The one universal truth of EV fleet charging, learned over 12 years of working with EV fleets, is that every fleet and charging facility is different. Differences in vehicles, chargers, environmental conditions, utility tariffs, and vehicle usage all contribute to these unique needs, not to mention the physical differences in each EV charging depot location. Some customers worry about IT security. Others place a higher priority on system reliability.
But despite all these differences, there is one common thread that links all EV fleet operators. They all want to reduce cost.
Controlling EV fleet charging costs presents a unique challenge because fleet operations will change over time. Clients new to EV fleet management are concerned first and foremost that their EVs will be charged and ready to go when they need them. Over time, their concerns shift from simple confirmation of charging to gathering usage data and then to using that data to increase charging efficiency and optimize charging costs. At the same time, they are trying to integrate new chargers from different manufacturers, operating at different power levels as their EV fleet operations grow.
So how do you deliver this flexibility?
When we began designing the EVauto fleet charging control platform. we found that Niagara’s N4 provides an excellent platform for delivering the flexibility needed in the evolving EV charge control marketplace. It allows us to operate our proprietary, patent-pending algorithms anywhere from the Edge to the Cloud. We designed our core system, EVauto FleetController©, to run on the Edge adjacent to the charging environment, but it can just as easily operate on a cloud-based server. This allows EVauto to deliver a fleet charging control solution for both customers who desire on site reliability and security and those who wish to minimize capital costs.
Our FleetController application acts as a unit controller for a bank of chargers. Fleet operators and energy managers set simple rules that EVauto algorithms interpret to prioritize charging order and intensity. Niagara’s available physical i/o and numerous communication drivers exchange data from meters, from the BMS, or from 3rd party systems (OCPP charge networks, fleet scheduling systems, local micro-grid controllers), which gives EVauto software the flexibility to adapt to any fleet charging infrastructure configuration.
Our supervisory station, EVauto FleetManager©, allows customers to control charging across multiple charger banks at a single site or across multiple locations. FleetManager extends EVauto’s rules engine to communicate a fleet operator’s desired settings to aggregate both charging and savings across sites to ensure the fleet’s EVs charge at the lowest possible price. This span of control enables multi-site DR aggregation, micro-grid demand management, real-time energy pricing usage management, and bi-directional charging control.
The shift to electric vehicle fleets is still in its infancy, and like all babies, it’s hard to predict what it will grow up to be. But, as is common with any new technology, flexibility will be the key to delivering rapid adoption over the long term. Niagara provides that flexibility for both today’s EV fleet charging needs and tomorrow’s possibilities.
The EVauto Fleet Charge Control System reduces the cost of charging electric vehicles. Our patent-pending rules-based algorithms automatically manage the entire charge cycle to insure vehicle availability. EVauto President Andy Abrams will discuss opportunities for EV charge control at Niagara Summit 2022 on Tuesday April 5.