more charging stations to your network.

Analytics can also help you establish a preventative maintenance schedule to keep your fleet vehicles in optimal condition and prevent range loss linked to wear and tear.

With EVs losing approximately 2 to 3% of their range each year, predictive analytics can help you modify your routes to account for this gradual range loss and actively plan for replacing old EVs or using older vehicles for local routes only.

Address EV Range Anxiety with a Strong Charging Infrastructure

While EV range anxiety is a common concern linked to fleet electrification, recent charging technology and EV range innovations make this challenge manageable. However, fleet managers must adopt a strategic approach to EV fleet management and charging infrastructure development.

With over 269,000 successful EV charging station installations, Qmerit is an experienced partner that can help you design and implement a fleet electrification strategy adapted to your organization’s unique needs.

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, assisting fleets in budgeting and controlling costs while tracking every step of the process.

See how Qmerit’s expert team is ready to simplify your @Home EV charging installation with guaranteed satisfaction and support. Contact us today to determine your EV ROI, advice on switching to a distributed electric fleet, and to begin your electrification transition by joining the EV revolution for your fleet.

Author: Ken Sapp

Ken Sapp

Senior Vice President, Business Development and eMobility