The total percentage of electric vehicle sales in the United States tripled from four to 14% between 2020 and 2022. Adoption continues to grow exponentially. As the EV wave sweeps the country, savvy fleet managers are ramping up their electrification plans. But with the technology advancing at a breakneck pace, staying on top of the latest developments can be a full-time job.
Knowing which of these technologies offer tangible benefits today, rather than distant promises, is crucial. The following are the top trends in fleet electrification for 2024 that forward-thinking fleet managers should be actively integrating into their strategies.
Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Technology
Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology allows electric fleet vehicles to communicate with and transfer electricity back to the power grid. Essentially, it turns EVs into mobile energy storage units that can provide electricity to job sites during peak demand times and keep your crew’s electric tools operating at full capacity.
Not every new EV has this capability, but a number of models do, including the GMC Hummer, Ford F-150 Lightning, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Nissan Leaf, and Volvo EX90. The much-anticipated electric Chevy Silverado will also come with V2G capability. As the first commercial iteration of this feature, it’s likely to improve and become standard technology over time. Like other EV benefits, V2G will ultimately drive efficiency and cost savings beyond the vehicle. For now, consider it “cool tech,” but it should not be a top consideration when making vehicle selections.
A New Generation of Fleet Management Tools, from Telematics to OEMs
Electrification demands a revamp of fleet management systems in order to manage the volumes of cutting-edge information available to fleet managers. The latest software solutions from telematics providers and OEMs not only monitor vehicle health and location but also offer new features to optimize operations only available with electric vehicles.
Advanced fleet management tools offer predictive maintenance based on real-time EV diagnostics. Moreover, they can optimize routes by factoring in charging station locations, vehicle charge levels, and even charging times. Such efficiency gains lead directly to cost savings and improved fleet availability. This is an important differentiator and should be considered as part of your overall vehicle selection.
Faster Charging Innovations
Charging technology gets better every year, with ultra-fast chargers now capable of delivering significant charge levels within mere minutes, at a lower cost than ever. Such speed is a boon for fleet managers looking to maintain optimum vehicle availability rates and minimize downtime when vehicles must charge in public.
Beyond swift charging, advancements in battery cooling technologies mean EV batteries can handle frequent fast charging without significant degradation, preserving their lifespan and operational prowess.
To harness the benefits of rapid charging in fleet operations, managers should consider vehicles that have the ability to charge fast and come with a usable network of fast-charging public options that work for their fleet in their operating geographies.
Integrating Renewable Energy Sources
A holistic approach to fleet electrification often goes hand-in-hand with broader sustainability goals. Integrating renewable energy sources directly into fleet operations is a trend gaining momentum.
On-site renewable installations, like solar arrays at fleet depots, can drastically reduce a company’s electricity costs. Moreover, during periods of high renewable energy production, fleet batteries can act as temporary storage, further enhancing grid stability and providing potential revenue streams through grid services.
As new technologies continue to emerge in the renewable technology space, consider investing selectively in those that will help your EV fleet meet its long-term goals.
Home-Based Fleet Charging Solutions
Fleet managers are discovering that a home-charging first approach offers a lower-cost option and faster time to deploy for their electric vehicles. Charging at home eliminates the need for fleet managers to install volumes of costly on-site charging infrastructure, reduces the burden on the electrical grid during peak hours, and offers a decentralized approach to mass EV fleet adoption.
Home charging typically costs 30 to 60 percent less than commercial rates, but requires a reliable method of reimbursing employees for their electrical expenses. This ensures fleets will capitalize on the substantial cost savings, increased employee satisfaction, and fleet uptime. By reducing dependency on a singular charging location, businesses ensure that vehicles are primed and ready at the onset of each workday, enhance driver convenience, and reduce downtime associated with centralized charging.
The era of fleet electrification isn’t on the horizon; it's here. The challenge for 2024 is choosing the best technology at the forefront of an ever-changing landscape, with a focus on cost savings and practical use cases. By following these emerging trends, savvy fleet managers can outperform their competition and stay ahead of the curve, while also moving their organization towards a greener future.
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet