EV Fleet management

Electric Vehicle Charging

EV Fleet management

EV adoption in the UK has been increasing year on year, underpinned by supportive policies and technology advances. At the forefront of this electric revolution has been Britain’s fleet sector, accounting for 53.3% of last year’s 2.3m vehicle registrations. This is set to intensify as fleet owners are said to be increasing their EV spending by 50% within the next year according to a Centrica report.

What are the benefits of electric cars?

Plugging into the benefits of EV’s

There are a number of reasons why the switch to EV is becoming increasingly attractive for fleet managers. These include:

congestion fumes

Government support for EVs

The benefit in kind tax is a crucial incentive for EV fleets

A host of incentives are now in place encouraging businesses to consider electrifying their fleets. Such incentives include the plug-in vehicle grant, and the OZEV workplace charge scheme, which covers the cost of install and purchase of EV charging devices, up to £350. Going electric also allows businesses to benefit from the benefit in kind (BIK) tax benefit, an incentive that half of UK fleet managers have predicted will lead to an increase in uptake of company cars.

Providing a further incentive for fleets to go electric, pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) with plug-in hybrid vehicles paying a reduced VED.  Electric cars are also exempt from congestion charge taxes, so if fleets are travelling in areas where clean air zones exist, or are due to be rolled out, fleet tax savings are also increased. In fact, 51% of businesses cited the need to reduce operational disruption caused by low and zero-emission zones as a highly influential reason for an increase in EV adoption.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Demonstrating social responsibility

Fleet electrification demonstrates an active effort in achieving UK Net-Zero targets, whilst enhancing the business’s image to appear both socially and environmentally conscious.

Public concern over both global warming and air pollution has heightened within recent years, a trend that has been further accelerated as the pandemic has opened our eyes to how air pollution makes us more vulnerable to disease. This rise in public concern for environmental issues has been reflected in commercial fleets across the UK, with the need to meet corporate sustainability targets cited by 58% of businesses as the most influential reason for an increase in EV adoption.

Electric car motor life expectancy

Taking a lifetime approach

More and more businesses are waking up to the cost savings they can achieve through switching out their combustion engine vehicles to make way for EVs. This is because EV’s are not only cheaper to run, they are also cheaper to maintain due to the vehicles consisting of fewer moving parts.

These lower maintenance and ‘whole life costs’ have been acknowledged by businesses as one of the largest incentives for companies switching from an internal combustion engine to electric.

Tackling EV range anxiety

EV’s are becoming an increasingly attractive choice

EV’s are becoming an increasingly attractive choice for fleets, with the number of models of commercial electric vehicles increasing by 23% in 2020 alone, with more models set to hit the market within the upcoming years. The capabilities of these new EV models have improved substantially with many new vehicles having ranges approaching 300 miles. This, coupled with increasingly denser networks of public charge point infrastructure, means that the commonly cited problem of ‘range anxiety’ – the worry that you won’t have enough charge in your EV to make it to your destination – is becoming increasingly less of a problem.

Finding a charging solution that’s right for you

An effective charging strategy is fundamental to the operational performance of EV fleets, and there are a range of considerations that need to be taken when choosing your perfect fleet charging solution.

EV charging load management

Managing your operational capacity

The ability to manage capacity across multiple vehicles (load management), is essential for effective fleet management. This ensures your operations will not be disrupted by too much drain on power when charging your fleet. You can then plug in all cars to charge confident in the knowledge that only a set level of power will ever be pulled to power the charging units.

contactless payment ev charging

Such technology also allows you to schedule charging for those cars which will be first back out on the road and those not required can be scheduled to charge during off-peak hours, allowing you to benefit from reduced energy costs. Our Pilot Group Classic and Plus chargers are the perfect solution for this, allowing you to schedule an entire fleet to charge at a specific time.

Charging several vehicles simultaneously puts a substantial strain on the grid, and so it is essential that the electricity capacity within a site is understood so that it can be managed. This is where smart load management is essential, allowing fleet managers to stagger the time that vehicles are drawing power, even if they are all plugged in simultaneously.

Payment for EV charging

RFID card for EV charging

Payment options are important considerations when choosing a suitable EV charging solution. Historically many company’s fuel payment policies have involved workers paying for fuel and then putting this through expenses, however, EV charging requires a different model. One of the most favourable solutions is one that allows monitoring and management through prepaid cards, as this offers a closed environment solution.

As more and more of the population adopt EV’s for personal use, company charging policies covering who can plug their vehicles into company chargers, when they can use the charge points and how they pay for power, requires increasing consideration.

Manage the charging of your fleet using RFID cards for each of your employees, which allows you to monitor charging for each vehicle, track charging expenses and track the cost of energy consumption. RFID cards can also help to prevent unauthorised access in areas that are open to the public.

Finding the optimal charging numbers, locations and speeds for your fleet

EV charging is completely new territory for most fleet managers and this change raises several key questions, including how many chargers will be required, the optimum speeds required for these chargers and their ideal locations.

For most fleets, the optimum option is to install a greater number of chargers capable of slow charging up to fast (typically 7kw up to 22kw) which can typically charge a car from empty to full in 3-4 hours.

This option is both easier and cheaper than installing higher speed 50kW chargers as these take a lot of power from the grid which often requires expensive connection upgrades. Fortunately, the recent developments in charging technology, smart charging and load management has meant that fast charging (7kw-22kw) is often the only charging solution required to keep fleets charged and on the road.

ev fleet charge point

In terms of ideal charge point locations, it is usually suggested that stations are reserved for fleet use on nights and weekends to ensure the charging infrastructure can be fully utilised. Consideration must also be taken with regards to how close the installation point is from the electricity source, as the closer the distance, the cheaper the install.  This is because the further the unit is away from the power source, the longer and thicker the cables required, and therefore the more costly the install. Chargepoints that can be installed on the wall or close by are also cheaper due to this requiring less groundwork.

Fleet managers may want to consider placing EV chargers in prominent and visible positions as this helps to communicate the fleet’s transition to EV, therefore positively enhancing visitor perception. This choice may however be less cost efficient if higher levels of groundwork and cabling are required. It is therefore important that the sites usage, priorities and goals are outlined and understood so that the charging solution provided creates an adequate balance of cost efficiency and aesthetic. For instance, a facility that experiences a high volume of site visits may want to prioritise prominent EV charging locations over cheaper wall charging in less prominent locations.

The Pilot Group solution

Fleets all over the UK are making the switch to EV. To support this, Pilot Group have created a range of smart yet simple to use charging solutions, to support all of your EV charging needs. We offer a full turnkey solution from supply and install through to maintenance and in-going support, ensuring your products and people are kept moving and operational efficiency is reached. By growing as you do; we can ensure peace of mind at every step of your fleet electrification journey.