Electric vehicles (EVs) are the future, and the future is happening now. For fleets, the transition to electric requires a coordinated effort. Internal and external team members play essential roles. Because EVgo works with companies across the transportation spectrum, we have insights to help you form the team you’ll need and walk you through the process. In this series, we outline the mix of internal and external team members to help you electrify your fleet as smoothly and successfully as possible.
Part 1 – Your Internal Champions
Congratulations—you’re the decision maker making the smart move and going electric with your fleet. But as with any team, you can’t make that happen on your own. Your internal champions do the heavy lifting behind the scenes. Like the manager of a sports team, you want players with passion and determination. Not every fleet looking to transition has the same players on the internal team, but these are among the most common stakeholders that you need to turn into advocates:
Fleet operators manage logistics, including budgeting, procurement, and the use of vehicles in the fleet. These responsibilities ensure vehicles comply with regulations, uptime (including daily duty cycles, maintenance, and repairs), and longevity with daily usage. This team partners closely with your facilities team and your charging partner to ensure that the solutions are tailored to meet your fleet's needs.
Regulatory Compliance: Fleet vehicles travel through a plethora of municipalities with unique regulations to each territory. Fleet operators ensure all active vehicles are compliant with the rules set by these municipalities and at state and federal levels.
Vehicle Uptime: When a vehicle isn't working, it's losing money – sometimes thousands of dollars per day. Fleet operators maximize fleet uptime with regular vehicle maintenance and repairs. A robust telematics system can increase vehicle uptime, prolong vehicle life, and improve safety for its drivers and others on the road.
Daily Usage: Along with vehicle uptime and longevity, fleet operators want to maximize the daily usage of a vehicle — and make the most revenue at the lowest cost. This requires planning, efficient routing, and scheduling the most cost-efficient way to keep a vehicle powered daily.
Your fleet operations team partners closely with your external charging partner to optimize your system and meet your fleet's operational needs. For example, a fleet operator may need to weigh the cost of stopping to charge along the route at a public site versus reserving a dedicated stall at a charging hub or modify the course to make it back to a depot for overnight charging. Your external partner helps you make those decisions.
If you are transitioning to electric with charging onsite at your depot, the facilities team is best equipped to understand the particular energy impacts at your site or sites. You may need to upgrade your sites' power capacity and optimize charging to manage electricity prices. Depot electrification can be more like a big construction project than a minor installation, and an experienced partner can help you manage all the moving pieces.
It helps if the facilities team has the energy load profiles and utility schematics for each facility to speed up the planning process. If your space needs an energy capacity upgrade, consider maxing out the power that your area allows. This can save you time and money in the future.
It is no secret—any change to an existing fleet, whether replacing with new internal combustion engine (ICE) models or electrifying, is a big investment that necessitates buy-in from the folks on the hook to spend money. While an electric fleet saves money over the long haul with a lower overall total cost of ownership (TCO), it still requires a concerted effort with the finance team to sort through how to make a conversion plan into reality. Upfront costs include purchasing electric vehicles (medium and heavy-duty vehicles can cost more than 2x their fossil fuel equivalents), installing charging infrastructure, upgrading on-site power, and "soft costs" like workforce training and charge management. Again, this all pays for itself over time (especially if you take a total cost of ownership approach and leverage experienced external team members to avoid mistakes). For fleet electrification to succeed, the finance team needs to be clued in to the costs and fuel and maintenance savings in addition to the sustainability benefits.
Here are a few tips for positioning the benefits of fleet electrification to your Finance team:
*Pro tip: every finance team loves to hear about savings and risk reduction.
Take a Total Cost of Ownership Approach: Consider your cost per vehicle miles traveled (VMT) when considering the transition to electric. Electric vehicles generally have lower maintenance and fuel costs (especially if you have a partner to deploy sophisticated managed charging solutions!).
Find Opportunities to Save: There are many opportunities to reduce total upfront costs, including State and Federal funding and local utility incentive programs.
Electrifying Reduces Risk: In addition to reducing the total cost of ownership, electrification can reduce both price and regulatory risk:
- Gasoline and diesel prices can be highly volatile. By contrast, electricity rates (i.e., tariffs) are stable — and many electricity rates are declining while also reducing their carbon intensity.
- Fleets that electrify early will secure a competitive advantage as transportation emissions regulations (like California’s Advanced Clean Truck rule also being proposed in New Jersey and elsewhere) become more widespread and stringent.
- Fleet electrification is still an emerging activity with many decision points that can impact both financial and opportunity cost. Work with external partners who have a track record of success to help you achieve TCO savings and reduce long term risk.
Transportation is one of the biggest sources of global carbon emissions. Companies that commit to sustainability and net zero emissions targets understand that transportation electrification can dramatically reduce their company's carbon emissions immediately.
For sustainability team members, taking a data-driven approach drives meaningful sustainability outcomes. By documenting your baseline transportation emissions (based on the number and types of vehicles and their annual usage), you can then project how fleet electrification can reduce those emissions. Fleet electrification can have enormous, localized air quality benefits. Air pollution is a top 3 leading cause of lung disease, with nearly half the U.S. population living with unhealthy air. It’s possible to track and document how fleet electrification improves your local air quality and brings health benefits to your communities.
The sustainability team can also be a conduit to achieving regulatory risk reduction. For example, in California, the ACT Rule requires that newly purchased medium- and heavy-duty vehicles be electric by 2040. It's essential to have someone tracking these different compliances and regulations.
Leverage the following reports to make your case and get your company on-board:
The buck stops here, and oftentimes, the push for sustainability starts here, too. C-suite executives set the direction on their company’s role in fighting climate change, especially those that recognize the importance of "Doing Well" while also "Doing Good." As federal and state governments set decarbonization standards, it is the internal team's responsibility to present the C-suite with a plan the meet these standards. C-suite managers are in the spotlight concerning company publicity. As social pressure to electrify builds—both internally and from end customers in addition to policymakers--their corporate goals need action to deliver on high aspirations.
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