Thinking About Adding Electric Vehicles to Your Fleet? Have You Considered How The Vehicles Will Be Charged?
First published in Greenfleet 118 – Best Practice Guide. For the full guide see https://issuu.com/psi-media/docs/greenfleet_118
Loyd and Alun Davies, directors at ElectrAssure, share the points to consider when selecting a charger and its location
Electric vehicles can now offer a low cost, low emission alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles. However, without access to EV charging systems in the workplace, at home and on the road, drivers will experience unnecessary delays and frustration and that will materialise as a cost to your business.
Many fleet drivers have already selected PHEVs for the tax advantages but, as reported by the BBC (www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46152853), many drivers may never have unwrapped the charging cable. The result is fuel economy of 40 mpg rather than 130 mpg.
Currently, few fleet drivers are confident to select a pure electric vehicle with ‘range anxiety’ being a common cause. In reality, new generation EVs have a range of over 300 miles and can save over 70 per cent in fuel and maintenance costs but are only a practical alternative if adequate charging is available.
Questions to ask
The first questions that we ask our clients before recommending a charging system are:
- Which electric vehicles are you considering?
- What is the typical vehicle usage profile?
- Number of miles per day?
- Number of drivers?
- For how long are the vehicles parked and where?
We can then calculate how often, where and how quickly you will need to recharge the vehicles. The table below shows the common vehicle types, range, charging options and approximate charge times.
As you can see, the charging rates and times vary enormously, but so does the required charging times for specific vehicles. An employee’s vehicle parked in a company car park can fully charge during the day. Taxis, service vehicles or pool cars are likely to require one or more ‘rapid’ recharges during the day.
Having selected the type of charger, there are other things to consider when selecting the charger and its location.
There are several factors that will affect the cost of the charging system. Do you qualify for a Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) or any other grant? To qualify you must use both a charger and an installer approved by the government Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
Consideration needs to be given to what EV charger should be installed. AC ‘fast’ chargers are simpler and cheaper than DC rapid chargers. DC Rapid chargers require a larger electrical supply. Wall mounted units are cheaper than ground mounted units.
The installation then needs to be given thought. Wall mounted units are also cheaper to install. Post mounted and rapid chargers usually require trenching and a concrete base and installation costs rise with the distance from the electrical supply.
Another vital consideration is the electrical supply; is the building electrical supply adequate for the additional load of the EV chargers?
How critical is the charge point to your business or function? What would be the impact if it was off-line for several days?
‘Smart’ chargers can connect to an on‑line Chargepoint Management System (CPMS) with two main functions;
- user management and billing
- on‑line fault diagnosis, fault rectification and updates
80-90 per cent of charge point faults can be fixed on-line.
A maintenance contract with an SLA should be in place to deliver the availability required. The charger quality needs to be considered.
Selecting an EV charger with proven reliability is essential where availability is critical.
Lastly, think about whether some drivers or vehicles require priority access?
The EV charging market is growing rapidly with frequent changes to technologies and regulations. We recommend that you use a specialist EV installer, WCS approved by OLEV and approved by the NICEIC and/or the ECA. They should have the qualifications and experience to specify, install and maintain the EV charging equipment you need to successfully introduce electric vehicles to your fleet.