Across the globe, EV adoption is building momentum, soon to make traditional internal combustion engine vehicles a thing of the past. Decarbonising transport is the right approach to contribute towards climate goals, especially with the 1.5 degree increase looming large.
But this adoption isn’t restricted to being a mere government or policy push. More electric cars were registered in 2021 than in the entire preceding five years and now represent the largest plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sector, with the public transit sector (buses, trucks and vans) expected to touch its highest volume of growth in the coming decade.
So how can businesses within the automotive and e-mobility sector capitalise on this momentum to lead a transition?
The e-mobility industry, characterised by its 24% compound annual growth rate, is a chance for businesses and retailers to facilitate and capitalise on the consumer shift towards cleaner transport.
There’s one easy way to get started and it’s through “Mobile Chargers” – a portable alternative to stationary DC chargers, where durable and lightweight battery packs can easily be plugged into standardised wall-sockets to charge EVs, removing the need for expensive fixed charging equipment.
But this isn’t front of mind for most businesses, as retailers and fleet managers have been investing in their own larger-scale EV infrastructure to alleviate consumer charging concerns. Either way, businesses are taking matters into their own hands. Whether it’s a converted petrol station at Shell or a charging station at Tesco, businesses are turning to charging to lower their carbon footprints. Through these methods, their EV consumers can now charge 0-80% in 10 minutes thanks to the use of their 175kW chargers but charging equipment of this nature requires a large investment.
For smaller enterprises and retailers, who have yet to make their first step towards becoming enablers of e-transition, this would be a challenge. Fleet managers must ask themselves if they can set their sights on charging solutions that are portable, convenient, and accessible?
The answer lies in mobile charging solutions, especially those between 40-50kW. Depending on the end user, such solutions can charge EVs in anywhere between 30 minutes to 2.5 hours, from wherever you want to charge them. With a mobile charger, businesses are not limited to one location like with stationary charging; instead, they can be transported to multiple locations wherever they are required.
Public charging infrastructure is the number one concern when considering the switch to EVs and it’s not limited to consumers. Fleet managers looking to begin their transition efforts have been struggling but must worry no further. The small but powerful charger (40kW) can fire up an e-bus or e-truck, with fleet operators now able to fully charge their e-bus in the range of 2 hours, and slightly longer for light and medium duty vans.
Change is already on its way for the automotive industry. The government is increasing pressure to remove the commercial manufacturing of internal combustion engine vehicles and by 2035 all new cars and vans sold must meet zero-emission standards. The impending diesel ban is also a huge shift for the industry that demands innovative solutions.
However, there needs to be a certain level of infrastructural readiness for a complete EV transition to prevent the ban from crippling businesses. Manufacturers and fleet operators must make the transition to electric sooner rather than later, before the demand for chargers’ boom and prices skyrocket.
Leading UK businesses such as BP, BT, and Royal Mail have already committed to fully electrifying their van fleets by 2030. With supply chain and delivery companies primarily utilising LDV’s and MDV’s, we can expect to see further commitments and investment into the electrification of van fleets.
And across the pond in the USA, policies have spurred the electrification of the trucking industry as we saw in California’s Advanced Clean Truck regulation – requiring manufacturers of medium and heavy-duty vehicles to sell zero-emissions vehicles as an increasing percentage of their annual sales from 2024 to 2035.
Commitments like these are very encouraging and will support our long-term goals amidst the rising pressures from consumers. For the UK however, when 5.2% of the 26,000 public EV chargers are found to be faulty, it’s understandable why businesses are concerned about making the transition to electric.
Instead of searching for charging depots in isolated locations or turning up only to find out of service chargers, mobile charging is the ideal solution to remove barriers to transition, and to ensure mobility needs of individuals, and businesses aren’t let down by infrastructural bottlenecks.
Growing beyond competition
There’s a lot to consider when setting up a charging depot, with the estimated cost for the electrical installation of a 300-bus charging depot rising above £51 million. However, many of the challenges facing the e-truck industry are similar, and have already been faced by the e-bus industry. E-trucks now have a platform to understand how we can be smarter with our management of the grid, capitalise on different charging strategies, and implement infrastructure that is financially viable for truck operators.
It’s a big step, there’s no doubt about that. But fleet managers shouldn’t be put off by this investment because other, more affordable and portable solutions exist to facilitate this exact moment; the transition.
This affordability means that businesses who are looking to dip their toes in the water can pilot their carbon reduction plans and ease into the electric transition. By doing so, fleet managers and manufacturers operating can cater towards the growing demand of on-the-go charging, putting them at a competitive advantage.
The ‘chicken and egg’ dilemma between chargers and fleets can finally be put to rest. Thanks to mobile charging solutions, businesses looking to make the switch can take matters into their own hands.