What is EV fleet management? Well, EV stands for electric vehicle, and if you have several cars, then it can be considered a fleet. To know how their operation is going and to keep everything running smoothly, they need to be managed.
Although that is a simplified description, taking care of the entire network and infrastructure is vital to successfully operating multiple EVs and their drivers.
Now, let’s dig a little deeper into EV fleet management.
The EV Fleet
Companies that require vehicles on the road must take good care of them to be productive. Many organizations are turning to EV vehicles as they see them as a way to save money on fuel and be part of positive change to make the world greener, as they produce zero emissions.
Businesses may have a half dozen cars or thousands, and they are either leased or owned, and these cars must be ready to hit the road without any issues. To do that successfully, they need oversight.
Managing an EV Fleet
To manage a fleet of EV vehicles, it comes down to two priorities: charging and maintenance. Every car needs to be in peak operational condition, and they must be fully charged for their daily travels.
The right setup needs to be in place for charging. While all EVs come with a standard Level 1 charger, it isn’t nearly enough to keep onboard batteries full. This works for an EV owner that plugs their car in at night, but for a corporate scale of electric vehicles, they need at least level 2 and preferably level 3 charging stations.
Maintenance is another important factor for keeping this vehicle running smoothly. There needs to be a regular check-up from an EV mechanic or routine servicing at a dealership in rotation for the entire fleet. You can’t afford to have multiple vehicles non-operational because they are undercharged or in need of repair.
Beyond these two factors, an EV fleet manager has much more to consider.
Having enough charging stations for every EV in a fleet just isn’t practical or affordable. There must be a robust plan in place to keep all vehicles charged and usable. Optimal fleet charging solutions can be achieved through:
- Off-hour slow charging
- Rapid chargers during business hours
- Fleet rotation at the in-house stations
- Quick charging along vehicle routes
The manager and their team must also understand battery degradation and available downtime within the fleet. A strict schedule needs to be followed and monitored to increase capacity by tweaking it to its fullest potential. Empowering the workforce to schedule charging is key to successful management, and this can be done with self-service tools that fleet drivers utilize.
Internal combustion engines (ICE) work in colder conditions, and fuel burns steadily. EVs work a little differently as they lose range with colder temperatures and also have increased charging times. This means you need to keep EVs indoors if possible.
This is usually impossible for the entire fleet, so adjustments must be made to charging schedules and routing at commercial charging stations.
For an EV truck fleet, they are heavier vehicles because of the weight of the batteries. This affects cargo shipping, and special consideration needs to be placed on specific GVWR during transport. Lighter shipments will be required to balance out weights, and this must be tailored to the type of customers you ship to and make deliveries for.
EV battery life is finite, so attention has to be paid to how much charging is required to complete jobs. Different types of vehicles must be scheduled for longer destinations, and rapid charging stations must be mapped out so drivers can hit these on their routes. A combination of in-house and public charging will need to be implemented and orchestrated daily.
For some routes that drivers take, there may not be the infrastructure available to adequately charge vehicles, so more time must be allowed for diversions while conducting deliveries and service calls for customers.
Some fleet drivers may take their EVs home and trickle charge overnight. This is a practical way to expand your charging capacity, but it has a direct personal cost to the drivers. They need to be reimbursed for the power usage, which can be challenging to monitor properly. The management team must have an accurate picture of where the entire fleet is charging and balance the available charging options with the most affordable and accessible methods.
This is what fleet management is all about. It is a complicated job with many considerations that ICE vehicles don’t have to worry about. Still, in the end, an EV fleet will serve a company well and demonstrate how effectively these green technologies can thrive in business.