Anyway you look at it, fleet electrification is the wave of the future. The total ownership cost for electric vehicles is far lower than that of internal combustion engines and that’s without even considering rebates, grants, or any other kind of incentives. It’s also the responsible thing to do for the environment, especially in this day and age when customers, employees, and even investors are clamoring for a greater commitment to sustainability.
It’s also a better and quieter ride for drivers, and that keeps them happy as well. Now is the time to begin your fleet electrification, and to initiate the transition away from internal combustion engines. However, that will require solid agreement between internal and external stakeholders, pretty much everyone who has a stake in your business. By taking a step-by-step approach, and nailing down the three major keys to success, all hurdles to fleet electrification can be overcome, thus optimizing your fleet for a bright future.
Data-driven transition plan
Fleet electrification will not only trim your operational costs, but also your total carbon emissions, and that’s great news for the environment. Electrifying your fleet is an investment that requires buy-in from all those who are financial supporters of your business. If you can develop a solid data-driven transition plan, you’ll be able to demonstrate the long-term effectiveness of electric vehicles, thereby justifying the initial cost of purchasing electric vehicles.
In your approach to electrifying the fleet, you should use a total cost of ownership framework, which includes key variables such as charging infrastructure, vehicle usage, operations, and maintenance. By using this approach, both owners and operators will be better able to understand the options, and can better determine how everything fits into the organization’s objectives. After that, companies can begin the fleet electrification process and start to see the return on investment accumulate. It’s much better to adopt a phased transition that will allow you to emphasize future business benefits over a period of time.
The holistic approach to electrification
An electrification plan like this involves more than just the purchase of new electric vehicles. It will require you to take a look at the big picture in order to ensure a seamless transition to electric vehicles. You’ll have to consider all the critical aspects of electronic vehicle infrastructure, as well as how all these components work together before you even start the transition. Companies can develop an interconnected plan that allows them to use energy most effectively and to integrate that with their core Fleet Management Systems.
When choosing hardware for your transition, you should be customizing the selection to your fleet’s needs today, along with the potential needs perhaps five or ten years into the future. This means you need to select hardware which is capable of integrating with the right software, choosing a site with the capacity for additional infrastructure, and then calculating the best balance of Level 2 Chargers with DC fast chargers.
The software selection process alone is critical, because it has the possibility of making or breaking your future-proof plans. With this in mind, you should keep several priorities in mind when you’re looking for the right software, including all of these features:
Telematics integration – this is software that is capable of integrating well with other technologies, and includes software to monitor all relevant fleet information.
Interoperability – this allows companies to adopt such standards as Open Charge Point Protocol and avoid being tied to one vendor.
Energy Management – this amounts to the ability to avoid unnecessary upgrades by having the capability of loading shift demand charges at any time.
Charging optimization – this coupled with uptime and fuel costs will help to maximize your operational efficiency, and achieve the lowest cost per vehicle miles traveled.
By customizing your hardware and software selections to the genuine needs of your organization, fleet operators will be able to enable smart infrastructure for the company. You’ll also be able to maximize your efforts now, while accomplishing a reduction of carbon emissions and operational costs over the long haul. We all know that the whole is greater than the sum of all its parts, so a good fleet manager has to ensure they’re choosing the right overall system in order to accomplish company objectives, and get the job done correctly.
Preparing for deployment
There’s no question fleet electrification is a process which your entire team has to be ready for, and that means both internal and external stakeholders. When your organization is ready to finally deploy its electrified fleet, it’s critical that the right partners be chosen to help optimize and accelerate the transition. It would also be a wise idea for fleet managers to have all the complexity of charging infrastructure deployment managed by charging solution providers, in order to obtain maximum efficiency.
This approach to the process of deployment requires coordination between three major players: local utilities, the OEM vehicle manufacturer, and a charging solutions provider. You can count on it taking somewhere between six and 18 months to electrify your fleet, which means these parties will all have to be well apprised of progress every step of the way, to help streamline things.
You can future-proof your plan by ensuring that you’ve arranged for partnerships that are based on your anticipated needs as far as 10 years into the future. This means including the need for additional sites as well as utilizing partners like your charging provider to help negotiate with municipalities, utility companies, and engineering teams to ensure that all local permits are handled smoothly.
In order to ensure uptime and reliability for your charging network, you should select a vendor that provides ongoing operations and maintenance as an inclusive feature of their services. This will allow your company make use of competitive benefits such as service uptime guarantees, proactive station monitoring, and 24/7 customer support. Using strategies like these will help to prepare your transition plan as well as your deployment plan for the long-term, and will help protect you against unanticipated obstacles, such as infrastructure changes or distribution grid updates.