As drivers flock to adopt electric vehicles or EVs for personal use, businesses, municipalities, and utilities are also starting to embrace this shift by electrifying their vehicle fleets. ICE (internal combustion engines), or what we call “regular vehicles,” are being phased out over time. Similar electric vehicle models of sedans, trucks, heavy-duty trucks, buses, and even long-haul vehicles are being phased in.
How do businesses electrify a fleet of vehicles? We recommend starting with an electric vehicle fleet assessment.
An EV fleet assessment will provide
- a “road map” to upgrading your existing ICE gas and diesel vehicles to electric
- an action checklist to help your business get started
- a detailed plan, guidance, and steps that will lead to an entirely electric fleet
As gas prices soar, now is a great time to explore electric vehicles and how they can help achieve sustainability, positive climate change, and company goals. BONUS! The total cost of ownership (TOC) for most light-duty is less than the ICE version due to reduced maintenance and fuel costs! To get you started, here are our seven tips for EV fleet adoption.
Tip 1: Gather information.
Gather as much information upfront as possible. In particular,
- Company sustainability and electrification goals
- A list of existing ICE vehicles
- Specific fleet vehicle wants and needs, for example
- The vehicle function, i.e., moving people, carrying tools, a specific task
- The number of miles traveled daily – the more miles, the more cost-effective!
Information gathering is necessary prep work for developing the EV fleet assessment. Identifying goals early on will lead to a more successful process overall.
Tip 2: Assign an internal advocate – your best asset.
Before you begin an EV fleet assessment for your business, identify an internal supporter to promote the idea. It can be the business owner, sustainability manager, maintenance supervisor, or any employee who is excited about electric vehicles. Your best bet is someone who
- is willing to handle the fleet assessment on behalf of the company
- understands the company’s fleet electrification goals
- will spend time on the project
This advocate will become the company contact responsible for following up with local utilities, EV consulting groups, charger manufacturers, electrical contractors and other players needed to develop a fleet electrification plan and guide future decisions. Having the proper support will make the process go smoothly.
Tip 3: Connect with your local utility – your best ally.
Did you know some utilities offer no-cost commercial EV assessments, including fleet assessments? How perfect! Contact your local utility to see if they can help with a site evaluation, cost estimates for EV chargers, and information on electrical service upgrades that will go in your final report. Also, ask if EV charger incentives are being offered.
Contact them early in the process. The charging infrastructure is incredibly important for fleet electrification. Your local utility has internal engineers who can advise on costs associated with service upgrades to prepare for future electrification plans. If your utility doesn’t offer these services, they often work with trusted energy consultants who can help with a fleet electrification assessment. It’s definitely worth asking!
Tip 4: Identify an EV expert – a mentor.
You aren’t expected to learn everything there is about fleet electrification. If your utility doesn’t offer EV assessments, find a local expert who can assist you with a fleet electrification plan. There are energy companies and non-profit groups that specialize in fleet electrification assessments.
- Evergreen’s EV Team is an excellent option for planning and support.
You’ll need help from an expert with the right connections to successfully complete your business’s fleet electrification plan. Their expertise will guide the next steps in electrifying your fleet and creating a plan to move forward.
Tip 5: Future-proof your infrastructure.
Depending on the size of a fleet, utility service upgrades are often required. This typically includes a transformer upgrade, which can have a substantial cost. But being prepared for the future by properly sizing your transformer to accommodate an entirely electric fleet is worth it.
To be prepared for a 100% electric fleet, you must have the electrical service capacity to meet all your charging needs. Think too many home devices slowing down the Wi-Fi. Also, pay attention to the necessary electrical, conduit, and site preparation work (concrete, protective bollards, etc.).
Of course, identify parking areas for EV charger installations.
Tip 6: Avoid “range anxiety”
A current issue facing most EV owners is concern over when their charge will run out. Planning driving routes – to and from work, local deliveries for businesses, or long trips – is not as simple as with an ICE vehicle. EV owners find clever ways to combat range anxiety with multiple charging options. Fleet owners can learn from them.
Plan routes or deliveries around having a sufficient EV charge or a place to recharge along the way. If fleet vehicles are parked overnight, that’s the ideal time to recharge. For vehicles that have little downtime, consider alternating EVs so each can take a charging break. In addition, take advantage of free resources like PlugShare to find charging options that work best for your fleet’s daily routes or extended travel.
Tip 7: Sharing is caring.
If you’re moving forward with an EV fleet assessment, share your experiences with others. For example, if you worked with a specific company, utility, or EV expert, share it with your friends, local businesses, or even on social media. If your fleet is being electrified, share your sustainability goals and progress updates with others. That’s great PR!
Get your peers and local businesses excited about fleet electrification. Maybe help someone start the process or provide much-needed advice to a neighboring business. Who knows, you might just become an EV expert along the way!
Starting an EV fleet assessment may seem overwhelming, but the most challenging part is getting started. Don’t be discouraged if you are not an EV expert – you’ll learn as you go. There are resources available and experts to help guide you. Like any energy upgrade, you’ll learn more about the technology as you go through the process and work with those who know it best.
If all the vehicles you need for your fleet aren’t available yet, or upfront costs are too high, planning for their eventual electric replacement will future-proof your EV charging plan, so it’s easy to convert when the right EV hits the market.
For more information about fleet electrification or to schedule time with Evergreen’s EV Team, contact us today.
Ready or not, electrification of fleets is the future – and the future is now!