Load management: The key to efficient energy utilization

Charging multiple vehicles simultaneously is one of the biggest challenges facing fleets, says the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP). Fleet operators face the challenge of simultaneously recharging large numbers of vehicles without interrupting or over loading their power supply. The larger the fleet, the bigger the problem. The solution? Load management.

Load management is an active process of power management that ensures that all fleet vehicles receive the charge they need to perform without impacting your charging facilities, business operations, or the wider grid. As charging technology continues to improve, solutions like load management are critical to efficient energy usage for fleets, ensuring every vehicle is ready for the road when needed.

What is Load management?

Load management (also known as demand-side management) works by adjusting and controlling the load delivered from the grid. It’s an effective strategy – and much cheaper than other options, say the experts. Intelligent charging solutions, if used across an entire system, could optimize energy usage and help us transition to more sustainable power sources.

The alternatives include limiting the power supply and directing it to chargers, which can affect operations. You can also upgrade the grid connection to your site, but this can be prohibitively expensive. Both options fail to deliver the charging power that fleets need at a reasonable cost.

Flexibility is vital, and there are two load management options available to operators: static load management (SLM) and dynamic load management (DLM). Here’s what they are and how they work:

Static load management (SLM): SLM fixes the power for a bank or group of EV chargers. The power can’t be exceeded individually and collectively, protecting your grid connection.

Dynamic load management (DLM): DLM systems are more advanced than SLMs, and actively monitor the power demands across an entire site and apportion power to chargers accordingly. During peak demand, it may limit power to EV chargers but provide additional supply during off-peak times. DLM systems aim to effectively manage the grid connection, balancing the requirements of business processes, the power delivered to the site, and the vehicles demanding charge.

You’ll need to weigh up the benefits of SLM or DLM, analyzing several factors, including your charging demands, available power to the site, and budget. In basic terms, if your grid connection already delivers enough power to your site, then an SLM system should be suitable. If your grid connection is limited or your operations demand significant power during peak times, a DLM solution may be more appropriate.

How does EV load charging work?

Load management systems actively engage with the grid to help balance charging power requirements, operational demands, and total power supplied from the grid. How does it do that? Their system gathers information from several sources to manage load and optimize charging.

Here’s how it works:

Charging demand analysis: Load management systems connect to charging stations to analyze current vehicles' demands. It can assess the number of connected vehicles, battery status, and estimated charging time.

Load distribution: Energy is distributed across the vehicles, optimizing charging. As well as individual vehicle status, the system can be programmed to prioritize certain vehicles or those with low charge levels. These decisions can be made by operators, enabling you to customize your charging strategy.

Managing demand peaks: Load management systems play a crucial role in protecting the grid. They will control and limit the energy drawn from the grid to ensure it's not overloaded. During times of fluctuating supply, you can set the system to charge your choice of vehicles.

Renewable energy integration: Some advanced load management systems can integrate with the grid and draw power from sustainable sources, including wind and solar.

Load management systems can be configured to work with your business, delivering your fleet charging requirements and managing your grid connection. You can set the parameters and priorities, ensuring it provides the charging you need and delivers the benefits for your business.

Why is load management important for fleets?

Load management is all about ensuring your fleet vehicles have the power they need to perform their role – but there are other benefits that actively managing your grid connection can bring.

Firstly, load management systems can help you cut costs. Instead of charging vehicles at peak times (and paying the highest prices), fleet vehicles can be charged at the most cost-effective times –saving money. Optimizing the way that you use energy can cut costs at a time when every penny counts.

Every business drawing on the grid risks overloading it, which can cause damage and lead to blackouts. Load management protects you and your business from excessive demands and strengthens the whole grid, ensuring a continuous supply of power to your business, fleet, and facilities.

Perhaps the most important benefit for fleet operators is the confidence that vehicles will have the charge they need to do their job. When vehicles are required, they're charged up and ready for the road –minimizing asset downtime and optimizing performance. Load management systems can also support your growth plans, enabling you to add more vehicles without impacting the grid.

As well as protecting the grid, load management could help fleet vehicles become part of a wider connected smart grid, storing and resupplying power when it’s needed.

Unlock fleet charging potential with Heliox

Load management is a critical part of energy management for any business operating a fleet of vehicles. The larger your fleet, the bigger the challenge. Heliox is a European leader in delivering scalable EV charging solutions for businesses of all sizes and sectors.

Contact us today if you would like to discuss how to ensure your chargers can access safe, stable, and sustainable power for all your EV charging requirements.

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