Skip to main content
EV fleet

How EV service fleets can extend their range

Written by: Alexa Stone

The global light-duty vehicle fleet of 2020 will almost double by 2050. As fleets expand, greater numbers of electric vehicles (EV) will be acquired.

Those predictions were documented in a U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, finding that in 2020, less than 1% of fleet vehicles were EV. By 2050, the EV percentage would grow to 31%.[1]

A transition from high maintenance petroleum vehicles brings challenges and opportunities to fleet managers. Proactive steps taken today can reduce acquisition and maintenance costs by better planning for tomorrow’s EV service fleets.

Acquiring equipment and infrastructure

Here today:
More EV choices in a showroom near you

Tech-savvy consumers were early adopters of EV. Today, business and commerce can bring EV light trucks into their fleets. Rivian, a California EV manufacturer founded in 2009, offers the R1T pickup. Some of the auto industry’s largest factories have been retooled. GM offers the 2022 Silverado EV as essential for farm, family, and business use. Ford’s 2022 F-150 EV pickup is being marketed along with eight configurations of E-Transit commercial van.

Coming soon:
Greater range for commercial operations

Green fleet

Recently approved legislation will increase the nation’s EV charging station inventory, but not provide every need. The bill first debated in Congress would have funded 500,000 charging stations by 2030. The pared-down allocation of $7.5 billion was less than 5% of the needed amount.

Even at a reduced scope, fast charging stations will soon serve interstate commerce along major highway corridors. Initial government investment could be a catalyst for greater growth as local utilities, charging service companies, and travel center tenants collaborate with state departments of transportation.

As more charging stations are brought online, improved battery technologies will further extend road routes for commercial EV.

Now arriving:
Increased charging power and speed

The fast chargers of five years ago delivered 50 kW of power. Today, that power has tripled, with further growth expected. Among the options for commercial fleets, charging systems can be housed within containers. When multiple megawatts of DC rectifiers are housed within a single container, site footprint can be reduced, and fewer foundations are required.[2]

Preparing for transformation

EV Infrastructure Planning
ecoPreserve recently conducted feasibility studies for fleet electrifications and assisted the Orlando Utilities Commission in planning an electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The transition to EVs will fundamentally change fleet operations. Oil changes, tune-ups, and catalytic converters won’t be needed. Gas pumps may remain at many of today’s 150,000 fueling stations, but those pumps will not serve the EV fleet.

A fuel infrastructure for EV service fleets will evolve randomly if not through planning and design. Today’s planning can tailor the infrastructure to support an expected workload. By anticipating what must be measured and planning a sensor network to be monitored, performance can be sustained within budget. The competitive edge of efficient operations will return dividends year after year.

Tailoring the infrastructure[3]

Choices of EV models must match the charging equipment that will be available. Likewise, the planning for EV charging stations cannot overlook which EVs will be in the fleet.

All equipment must serve operational needs. Delivery vans, for example, might be on the road for long workdays. In that case, high-powered DC fast chargers would be needed within a limited time window. Vehicles having intermittent operation, like school busses, would have more time to charge. Less power might effectively meet the need.

For some operations, a Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) application could put a throttle on expense by reducing differences between peak and valley load times. The bidirectional charging stations of a V2G infrastructure deliver power from a grid and can return power to it. Wherever high-capacity vehicle batteries are in use and schedules permit, V2G components should be considered.

Configuring a sensor network[4]

In the absence of yesterday’s timing belts and today’s coolant flushes, EVs will require battery monitoring and maintenance. Continuous data from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors can trigger adjustments to maintenance schedules while predicting supply and equipment needs.

While the technology needs may seem significant, Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions can remove technical roadblocks. SaaS, a well-established benefit of the internet cloud, means that a variety of competitive solutions will be marketed to support EV maintenance.

Mileage and vehicle use data will remain essential in future fleet operations. Because weather, traffic patterns, altitude, and other external factors may impact battery health, those will be key performance indicators (KPIs) for EV service fleets. Battery condition, recharging interval, and energy required will be KPI as well.

SOURCES:

[1] EIA.gov — U.S. Energy Information Administration
[2] BurnsMcD.com — Burns McDonnell
[3] BurnsMcD.com — The Rocky Mountain Institute is a nonprofit organization working to accelerate the clean energy transition.
[4] Forbes.com

Tags