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EV Strategy: Priorities and Opportunities for Fleets in 2024

Fleet managers can execute a productive transition to electric with a strong EV strategy. Here are some key considerations for 2024.

Delivery driver for last mile logistics operations

As of the end of 2023, there are more than 53,900 public electric vehicle (EV) charge points, with around 975,000 fully electric cars now on UK roads and around 5 million commercial vehicles on the road. In November alone, UK commercial vehicle production was up by 16.8%, with13,253 units sold, in what was the best November for the sector since 2007.

In the wake of this exciting electric transition, fleet managers have a huge task ahead when devising an EV strategy to transition their internal combustion engine (ICE) fleets to electric fleets. This is a new and ever-changing environment of vehicles and the charging infrastructure to power them.

Fleet managers do not have to worry, however. With new vehicles and load management solutions for support, fleet managers can find faster and possibly simpler ways to install the infrastructure they need to electrify their new fleets in 2024.

In this blog, we consider:

  • How fleet managers can benefit from a growing commercial vehicle market
  • How load balancing can provide a solution in light of power restrictions
  • The key things fleet managers must consider when choosing a charge point operator (CPO)


The growing vehicle market can encourage bespoke charging solutions

As the commercial vehicle market expands, fleet managers will have significantly more choice to introduce into their fleet. The greater flexibility will enable them to build electric fleets that are well suited to their operations; there will be no need to fit the mold or concede to a ‘one size fits all’ approach to vehicles, as vehicles with different payloads and charging needs can be mixed and matched.

This is great news for fleet managers, as is the fact they will benefit from flexibility with their charging solutions as well. By creating bespoke solutions that charge points operators can design in collaboration with them, fleet managers will be able to incentivise EV adoption.

During the formative stages of fleet electrification, most organisations focused on transitioning their fleets at depots near big cities and installing charging infrastructure there. We will see this change as new vehicles, with different payloads and ranges, mean fleet operators have greater flexibility to install EV charging stations at depots in more rural areas where charging infrastructure is more sparse.

Load management can unlock even more infrastructure opportunities

All fleet depots draw power, whether they are attached to small offices or contain vast cold stores for the preservation of fresh food. The power they draw has the potential to be load managed to allow fleet managers to effectively transition their fleet, potentially increasing the percentage of vehicles they can transition too.

There are two forms of load management available for fleets

The first type of load management relies on intelligent chargers which fairly distribute a depot’s charging specific load between the fleet vehicles. Many chargers are “dumb” and do not allow this, whereas smart chargers do. For example, if one vehicle plugs in to a 22kW charger, it will draw 22kW. If two vehicles plug in, each will get 11kW. As different vehicles charge at different rates, smart chargers automatically compensate for that and adjust the amount of power being sent to each. As fleet vehicles unplug, load balanced chargers redistribute the power too. And, as batteries get close to full, smart chargers will draw less power and give it to other critical fleet vehicles with less full batteries.

electric fleet transitionThe first form of load management allows fleet managers to more efficiently use the power allocated to charging their fleets The second form allows them to dynamically adjust the load available for their fleet.

Connecting several smart chargers together can create a smart charging network. This network helps to manage the power across all chargers. And, if one charger is directly connected to the depot’s building (BMS) or energy management system (EMS), it can also effectively manage the total load allocated to the smart charging network, this is called active load balancing. As the power available naturally fluctuates, the smart charging network can draw more or less power for charging. Importantly for fleet managers, when the power drawn by the depot falls significantly, there is more power available for vehicle charging. For example, when a depot is shut down at night, or drawing minimal power, the additional load can be given to charging the fleet.

One major benefit of active load balancing is that it protects the buildings energy supply and, ensures that the business’ main facilities can still function as required whilst the chargers are in use.

Project planning for a ‘new normal’ will still require trusted partners

Developing EV charging infrastructure solutions to power electric fleets can be complex and involves many aspects for consideration. Partnering with an expert charge point operator is therefore essential to help fleet managers during and beyond this journey.

An important initial step is understanding how much power is available at a site where fleet managers are considering installing charging infrastructure. Other questions to ask are where the site is leased or owned, and whether construction work required to install EV chargers. Fleet managers should not get distracted by obtaining and understanding this information whilst they are focused on keeping a critical fleet on the road; instead, an infrastructure partner can help guide and manage this transition.

What is more, technical equipment can fall victim to failure, so a charge point operator who can diagnose and repair faults remotely and quickly, with immediately respond capabilities, if necessary, is crucial. A comprehensive aftercare package is therefore essential. After the installation process has finished, Mer supports fleet managers with keeping their fleets on the road.

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