Five things to plan before beginning electric fleet conversion

Fleet owners across the country are making the transition to battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Recognizing BEVs are more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than fossil-fueled vehicles, owners are realizing the benefits by replacing everything from trucks to light-duty vehicles. 

Based on our experiences helping fleet managers make the transition, thorough upfront planning in five key areas will bolster electric fleet conversion success. 

  1. Grid capacity and charging equipment

    Utility-side upgrades need to be planned for at fleet charging locations early in the conversion process. Consult with your local electric utility and electrical engineers to ensure that all power requirements can be met. Sharing projected electric load growth based on BEV implementation plans with the utility will allow for synchronized upgrades.


  2. Vehicle and battery size

    Prioritize specific operating needs when selecting the vehicle and battery size for your fleet. Consider the required vehicle range per day (which typically depends on the routes traveled), fluctuation in miles traveled, opportunities for charging en route and charging station availability in the selection process.


  3. Implementation and operation planning

    Before beginning any implementation, conduct a full planning study of your entire fleet. For large fleet owners, a multi-phased approach is recommended to minimize risks and disruptions to operations. Phase 1 includes electrifying vehicles that will cause the least disruption to current operations; phase 2 evaluates the current operations model so you can quantify what an average travel day looks like as well as the maximum potential distance a fleet vehicle might have to travel; and phase 3 begins once a charging scheme is determined, and your organization can plan operational changes to accommodate charging.


  4. Phased installation and fleet implementation

    Take a staggered approach to implementing BEVs.
    Fleet owners across North America have started their fleet conversions with operational testing at low levels of implementation.


  5. Electric load management

    Effective energy management is the key to keeping utility costs down. Tools like charge-monitoring software can help you ensure that all vehicles are charged while managing the electric loads and avoiding peak demand charges.


Margaret Oloriz

Civil Engineer Ask me a question
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