December 13, 2023

Charging Ahead – The Road to an Electrified Future 

Fleet operators are faced with many opportunities and decisions as the transportation industry as a whole shifts away from traditional fossil fuels and towards electrification. Electric vehicles (EVs) offer a cleaner and more eco-conscious way to navigate the roads, reducing emissions and diversifying fuel sources to meet transport demands. However, electrifying a fleet comes with its own set of considerations and challenges, and one of the most critical aspects is power capacity. In this summary blog, we will explore the power capacity needs and challenges that fleet operators must consider as they plan for EV infrastructure upgrades.

Thinking About the Economics 

According to McKinsey & Company – when looking at the total cost of ownership for EVs – battery electric vehicles will outperform traditional engines across all vehicle classes by as early as 2025.

Electric fleets often have lower operational costs due to the reduced maintenance requirements and the overall efficiency of electric motors. Additionally, incentives and subsidies from governments further sweeten the deal, making the transition financially attractive. Rapid advancements in battery technology have significantly extended the range and durability of electric vehicles. This, coupled with improvements in charging infrastructure, has addressed some of the initial concerns related to EV adoption. Businesses can now choose from a growing array of electric models that suit their specific operational needs.

What Does Power Capacity Mean For Commercial Fleet Electrification

Fleet operators have to consider on-site and off-site chargers for transport fleets. The type and quantity of chargers installed at your facility will significantly impact your power capacity requirements. Level 1 chargers may suffice for light-duty vehicles with overnight charging, but fleets with more extended operating hours need faster Level 2 chargers or DC fast chargers. Adequate capacity planning must take place to ensure power drawn from the grid or from onsite generation can fully meet fleet requirements. 

The timing and frequency of charging will play a major role in necessary capacity. The number of vehicles charging simultaneously and their expected charging duration will influence power capacity requirements. Placement of chargers will also impact power capacity and the amount of additional infrastructure necessary to power your fleet. Aligning placement with a fleet’s composition is key to assessing and planning for power needs.

Power capacity presents a challenge as large commercial fleets consider transitioning to EVs. The centralized electric grid was not designed as a transportation power source and the incorporation of electric vehicles of all kinds changes and challenges demand. Third parties are looking at the future grid infrastructure realities and projected requirements of large scale electrification. The California Public Utilities Commission conducted a study of their local infrastructure, and calculated that 220,000 MHD EVs by 2035 will be adding over 8 GW of incremental peak power demand to the grid. This scale of growth is estimated to require $50 billion of grid investment.

A number of states are leading the way in preparing the grid for an influx of electric vehicles in the coming years. California, New York, and Massachusetts all are creating models for regulation and utility action to prepare for increased fleet loads. This will be necessary to support and standardize incoming requests for greater customer capacity due to electrification. 

While grid upgrades will be necessary in many circumstances, fleet owners and operators can take proactive action to plan for electrification onsite and launch their own infrastructure and energy upgrades that reduce reliance on the centralized grid for necessary power. 

Onsite Energy Infrastructure Upgrades To Get Ahead of the Curve

Integrating onsite renewable energy into the power capacity strategy for electric fleets enables fleet operators to charge their vehicles with clean, sustainable energy, reduces grid dependence, provides cost stability, and supports sustainability goals. Onsite generation and infrastructure upgrades serve as forward-thinking tools that make electrification operationally feasible and cost effective.

Relying solely on the grid for charging can strain local power infrastructure and the required grid transmission and distribution upgrades may stall project development. Onsite generation paired with chargers can alleviate pressure on the grid, preventing potential overloads and ensuring a more stable energy supply for charging electrified fleets. Additionally, onsite generation paired with storage will reduce peak-demand charges by providing flexible charging opportunities.

According to the same study by McKinsey & Company, around 50 percent of surveyed companies are planning full fleet decarbonization by 2027. Now is the time to start planning for electrification, securing available tax credits and incentives, and beginning the necessary infrastructure upgrades, both onsite and in collaboration with the grid operator as needed. 

We get fleet electrification. Our customers range from global logistics companies to commercial facilities looking for employee or public charging.The GridMarket platform will show you your options and our EV experts will help you plan your customized transition. Let’s get to work!

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The information provided in this post is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, accounting, or financial advice. Please seek advice from professional advisors as appropriate with any legal or accounting questions.

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