A new report from CALSTART, written in partnership with AMPLY Power—which is a member of CALSTART— highlights the importance of managed charging for fleets.
When it comes to charging solutions, hardware is not the only thing to consider—managed charging is just as critical. Managed charging is a set of tools that can optimize the operation of charging infrastructure, improve the total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis for fleet electrification, and enable “central or customer control of electric vehicle (EV) charging to provide vehicle grid integration offerings, including wholesale market services”.
… Managed charging is not exclusive to a particular type of charging and can be used across all charging levels, though its impact will be most noticeable with higher and faster charging rates. It is also applicable to fleets of all sizes. Similarly to charging rates, it has exponentially greater effects as the number of EVs deployed within a fleet increases, but it is still applicable to small fleets in order to smooth operations, decrease costs, and gain insight into electrical refueling operations.
The authors surveyed and polled fleet providers and industry stakeholders in May and November 2021. Key findings include:
The number of fleets electrifying their vehicles is growing. Between the two surveys, there was an increase in the number of fleet respondents, from 46% to 61% of participants. Likewise, a measurable growth in the percentage of fleets that plan to deploy EVs was observed, as well as an improvement in how soon fleets planned to deploy EVs.
There are barriers to overcome. One of the key barriers to fleet electrification that was highly ranked in each collection group was vehicles not meeting operational needs. Therefore, if there are vehicles that meet fleets’ needs or if there are other operational changes that would allow EVs to meet fleets’ needs, manufacturers should better communicate these options to fleets. Cost of charging infrastructure, which can be addressed in part with managed charging, was also consistently ranked high.
Charging infrastructure costs are not well understood among fleets at all stages of electrification. Approximately a quarter of respondents from each survey were unsure about infrastructure costs or had not considered it. Given how much these costs can add up, it is essential that fleets understand them and plan accordingly. Likewise, more than 10% of respondents throughout thought that infrastructure costs would be higher than normal. These fleets need to understand that costs are typically not as high as anticipated; this perceived cost may be preventing fleets from moving forward with electrification.
Knowledge of managed charging is growing across fleets. There were measurable improvements in managed charging familiarity between the first and second surveys, with a slight increase to over half of respondents being familiar with managed charging. There was also a significant increase in the number of respondents familiar with CaaS (charging as a service).
Most fleet and industry stakeholders are familiar with smart charging. Smart charging was the technology most respondents were familiar with in both surveys. Between the first and second surveys, the percentage of people familiar with smart charging increased from 51% to 90%. The other most recognized managed charging solutions were scheduled charging and telematics integration or pay as you use. The recognition patterns were nearly the same between the two surveys.