Electrifying fleets is a transformative journey, offering numerous benefits for businesses that embrace sustainable practices and reduce their carbon footprint. While the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) can be complex and demanding, fleet leaders from various industries have shared invaluable fleet electrification tips. Let’s explore 10 key lessons that can guide businesses on their electric fleets.
1. Expect Long Lead Times for Everything
Fleet electrification projects require meticulous planning involving the alignment of vehicles, charging infrastructure, grid upgrades, and financing. Lead times for components like charging sites can be substantial, often taking two to three years. FedEx’s Bill Cawein emphasized the impact of supply chain dynamics on lead times, urging companies to adopt a proactive “3-year planning cycle.”
2. Just Start:
Recognizing the extended timeline for small and large fleets, the unanimous advice is to start the electrification process immediately. Nicole Efron, Director of Development for NextEra Mobility, highlighted the delays caused by approval cycles and supply chain bottlenecks. The urgency stems from resource competition, making it crucial to file interconnection applications promptly.
3. Listen to Drivers:
While fleet managers drive the decision-making process, the success of an EV fleet project relies on the drivers. Engaging drivers early and consistently through methods like surveys and ride-and-drives ensures their perspectives are considered. Fleet leaders stressed the importance of driver feedback, citing examples where insights influenced charging site choices and vehicle preferences.
4. Collaboration and Communication Across Teams:
Successful fleet electrification requires seamless collaboration across various teams, including buildings, site planning, energy, financing, budget, taxes, and sustainability. Coordination between the delivery of EVs and the installation of charging infrastructure was cited as an area where better communication can streamline the process.
5. Pilots Need Purpose:
While pilot projects are valuable for testing the viability of EVs in specific use cases, they should be aligned with broader goals. Pilots should serve as the initial step in a comprehensive plan rather than isolated experiments. Companies with aggressive EV commitments, like FedEx and Amazon, have moved beyond the pilot phase to full-scale implementation.
6. Educate on Incentives:
As funding sources for electrifying fleets multiply, being well-versed in available incentives is crucial. Various programs, such as California’s HVIP program and federal initiatives, offer financial support. Fleet leaders need to stay informed about the latest incentive options and application timelines to leverage available funds effectively.
Apogee Charging Solutions offers national fully turn-key EV charging solutions that can be customized to fit your fleet’s goals. We also offer financing options, as well as incentive and rebate recovery services.
7. Vet Your Vendors:
Given the nascent stage of the electric truck sector, caution is advised when selecting vendors. Fleet leaders emphasized the importance of being selective and working with suppliers adhering to global universal standards. Reliability and scalability were highlighted as critical criteria, with “failure is not an option” becoming a guiding principle.
Decisions made early in the electrification journey, such as selecting proprietary chargers, must align with long-term scalability. A big-picture goal, like an overarching sustainability target, helps companies plan for the short, medium, and long term. Designing with scalability in mind upfront can save costs and prevent inefficiencies later.
9. Map Out Unique Design Requirements:
The diverse nature of fleet needs, ranging from small cars to large semi-trucks for various applications, necessitates unique design considerations. Stakeholder involvement is crucial in site design planning to ensure seamless operations tailored to specific vehicle uses, maintenance, and energy needs.
10. Enjoy the Journey:
Amidst the challenges of a long and expensive journey, it’s essential to celebrate victories and recognize the significance of the transition. Paul Augustine, Head of Sustainability at Lyft, encouraged the industry to embrace the journey and appreciate the revolution toward a fully electrified transportation system.
Begin Your EV Fleet Journey with Apogee Charging Solutions
The electrification of fleets presents a paradigm shift for businesses, requiring strategic planning, collaboration, and a commitment to sustainability. By heeding the lessons shared by industry leaders, companies can navigate the complexities and reap the benefits of a cleaner and more efficient fleet.
The road to electrifying fleets is undoubtedly challenging, but with each step, businesses contribute to a greener and more sustainable future. Contact Apogee Charging Services to learn more about fleet electrification! Call 484-816-2076, email [email protected], or schedule a call that fits your needs by clicking the button below.