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Electric Fleets – Devising an EV Charging Strategy

Electrifying a fleet of vehicles is a story with two parts: the vehicles themselves, and the infrastructure that will power them. Here we outline how to devise an EV charging strategy.

electric charging for fleets

Choosing the right charging infrastructure to power your electric fleet is as vital as choosing the right vehicles for the fleet itself. 

There are several key elements to devising an EV charging strategy to support your electric fleet, and some questions fleet managers need to answer before installations begin. In this blog, we discuss the importance of 

  • Choosing a location for the charging infrastructure that will work best for your fleet’s driving habits, 
  • Carefully deciding the type of charging to install, 
  • Working out the number of charge points you need before you install, 
  • Considering which technologies and financial models to install with. 

Getting the Right Location

Where are the best places to install electric charging for fleet vehicles?

There is no correct answer to this question, as it is always unique to the fleet you are electrifying and your business model. You know your fleet and its behaviours best. Let this insight inform where they will charge.  

If your vehicles are stored at a particular facility or depot overnight, they need to be ready to go when the drivers arrive the next morning. Charging infrastructure would therefore be best positioned in the places where they are parked. On the other hand, the vehicles may be parked overnight at drivers’ homes, in which case you might consider home charging infrastructure for your drivers, like the AA did. 

Lets Talk Power

Fast, rapid, ultra-rapid, or a combination – what is the most effective form of fleet EV charging?

Again, there is no correct answer. Whilst rapid and ultra-rapid charging is suited to quick ‘top-up’ chargers, fast charging is best for longer, overnight charges where time is not of the essence. It all depends on your fleet. 

If your fleet vehicles return to base multiple times during the day, they might only need a top-up charge. Slower charging suits return-to-base fleets. DX Freight, for example, chose the latter, providing 7kW fast chargers for their drivers to plug in at the end of the day so their vehicles would be recharged overnight.  

If you are transitioning a fleet of vehicles for your staff, such as pool cars which are used during the day but travel only a short distance, you might also wish to charge on a gradual basis throughout the working day. 

Read more about the different use cases of EV charging for electric fleets here. 

It is also important to note that the power of your chargers will place different demands on your power system alongside existing energy requirements. This will require investigations and possibly new grid connections. This is where a site survey can help – not only do surveys help you plan for future infrastructure, but they can also help you deduce whether you have the right capacity on site for the chargers in some cases. 

What About the Number?

How many charge points do you need? 

You may wish to consider starting with a few chargers before rolling out a full EV charging infrastructure. Doing so will help you understand usage patterns and future needs. Equally if you have a robust strategy and know what you need, you could save time and budget by installing your infrastructure all at once.  

Consider Load Balancing

Get smart with EV charging

If the power availability on your site currently cannot cope with the demand of your planned EV chargers, there are a couple of solutions. 

The first is paying a district network operator (DNO) to upgrade your infrastructure, but this comes at a cost. Alternatively, you could take advantage of load balancing technology, which automatically distributes the available power to multiple vehicles.  

Funding Your Charging Infrastructure

Sort the financials

Another aspect of your fleet charging strategy is the funding. Your charge point operator can provide you with the expected costs of installing, operating and maintaining the chargers. From this, you can decide to lease your charging equipment – which helps you avoid the up-front costs – or investigate the grants and funding options available, such as the EV infrastructure grant for staff and fleets and the Workplace Charging Scheme.  

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