Electric vehicles (EVs) are an environmentally friendly and highly efficient transportation method. For businesses, building an EV fleet can help you lower operating costs while increasing brand recognition. However, the process of developing EV charging and infrastructure is complex. Before going electric, companies must take many considerations into account.
As energy industry experts, American Wire Group (AWG) is your resource throughout this planning process. This introduction to EV fleet charging infrastructure will help you get started and avoid common mistakes.
Determine Charging Needs
Building an EV fleet charging infrastructure plan begins with determining the types of vehicles you’ll use. From there, you can calculate the charging equipment your fleet will require. Some key factors to consider when establishing your charging needs include looking at your vehicle-specific requirements, payload considerations, portable chargers, and more.
Most EV fleets utilize Level 2 chargers ranging from 5-19 kW of AC power which allows most EV batteries to charge fully overnight, so they are a reliable option for fleets. For larger fleets the incorporation of a Level 3 or DCFCs (Direct Current Fast Charger) provides the option to fast charge a vehicle if so required.
Number of Chargers
Charger needs will be determined by the dynamic usage schedule of each fleet. The charging requirements are also greatly impacted by the daily range of the fleet in question.
Vehicle-Specific Requirements and Recommendations
Choosing electric vehicles for your fleet comes down to a host of factors, range, usage, payload etc. There are many options on the market today.
With the recent news of Ford, GM and Rivian adopting Tesla’s NACS (North American Charging Standard) charging ecosystem, fleet owners will have more options. This news provides a great benefit for light-duty fleets enabling them to access the Tesla charging network through the simple use of an adapter.
Many fleets would be well advised to consider payload and its real-world impact on an EV fleet. Two EV fleets with similar daily ranges of 50 miles per vehicle, may face very different scenarios if one carried heavy tools and equipment.
While most charging is done at night during off-peak hours at the place of business, portable charging units are a great backup solution. However, many of them do not have network-connected management options.
Networked Charging Options
Connected to the internet, a networked charging system sends data to the fleet administrator and/or network services provider. These systems are suitable for larger fleets and can provide valuable data to analyze.
Work With Utilities
It’s important to work with your local utility provider early in the infrastructure development process to ensure your charging requirements can be met. The time of day you charge your vehicles can significantly affect your utility bill costs.
Your project plan must factor in:
- The number of units and the types of units needed
- The proximity of equipment to your electrical infrastructure and to wireless internet connection
- Weather, irrigation, pooled water, and other potential hazards
- Codes & standards: EV charging infrastructure must comply with state, local, and national regulations. They also must be installed by a licensed electrical contractor.
- Inspections & permitting: Permitting and inspections come with certain fees and can affect your project’s timeline.
- Cost estimates: The total estimated cost includes project costs, possible incentives, and ongoing fees or expenses.
During the implementation stage, it’s a good idea to develop a charging policy or guidelines for your staff and drivers. This is particularly important if your charging equipment is shared. Train all individuals responsible for vehicle charging, including EV drivers, fleet operations personnel, vehicle technicians, and even local first responders.
EV Infrastructure Support From American Wire Group
EV infrastructure projects involve many factors and require a significant amount of planning. At American Wire Group, we provide full lifecycle support for EV charging infrastructure development. From concept to energization, we offer wire & cable, equipment and hardware you need to implement your EV fleet charging infrastructure successfully. To learn more, request a quote or contact us.