The Future of Electric Fleets is Now
Curious about electrifying your fleet?
Electric fleets are an inevitability; Amazon has an agreement to buy as many as 100,000 Rivian vans and owns 18% of the company’s stock, Walmart has orders for 4,500 electric delivery vans from Canoo and an option to buy 20% common stock, GM’s BrightDrop has already delivered 150 vans to FedEx, and even the USPS has said that more than 40% of its newly purchased vehicles will be electric. Commercial fleets will likely go electric at significant scale before everyday drivers, and thus they will also drive the development of charging infrastructure.
Fleet-owning companies care about two main metrics: uptime and reliability. Charging speed influences uptime, as jumping from a common 50 kW charging speed to 350 kW (extreme fast charging — XFC) could mean the difference between a 35-minute charging session and a 5-minute session. Learn more about how gasoline refueling compares to XFC here.
To ensure reliability, charging for EV delivery vehicles will require storage-supported power supply and the use of optimization software. Chargers can leverage computational intelligence and networking abilities to manage the bidirectional electricity stream through energy generation and consumption. With bidirectional (two-way) EV chargers, electricity can flow both ways: in and out of the charger.
How does bidirectional charging work?
When an EV is charged, AC (alternating current) electricity from the grid is converted to DC (direct current) electricity, the kind that can be used by a car. Then, when you want to use that energy stored in the charger’s battery to sell it back to the grid, the DC electricity stored in the battery must be converted via an internal conversion back to AC electricity. During peak hours when the grid is strained, storage-supported chargers can supply the reserved DC electricity directly to the EV.
Utilizing bidirectional stream of electricity for charging and energy storage, chargers can independently import and export energy, relieving stress on the grid especially during peak hours. Such chargers can provide reliable energy at all times for fleet vehicle drivers who are on the road all day.
We know that general EV adoption faces barriers, so why the emphasis on fleet vehicles? Most delivery vehicles are on the road running about 10 hours a day, whereas a one-way commute for the average American, pre-Covid was 27.6 minutes.
Electrifying fleet vehicles can dramatically amplify the impacts of electrifying one consumer at a time.
This means not only electrifying delivery vans, but also trucks. Electrifying one large truck is equivalent to electrifying 25 passenger vehicles. New innovations, such as the Megawatt Charging System which can charge a loaded Class 8 semi-truck for 160 miles in 20 mins, will further the electrification of more power-intensive vehicles and machinery.
We won’t see the environmental benefits these innovations can provide if they’re not adopted. In order to accelerate this critical electrification of fleet delivery vehicles, we’ll need investment in and adoption of the charging systems that serve them.
By integrating extreme fast charging (XFC) and optimized battery storage, ElectricFish is providing exactly the type of charging that electric fleet vehicles need. Taking preorders!
This is the third post in a recurring series of ElectricFish insights around the technical aspects of Electric Vehicles, their charging, and interaction with the electricity Grid. Follow us to stay in the loop!