The electrification of fleets is gaining momentum, and for fleet managers, it presents both opportunities and challenges. One of the biggest concerns in this transition is how to efficiently manage electric vehicle (EV) charging to minimise downtime and anxiety for both organisations and drivers. In this blog, we’ll explore the key elements of a robust charging strategy, highlighting the importance of workplace charging, home charging, and the public charging network, and how fleet management software can streamline this process.
Workplace & Depot Charging
Workplace charging is a cornerstone of any robust EV charging plan, particularly for organisations that operate a back-to-base model. Here’s what fleet managers need to consider when implementing workplace charging:
- Assessing the Need: The first step is to assess the duty cycles of the EVs in your fleet and their daily range requirements. Not all vehicles may need to be charged daily, and this assessment helps determine the appropriate charging strategy.
- Charger Types: Consider the type of chargers needed based on the time the vehicles are parked. Slow chargers may suffice for overnight charging, while faster chargers might be necessary for quick turnaround.
- Electricity Supply: Ensure that your organisation’s premises have sufficient electrical capacity to accommodate the charging needs. Smart charging systems can help manage charging speed effectively.
- Financial Support: Explore government incentives, such as the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), which offers grants to cover a significant portion of the installation costs.
- Charging Management: Decide whether to charge drivers for using workplace charging stations. Utilise fleet management software to track and manage usage effectively.
Public Charging Network
The public charging network plays a significant role in the EV ecosystem, serving as a backup for workplace and home charging. Fleet managers should be aware of the following:
- Availability: The number of public charging stations is increasing, but the exact number required is uncertain, with estimates ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions.
- Location: Ensure that charging infrastructure is strategically located to serve the needs of your fleet. Some regions may have better coverage than others.
- Payment Systems: The challenge of multiple apps and payment methods is improving. Look for solutions that streamline payment, like using a single card for various operators.
- Charging Types: Public charging points come in different categories, including high-speed on-route, destination chargers, and on-street provision, each serving different purposes.
Home charging is a convenient and cost-effective option for many EV owners. However, fleet managers should be aware of some considerations:
- Accessibility: Consider the percentage of drivers who have off-street parking and are willing to install home charging points.
- Financial Assistance: Some employers provide or contribute to the cost of home charge point installation, making it more attractive for employees.
- Charger Types: Home charge points are typically 3.7kW or 7kW, depending on the electricity supply, and costs range from £800 to £1,000.
Utilising Fleet Management Software in EV Charging Planning
Fleet management software and telematics can be invaluable in optimising your charging strategy, particularly in a UK context. Here’s how these tools can enhance your electric vehicle fleet management:
Charging Monitoring: With real-time data and insights provided by fleet management software, you can ensure that drivers are using chargers efficiently. This includes confirming that they are rapidly charging to 80% rather than opting for a slow charge to 100%, striking the right balance between work availability and charging time. This level of control is essential for maintaining operational efficiency.
Data Gathering: Fleet management software allows you to collect comprehensive data on charging patterns, usage, and costs. This data-driven approach helps you fine-tune your charging plan and adapt to the specific needs and behaviours of your drivers. It also aids in cost management, ensuring that electric vehicles remain a cost-effective choice for your organisation.
Telematics Integration: Integrating telematics with fleet management software enhances your control and visibility over your electric fleet. You can track vehicle locations, monitor energy consumption, and receive alerts in real-time. Telematics and fleet management software work in synergy to streamline operations and provide actionable insights for better decision-making.
Charging Analytics: Fleet management software provides the tools to perform in-depth charging analytics. By analysing data on charging patterns and station usage, you can make informed decisions about the need for additional charging infrastructure at specific locations, ensuring that your electric vehicles remain fully operational and ready for service.
Cost Management: In the UK, where cost-effectiveness is a priority for fleet electrification, fleet management software helps in cost control. By monitoring energy consumption, charging expenses, and potential savings, you can align your EV fleet strategy with your financial objectives.
In the context of the UK’s rapidly evolving electric vehicle landscape, fleet management software is an indispensable tool for fleet managers. It not only enhances efficiency but also empowers you to make data-driven decisions to optimise your charging strategy. By combining the benefits of charging monitoring, data gathering, telematics integration, charging analytics, and cost management, you can successfully navigate the challenges of electrifying your fleet and cut down on anxiety and downtime while achieving your electrification objectives.