Overcoming infrastructure hurdles for a fully electric fleet


Main Product L-load–the developer of grid-independent ultra-fast charging solutions that run on clean fuels.

Although the discussion about the benefits of electric transport is more than ten years old, the share of electric vehicles in the global company fleet is still surprisingly small. According to the IEAs Global Electric Vehicle Prospects 2022, electric light commercial vehicles (LCVs) make up only 2% of the global fleet of this type. Fully electric vehicles make up 4% of the global bus fleet and 0.1% of heavy trucks. The LCV share barely exceeds 12% even in advanced markets.

As a product head for a developer of EV charging solutions, and after doing my fair share of research in the global market, I think the reason for this modest penetration is the poor infrastructure and services that support the commercial EV market – charging, supporting infrastructure and service companies.

Why choose an EV fleet?

Electric vehicles are cheaper and better. Even before the current fuel crisis, there was a strong business case for the use of electric vehicles. In 2020, the researchers claimed that small electric light commercial vehicles even break in the second year of use and more than 15 years, saving the owners 2600 EUR. It is safe to assume that this positive outlook only improved when fuel prices skyrocketed.

But the strongest argument for switching to electric transport is that it drastically improves the sustainability profile of the organization.

Why are there no EVs in commercial fleets yet?

Like an individual user, a fleet owner assesses all aspects of ownership, including total cost of ownership, cost of ownership, return on an hour of operation, convenience, flexibility and availability of supporting infrastructure.

Currently, offering charging infrastructure is a crucial obstacle to switch to a fully electric vehicle fleet, despite the attractive cost parameters. There are three problems: There are not enough public charging stations, most public charging stations charge too slowly and installing new charging stations is a lengthy and expensive process.

in 2021, there were 10 EVs per charging station worldwide, while in the EU this ratio was 14 cars per charging station. About two-thirds of the world’s public stations deliver a charge of less than 22 kW, which provides an unsatisfactory charge rate. At such a station, charging a small car takes 6 to 10 hours, while it may take twice as long for a company car. Public fast and ultra-fast charging stations are still rare and in high demand. Adding queue time to loading is not a viable option for commercial fleet owners.

How do we solve charging bottlenecks?

1. Look at private charging solutions. In my opinion, the ideal solution for fleet owners would be to install private charging solutions. Unless loading facilities are properly monitored, there is no assurance that the fleet will be operationally ready if it depends on public infrastructure.

The type of private charging solution depends on many parameters, including the type of vehicles in the fleet, typical routes, usage parameters and the availability of grid capacity where charging is required.

2. Choose the right charging station for your business needs. A taxi company might consider installing individual grid-based “slow” points in the depot to charge the cars overnight. But larger vehicles require higher speeds and more powerful stations. High-speed charging along routes may be necessary for applications with longer but regular routes or predictable operations such as shuttles, garbage trucks, public transport or school buses. Construction or mining companies with EV fleets may prefer to place a fast charging station at the job site.

3. Consider a grid independent charging station. Installing fast, powerful charging stations on the grid is not always possible. The power grid is often absent in rural areas and its extension can be too long and prohibitive. In high-density urban areas, the grid is usually at capacity and does not have enough power to meet the high charging demand. In these cases, grid independent ultra-fast charging stations may be the best choice. Such stations use clean fuels to generate electricity on site and can produce up to 2000 kW at any given time. These stations can cover the needs of the fleet and, in case of overcapacity, offer charging services to the local community, generating an alternative revenue stream.

Many governments around the world start programsencouraging a rapid switch to electric transport with the aim of achieving their net-zero target and combating climate change.

According to the IEA report, “Global EV inventory across all modes of road transport… is growing rapidly from nearly 18 million in 2021 to 200 million vehicles by 2030, an average annual growth rate of more than 30%.

Switching to an all-electric fleet will become easier with time, but the benefits of this decision can already be reaped now.

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