24th August 2021
Fleet Management in an All-Electric World
RELEVANCE OF ELECTRIC FLEETS
Electric vehicles (EVs) are one of the fastest-growing modes of transport, across multiple vehicle types, such as cars, transit buses, delivery vans, and electric bikes. This market is quickly moving toward maturity due to the increased demand, the growing availability of diverse vehicle models, and initiatives to expand charging infrastructure. As per EY’s report, the percentage of electric vehicles on roads is expected to reach 65% in the US by 2050. That’s a jump from 2 million EVs to 88 million over 30 years, with EVs already starting to achieve cost parity with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
With the markets changing so quickly, corporates have an opportunity to seize the first-mover advantage by exploring fleet EV adoption and responding to the needs of reducing carbon emissions. Since companies are controlling more than half the vehicles on the roads today, they play a tremendous role in leading the transition to electric vehicles – both in electrifying their fleets and leveraging their buying power to send a strong market signal to policymakers and automakers.
Global Electric Commercial Vehicle Market is valued at USD 170 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 700 billion by 2026. This presents a huge opportunity for commercial fleet managers as they are increasingly weighing the benefits of fleet electrification with government mandates to reduce emissions, the push towards corporate social responsibility (CSR), and the ever-present need to lower fleet fuel costs. As technologically advanced electric vehicle (EV) models are becoming widely available, fleet managers are beginning to consider the long-term financial benefits of EVs as they build their cases for going electric. Organizations now have to compete in an increasingly environmentally-conscious world, and a strategic switch to EVs could represent the best possible plan for the future.
There is also a clear economic incentive for companies to electrify their fleets. Electric vehicles present benefits such as reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, cost savings on fuel and maintenance, freedom from reliance on volatile oil and gas prices, the reduced total cost of ownership, improved operational ROI and improved driver safety.
To accelerate electric mobility and greener technologies, Uber India plans to have 3,000 electric vehicles (EV) in its fleet by the end of 2021. Uber plans to partner with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), EV infrastructure firms for charging and battery swapping, and financiers to make green-powered automobiles both ‘accessible and affordable’.
All major logistics companies are also starting to replace their gas-powered fleets with low-emission or electric, a switch that companies say will boost their bottom lines. UPS has placed an order for 10,000 electric delivery vehicles. Zero-emission vehicles will make up a fifth of DHL’s fleet. FedEx has pledged to replace 100% of its pickup and delivery fleet with battery-powered vehicles by 2040.
CHALLENGES IN FLEET ELECTRIFICATION
No matter what electric vehicle you choose, electric fleet management can be troublesome. Following three key challenges can considerably decrease the transition success for a fleet:
- First of these is the maintenance of Charging Infrastructure. In a typical fleet depot, it isn’t easy to monitor this physically. There should be a monitoring system that connects the chargers and relays their status to be viewed remotely.
- Besides this, there is the need to separate and correctly estimate EVs’ energy consumption from other home energy consumption while charging
- Another significant pain point is the need to produce integrated fleet management solutions for EVs. Fleet managers need to be able to manage an e-fleet with a high level of convenience. When managing multiple brands of conventional vehicles, fleet managers use tools that are integrated into company systems to enable frictionless fleet management, including management of billing. It should be possible to manage EVs, too, via existing fleet management systems, but current management systems for EVs tend to be standalone and/or brand-specific solutions.
NEED FOR DEDICATED MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR EV FLEETS
A Fleet Management System can help you get the most out of your EV investment by addressing all these challenges. Modern management software systems give fleet managers and asset maintenance teams valuable tools for monitoring the condition of their fleets, such as maintenance history, warranty status and next scheduled maintenance or service, and can manage the complete life cycle of vehicles and the systems used in the fleet operations.
To effectively manage electric fleet vehicles where charging requirements represent operational efficiency, organizations must have a mobility service management solution that provides visibility into planning, routing, and scheduling combined with predictive technology to maximize efficiency for both consumers and EV operators.
Here are a few ways where specialized fleet management systems can help EV fleets:
- Fleet EV Suitability Assessment: An Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment (EVSA) is a tool that helps in transitioning and electrifying the fleet according to the organization’s budget and time frame. It analyzes the fleet’s unique driving profiles and patterns to identify the vehicles in the fleet best suited for EV replacement. The most suitable electrification plan for the company is created through estimations and an automated tool that simplifies data input.
- Real-time Charging Status & Alerts: The platform constantly receives real-time battery level updates from all vehicles operating in the fleet to ensure that a vehicle has enough energy to complete a journey. Furthermore, it provides a smart charging strategy engine, which can make real-time decisions on which vehicles need to be charged and when. These charging strategies oversee battery levels across the entire fleet and meet the demands while ensuring profitability.
- EV Route planning: EV Route Planners allow electric vehicle drivers to plan a route based on journey parameters, models, and driver options. It suggests the best course based on electric power consumption, road topology, vehicle characteristics, traffic conditions, and electric charging stations positions to ensure the dispatched vehicles have enough energy to get the job done. In case of battery drop, new routes passing through the nearest charging stations are recalculated and provided to the driver.
- Optimizing Charging Times and Costs: A strategic model for charging Electric Vehicles that adjusts the demand profiles of every EV to take advantage of low electricity prices during the charging period, thus optimizing the charging process of a group of independent EVs.
- Battery Health Monitoring: In automotive applications, managing and optimizing the safety and reliability of batteries is of great interest for both users and manufacturers. A Battery Health Monitoring System is a highly advanced and intelligent system that quintessentially monitors battery health and efficiency remotely. A BHMS improves battery life and bank performance, supplies power without interruption by eliminating battery failures, and reduces battery operation and maintenance costs.
EV adoption is overgrowing from a small base, thanks to improved battery technology, more EV models with a more extended battery range, and lower overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). As companies transition to becoming all-electric, for fleet operators, understanding the possible challenges associated with operating a fleet of electric vehicles is vital. Given that companies will be spending millions of dollars investing in electrifying their fleets, efficient fleet management will be critical to the profitability and sustainable deployment of these vehicles.