The move towards fleet electrification has led to a search for effective software solutions to enable Smart Charging for Fleet Managers. There are a large number of entrants creating charge management systems that offer tools intended only to save energy, but not to simplify the fleet manager’s job. Many of these systems rely on telematics from the vehicle to provide a detailed view of the battery level and vehicle location. While these may work well on homogeneous fleets of similarly equipped vehicles, I suggest that fleet charging systems need to deliver “smarts” even without telematics. EVauto® offers important fleet smart charging tools for all vehicles without the needing to first modify or configure the EV.
Fleet Charging Problems
Charging an electric vehicle isn’t very hard – plug it in and leave it charging for a while.
Surprisingly, for fleet operators the first part –plug it in – can be an issue. At first, drivers might simply forget to plug in a vehicle as that hasn’t been part of their normal routine. Even if the driver remembers to plug in, the charge connector might not be seated well. This can especially be a problem for high power chargers which have heavier cords and larger connectors. When coupled with delayed charging, it may not be immediately apparent that a vehicle isn’t ready to charge.
The second part of the charging formula – leave it charging for a while – can present issues as well. Once plugged in and charging, there are conditions that can stop charging. There can be several causes for these interruptions including damaged connectors, vehicle charge system issues and electrical noise. Electric vehicle supply equipment (“EVSE”) is designed for maximum safety. In order to protect fleet personnel, the EVSE and the vehicles themselves, all chargers have circuitry to instantly pause or stop charging. Once charging stops, without external monitoring issues will remain undetected and lead to vehicles being unavailable for use.
In addition to the issues listed above, smart charging algorithms are designed to delay or slow charging to save money. However, changing business needs may dictate that one or more vehicles must charge even during peak usage hours. If the charging system prevents the fleet’s operation, the energy savings may be dwarfed by lost profits.
Fleet Charging Monitoring Solution – EVauto®
EVauto® meets these challenges by continuously monitoring the charging system to detect abnormal charging. Once detected, a flexible notification system sends alerts to the correct personnel so that issues can be resolved easily and quickly. The systems sends alerts via SMS text, email or flashing strobes or horns to insure problems don’t go undetected. The messages specify the problem and offer suggestions for resolving it. These messages don’t need to be blasted to everyone as they can be designated to go to specific personnel. EVauto®’s messaging system can be configured to send alerts to different personnel based on time of day (shift) and day of week. Often, for overnight charging, our customers request messages to be sent to their night guard for easy resolution.
EV Fleet Smart Charging Software – EVauto®
EVauto® was designed to meet the needs of fleet managers. Our earliest implementation back in 2010 was focused on overcoming the reliability issues common in 1st generation vehicles. Our experience taught us that fleet managers must have easy reliable access to override the controls. Therefore, in order give the onsite fleet operations team the ability to enable on-demand charging, EVauto® provides flexible automated and manual tools. Even when overridden, EVauto®’s advanced patent-pending algorithms continue to operate to control costs by automatically adjusting usage elsewhere.
If the fleet manager can’t control the system to meet their needs, smart charging control systems will fail.
The system will be disconnected, bypassed or ignored.
Using either the mobile or desktop application, any charger can enabled as a priority charger. If desired, a push button can be enabled on chargers to allow instant charging. Furthermore, EVauto®’s algorithms can be set to automatically prioritize charging based on average departure time or daily energy usage. The fleet manager can designate that all or some chargers offer a minimum charge level even during load control operations. Many fleets designate a few “hot” spots that are always enabled at highest power. This allows the fleet manager to prioritize vehicles without using the software at all.
Smart Charging for Fleet Managers – Simple design, powerful solution
Controls should be tools that help, not hinder.
A successful system should automatically deliver the desired results with minimal input. Fleet operators have enough headaches as it is. EVauto® delivers smart charging for fleet managers through its powerful, patent-pending algorithms..