Sticker shock is never a good thing, but it’s something that almost every electric vehicle fleet operator has experienced. The shock usually comes when the electricity bill for the first month of EV fleet operation arrives.
The concern fleet managers feel in the pit of their stomachs is followed by despair. Then panic sets in. “I have to do something, and I have to do it now. I can’t have another bill like this.”
I’m here to tell you to take a deep breath. Sticker shock will pass. Despair will fade away but does not need to be replaced by acceptance. Instead, wipe it away by taking charge (pun totally intended) and controlling your EV fleet charging costs.
You can take control using cloud-based charging control systems, but cloud-based systems require multiple third-party networks to connect. Local systems don’t. Onsite systems offer local control that doesn’t rely on outside connections and gives you greater and more reliable control over your charging activities and, ultimately, your charging costs.
Calculating the cost of the energy you will need to charge your EV fleet is relatively simple until it isn’t. Start by multiplying the average electricity needed to charge a single vehicle in your fleet by the number of vehicles in your EV fleet to get your total charging need per day.
That’s the easy part. Now it gets complicated.
There are two factors which drive your EV fleet charging electric bill: the maximum amount of electricity you use at any one time; and the rate the utility charges for electricity at different times of the day. The maximum amount of electricity you use at any one time to charge your EV fleet is your Peak Demand. This impacts what you pay for electricity. The greater your peak demand, the higher the rate you pay – regardless of when during the day you charge.
And that brings us to the first way you can reduce sticker shock and banish despair: reduce your Peak Demand. To do so, you need to exert control over your charging behavior. This isn’t a macro issue; it’s one you can address at your facility. An uncontrolled fueling strategy charges every EV in your fleet as quickly a possible as soon as they connect to the charger. This maximizes demand and thus maximizes your Peak Demand and your electric bill.
But, if you employ a Level Load charging strategy, you can control and reduce your Peak Demand and, subsequently, the amount you pay to charge your EV fleet. Executing a Level Load strategy requires two things: 1) an extended period during which you can charge your EVs; and 2) charging control software which manages the rate of charging at each charger as more vehicles plug in. Stretching out your fleet charging over a five, six, or seven hour window gives you the control you need to reduce your Peak Demand and your charging bill.
The second factor which drives your fleet charging bill is the rate the utility charges. Utilities vary rates by time of day in an effort to control demand. If your fleet operations afford you extended periods for charging, your charging control software can shift your charging activity to those periods in your charging window when electricity rates are lowest. Your vehicles still get charged and your bill is reduced.
We designed EVauto’s FleetController software to automatically reduce your Peak Demand and shift charging to lower cost periods according to the charging parameters you set to reflect the operational needs of your EV fleet.
Of course, any control software is only beneficial if it is working. EVauto’s FleetController platform was designed with high reliability in mind. Its portable software design allows it to run on a small IOT controller adjacent to your chargers. This eliminates problems associated with cellular network or cloud outages. It also improves the accuracy of control as meter readings aren’t subject to communication time delays associated with large, remote networks. A local system makes it possible for the control algorithm to respond quicker to fleet charging activity and thus better manage electricity usage.
The bottom line is that your bottom line benefits from local control of your charging activity.