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Fleet electrification: navigating challenges and opportunities

By Mara May 17, 2022

By Hua Khee Chan, Fleet Electrification Specialist at Moixa

The climate emergency is a real and significant threat. Communities, the environment, and the economy will be severely affected without significant changes to the way we live, work, and move around.

Carbon emissions ​​produced by human activities are the largest contributor to global warming. Transport has the highest reliance on fossil fuels of any sector and accounts for 37% of CO2 emissions. Therefore, it’s now widely understood that EVs will play an indispensable role in reducing this footprint and helping us create a more sustainable energy system.

In his book “Speed & Scale”, author John Doerr predicts that by electrifying transportation, we could make the transport sector’s emissions fall to 6 Gt, reducing their share of global carbon emissions to 10%.

The electrification of commercial fleets is well underway

Until recently, fleet electrification has primarily focused on consumer vehicles, but that’s quickly changing. Nowadays, commercial fleets made up of medium or heavy-duty vehicles (MHDV) — covering a wide range of services, from food and parcel delivery to supporting healthcare and hospitals — are already steadily adopting electric vehicle technology.

Many of these commercial fleets are owned by global businesses committed to ambitious sustainability targets. Achieving both environmental advantages and long-term economic or operational benefits, it is no surprise that fleets are increasingly electrifying, at pace and at scale, and this trend shows no signs of stopping.

Fleet electrification: a cross-collaborative effort between different business functions

However, transitioning from traditional fleet management to EV fleet management is not an overnight task. This can be a complex process that requires a long-term sustainability strategy and financial commitment.

Furthermore, EV fleet electrification has moved from a traditionally one department role to requiring cross-collaborative effort between various business functions. Depending on the organisation structure, this includes — but is not limited to — the departments of fleet management, operation, estate, buildings, and maintenance.

For example, it is very challenging to find replacements for individual EVs in terms of vehicle range, cargo payload, and cargo volume compared to ICE vehicles. Therefore, the fleet manager will need to collaborate with the operation manager to develop a replacement EV fleet that does not compromise business operations.

Moreover, if on-site charging is required, the fleet manager will need to work closely with the estate and building manager to develop the charging infrastructure that typically does not come with an EV lease.

In addition, a new operation strategy is required between the fleet, operation, and maintenance departments to ensure that the charging infrastructure is maintained and all EVs have their battery replenished to carry out their duty day in and day out.

Intelligent fleet charging is key

In order to make the transition to electric as smooth as possible and take full advantage of the benefits offered by EVs, intelligent charging is crucial.

Intelligent EV charging refers to a system where an electric vehicle and a charging station share a data connection, and the charging station shares a data connection with a charging operator.

Unlike traditional smart charging stations that are not connected to the cloud, intelligent charging can manage EV charging activities based on customer and environmental inputs through AI or other software means. Intelligent charging manages to aggregate data from the user, the electric vehicle, the operator building, and the local grid network in order to manage the charging plan efficiently.

To lay the foundations for scalability and success, it is clear that fleet managers must take full advantage of intelligent charging and underpin their growing EV fleet and charging infrastructure with a centralised software management platform.

At Moixa, we are making the transition to fleet electrification seamless by leveraging our GridShare software to optimise intelligent charging and help businesses cut their fleets’ costs and carbon emissions.

How we helped UPS electrify its fleet

To further strengthen our fleet electrification offering, we joined forces with other thought-leading partners, such as UPS, UK Power Network Services, and Cross River Partnership (CRP), to work on the EV Fleet-Centred Local Energy System (EFLES). The project aimed to help UPS cut its fleet’s upkeep costs, carbon emissions, and air pollution by optimising intelligent EV fleet charging.

Our GridShare software played a critical part in delivering the project, using AI to enable UPS to charge their vans when energy was at its cheapest and cleanest for them. In addition, our software enabled the site operator to participate in revenue-generating flexibility services that help balance the local grid.

To further democratise fleet electrification, our Gridshare software can perform dynamic electrical load shaving by limiting the charging power of the EV based on real-time metering data. This will prevent overloading the building power supply. During the EFLES project, this feature has helped UPS reduce the costs of upgrading the sub-station and installing charging infrastructure.

Moreover, together with UK Power Networks, we helped UPS explore future electrification scenarios through on-site energy modelling by incorporating onsite Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) such as solar PV, ESS, and shared charging infrastructure. By leveraging GridShare software, we showed that all these assets could be managed by using one single platform without the need for multiple software packages.

More information on the EFLES project can be found in our blog post.

Innovative solutions to electrify your fleet

Supported by our dedicated team of experts, we’ll continue to create best-in-class technology and solutions for our partners, solving the complexities every fleet manager faces.

Feel free to reach out to Moixa’s Fleet Electrification Specialist, Hua-Khee Chan, at [email protected], if you have queries about electrifying your workplace and depots or if you’d like to find out more about our EV fleet solutions.