5 ways to optimize your fleet charging strategy
Transitioning to an EV fleet is a huge step to improving efficiency and cutting the carbon footprint of your operations. However, you need to optimize your EV charging strategy to unlock the potential for savings and efficiencies. Your charging strategy must deliver the charging you need today – and be ready to scale for the future. At Heliox, we're pushing what's possible with high-performance EV fleet charging. Here are five tips from our experts to optimize your charging strategy.
1 - Assess infrastructure (and futureproof it)
Do you have suitable chargers in the right places to charge your fleets?
This is the first question every fleet operator needs to ask. Next, do you currently use overnight charging, opportunity charging, or operate a hybrid approach? Is your current infrastructure fit for purpose?
Performing an infrastructure analysis and assessment is critical to understanding whether your current solution is delivering for you and your business. As well as sifting through data, you can ask drivers about their experiences to learn about any bottlenecks or barriers.
Assessments provide insights that can help you plan your fleet's future, including vehicle type and charging infrastructure.
The wholesale price of energy is falling – but there are no guarantees it won’t rise again. So when thinking about the future, it could be time to consider new and emerging charging solutions. Renewable-powered energy, battery charging, and vehicle-to-gird (V2G) charging technologies are all potential ways to replace – or augment – your existing charging infrastructure.
Start with a blank page, and consider all solutions.
2 - Optimize your charging software and modeling
Software plays an increasingly important role in EV charging, especially for fleets where operators are focused on maximizing charging efficiency. The software integrates with your charging infrastructure, providing a valuable tool for increasing vehicle and station uptime.
Operators benefit from accurate information that generates rich insights. Some of the benefits include:
· Total visibility of your fleet, including charging status, trip length, and more
· Understand uptime and downtime of all charging infrastructure – enabling you to maximize uptime
· Receive critical alerts on the status of your EV fleet
· Optimize charging to cut costs and maintain battery health
· Minimize greenhouse emissions and environmental impact of your operations
· Simplify reporting
· Support for Automatic Load Management (ALM) and Distributed energy resource (DER)
Modeling software that uses data and powerful predictive algorithms to help you design and operate charging infrastructure most effectively. It can help you identify peaks and troughs in demand and ensures that you have the charging capacity in place for your fleet vehicles.
You can use the software to test scenarios, such as doubling your fleet. What impact would this have on your charging infrastructure? What are the peaks and troughs in demand, and can you cope? The outcomes of modelling scenarios can play avital role in futureproofing your fleet charging, giving you the confidence you have the right chargers in the right place to ensure you continue to deliver.
3 - Smart energy management
The current power grid isn’t built for mass EV charging, something that’s becoming clearer to politicians, policymakers, and businesses.
Today, EV fleet operators face a tough choice on when to charge their vehicles, as costs can vary massively. Those with large fleets could stress the grid, necessitating an expensive – and potentially avoidable – upgrade or new transformers.
The solution? Smart energy management.
Smart energy management systems can help businesses to reduce stress on energy grids by optimizing charging times and energy draw. Primarily, smart charging ensures your vehicles draw power when the costs are lowest. This can dramatically reduce operating costs and the total cost of ownership (TCO).
Smart energy management systems are vital in V2G, where EV batteries store sustainable energy. Previously, this energy would have been lost. Intelligent energy systems can store this energy, feeding it back to the grid when demand is at its highest. Adoption V2G could provide a valuable contribution to your business.
4 - Vehicle & charging hardware maintenance
EVs require a significantly higher upfront estimate, which must be recouped over a longer period than ICE vehicles. In simple terms, you have to operate vehicles for longer to break even.
EV vehicles are complex interactions between several systems and pieces of software. Like all machines, they can break down, so maintenance is critical to delivering consistent performance and protecting the battery's health. Of course, this means adhering to scheduled servicing provided by the manufacturer, but it should include preventative maintenance.
Preventative maintenance uses data produced by vehicles during their operation to provide a genuine prediction of the remaining useful life (RUL) of components. This information enables them to make informed decisions about parts to replace before they break or fail.
This can significantly impact ROI, enabling you to operate assets for longer. In addition, better-maintained vehicles are less likely to break down, causing missed deliveries and disappointed customers.
Charging infrastructure, too, must be maintained to the highest standards. While operators have access to vehicle operations data, charging systems are highly complex pieces of machinery that must be maintained by experts. While selecting a partner to provide your charging infrastructure, take time to understand the support (including servicing, maintenance, and preventative maintenance) they provide.
5 - Perfect route-planning
Consign route anxiety to the past by perfecting your planning. Businesses can have the fastest charging infrastructure, but it means nothing if a vehicle is left stranded at the roadside with an empty battery.
Effective route mapping requires a detailed understanding of your vehicle's performance and parameters. EV range can be affected by a huge range of variables, including extreme weather, vehicle loading, and driving environment (urban v rural).
If your drivers are responsible for planning their itineraries, software solutions enable them to reserve charging points – reducing the risk of running out. Drivers should be provided with the apps and on-demand support they need to access charging infrastructure when they are working. When they return to base, they should have a pre-booked charging port ready and waiting.
Embracing opportunities for EVs
Access to power is one of the biggest barriers to EV adoption for fleets, but the answer is simple. Heliox has developed a range of affordable, high-power EV charging points suitable for domestic, commercial, and mass-transit systems. We play a crucial role in the transition to EV fleets, providing unrivaled performance and customer support. If you're ready to shift to EVs, Heliox is the perfect partner.