To design how to charge the vehicles, analyse current power use for building operations and lights, then estimate how many electric fleet vehicles will be needed to serve — overtime, not just for this pilot, most importantly what the charger operating profiles are. Based on these vehicles’ energy needs, estimate the amount of power needed. If possible, install additional electrical capacity upfront for charging the total number of EVs eventually expected to have in service, otherwise, there can be additional expensive upgrades later. It is significantly cheaper to do it right the first time.
To ensure you are on the right track implement effective Power Management which will help you install more chargers than your rated electrical capacity and distribute power effectively between your charging stations.
Depending on the analysis, adjustments may have to be made to the existing operations to accommodate EVs. For example, some vehicles may charge on certain days of the week, and others may charge at other times. Vehicles acquired after the pilot phase may have different battery capacity or efficiency, adjusting the charging needs again, ensure you have a system that is not only adaptable but also smart.
What electrical upgrades will I need?
This is an important task and without the correct upgrades, you may face severe electrical shortages based on your demand. Work with your utility provider to upgrade the power supply appropriately. While it may not be needed to upgrade the electrical supply for the pilot, it will certainly need more power to scale the EV fleet. If you do need to upgrade your electrical supply, consider trenching and installing conduit to support even more EV charging in the future. This will save costs later.
Because of its complexity, utility work may be the most time-consuming part of the project. Do not forget that it involves permitting and construction work at the property as well as the utility efforts. Make sure to establish power needs early on and get started with the work as soon as there is a detailed understanding of what it will take to support the pilot. The good news is that most fleets don’t need to set up their own microgrids or battery storage to support electrification.
Fleets simply need to work with their utility to ensure sufficient power supply, and the right EV charging solution will be able to intelligently allocate available power across vehicles and balance with building load to optimise electric fleet charging.Keep in mind that some adjustments may need to be made during the charging build out. Driving lanes may change, there may be temporary entry or exit points for drivers, and parking locations may rotate at times. Think of it like remodeling a bathroom: until it’s done, there is possibility it will change.
It may also be worth considering wall mounted faster chargers to begin with, especially for the pilot, as these will not require significant upgrades it will provide an understanding of expansion and utilisation of charger variants and power/supply.
Once the utility has supplied the site with the power needed, it is time to install the EV charging stations and set up the software to optimise energy use for the fleet. Software-driven EV charging hardware is crucial for the success of any electric fleet; it is what will allow connection to EV charging to the other systems to manage energy use and get real-time data on vehicle charging status. This will enable better measurement of the success of the pilot and continue optimising the fleet electrification over time. EVOLV by VOLLT is a powerful tool to manage all your requirements at this stage.
Once vehicle acquisition is completed as well as utility upgrades and charging installation, it is time to start using those electric vehicles. The right routes for the pilot vehicles have been identified and the right drivers to take those routes and now it is time to turn the drivers loose and start collecting the data defined upfront. Incorporate driver feedback and immediate learnings as soon as possible, then evaluate how the pilot is progressing against the set criteria. Fine-tune the routes and charging, then expand your EV fleet.
Expand your operation
Follow these planning and execution steps — and pick the right charging partner — and the EV pilot is likely to be a rousing success. As part of the electric fleet expansion, make sure to provide feedback to all partners, from utility to the EV charging provider, so they better understand how the pilot went and how they can continue to help scale the program. Incorporate driver feedback, pilot data, and any other information gathered during the pilot, and make updates to move forward with a fully electric fleet.The world of electric fleets is a bright one. Our experts can take you through everything you should consider when transitioning to an electric fleet.
Are you ready to implement an EV ecosystem?
Read more of our great articles:
- What business owners need to know about EV Chargers in 2022
- EV Sector in 2022: Riordan Hart, EV Charging Business Development Manager at Search Consultancy
- EV Sector in 2022: Gill Nowell, Head of EV at LV= General Insurance shares her views
- ‘How to generate revenue from EV Charging’ Webinar – 5 Things We Learned
- Benefits of having EV chargers at your business
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