Electrification of the corporate fleet is now an important topic in many companies. Not only for ecological reasons, but also because of cost savings and the increasing attractiveness of electromobility. But the switch to electric vehicles presents companies with a number of challenges.
One of the biggest challenges is the limited range of electric vehicles, which requires efficient trip planning and an optimized charging infrastructure. But issues of cost efficiency, charging management and employee acceptance also need to be considered.
In this blog post, we will look at five different challenges in fleet electrification and identify possible solutions for successful implementation.
1. Range anxiety
The limited range of electric vehicles is often assumed to be a challenge compared to conventional vehicles. Range anxiety refers to the concern of drivers that the battery will run out while driving, and they will be stranded without power somewhere on the road.
Solution: Using smart charging management ensures that vehicles always have enough charge to complete their planned trips and ensure that the available charging infrastructure is used efficiently. Such a system helps reduce range anxiety and facilitates fleet electrification by adjusting the charging schedule of electric vehicles with respect to their usage needs.
2. Additional demand for electricity
The additional demand for electricity needed to charge the electric vehicles can also be seen as an obstacle. The charging processes in the electric fleet can significantly increase the electricity demand, especially if all vehicles are charged at the same time. This can lead to overloads.
Solution: Smart charging management can help reduce the additional demand for electricity by matching the fleet's charging needs with the available electricity supply. This ensures that the electric fleet is charged effectively, sustainably, and matched to the capacity of the power grid, such as by:
- the use of load management technologies that coordinate the electricity consumption of charging stations to reduce peak loads,
- the use of renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power, and
- smart grids, such as managing fleet electricity consumption during periods of low electricity demand.
3. High acquisition costs
The high initial cost of an electric vehicle compared to a combustion engine is another challenge for many fleet managers. However, the higher initial cost can be offset by lower operating costs and maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is an important factor here. It refers to the total cost of a vehicle over its entire lifetime, including acquisition costs, operating costs, maintenance costs and any resale values.
A study by Fraunhofer ISI compared the total costs of several types of passenger car drive systems and showed a clear long-term cost advantage for electric vehicles over internal combustion engines – despite significantly higher costs for acquisition and charging infrastructure. "Using your own charging facilities in combination with your own PV system can increase the cost advantage of an electric car over a gasoline-powered car by up to 12,000 euros over 15 years," the researchers said.
Solution: By combining the following factors, the use of PV systems as an energy source for electric vehicles can help offset the high initial costs of electric vehicles and achieve long-term cost advantages:
- Maximum self-consumption rate of the PV system: The solar electricity produced is used directly and not fed into the grid, which reduces electricity costs.
- Intelligent demand-based charging scheduling: Charging power is managed to be used when the grid load is low, which can also reduce the price of electricity.
- Holistic energy management: The total available charging power for the electric fleet, taking into account decentralized power supply options, is distributed based on the energy demand and vehicle-specific charging power of the vehicles as well as vehicle availability based on schedules.
4. Planning and managing the electric fleet
Managing a company fleet of electric vehicles and managing the charging infrastructure can be a complex and challenging task due to the various components and factors that need to be considered. For example, the routes and charging times of the vehicles must be planned to ensure that they always have enough power. In addition, the charging infrastructure must be planned, installed and managed, including the billing of electricity costs.
Solution: Intelligent fleet and charging management software can reduce the complexity and challenges of organizing, monitoring, maintaining and billing electric vehicle fleets and charging infrastructures, contributing to efficient and cost-effective operations. In doing so, fleet managers always have all relevant data in view: Availability, usage and health of the vehicles can be monitored via the digital platform.
5. Change management and employee acceptance
The conversion from combustion vehicles to electric vehicles usually requires a change in the work processes and habits of the drivers. For example, charging times must be integrated into route planning to ensure that the vehicle is charged on time and sufficiently. Driving behavior may also change due to the different acceleration and braking characteristics of electric vehicles.
Solution: To ensure that the transition to electric vehicles is successfully implemented, it is important to train and inform employees. They should understand and accept the benefits and challenges of electric mobility in order to create a positive working environment and promote the acceptance of electric vehicles. Here, training on driving behavior, charging infrastructure or energy-saving methods can be helpful. Open communication between employer and employees can also help to clarify questions and concerns early on and ensure a smooth transition.
In summary, while corporate fleet electrification presents some challenges, it also offers many benefits. Careful planning and implementation, taking into account range anxiety, charging infrastructure, additional demand for electricity, cost management, change management, and employee acceptance, can lead to successful fleet electrification. Smart charging management systems, employee training, and the use of renewable energy sources can help.
Electrification of the corporate fleet is not only an important step towards sustainability, but can also contribute to cost savings and increased attractiveness of the company in the long term.