Why fleets need increased cooperation and streamlining post-COVID

COVID-19 has forced people around the world to change their everyday habits and adapt to a new normal, impacting every industry and every sector. The delivery fleet industry is no exception, online deliveries have boomed as people shop increasingly online – not just Gen Z and millennials but all demographics have embraced digital consumerism. To keep up with these changes in demand, companies need to be flexible and agile, implementing changes quickly and without hesitation.

Delivery fleets need to rethink new ways they can deliver, maybe it’s with smaller vans, bikes, outsourcing or, hiring additional rental vans. However, whilst new disruptors in the market are leading the way, some larger companies are falling behind. To keep up with our rapidly evolving world, delivery services and fleets need to streamline their operations and facilitate increased cooperation. Anticipating changes ensuring they are ready to adapt is key to surviving within the industry.

Ensuring that your company is fully committed to evolving with the times is becoming ever more key to survival. Many companies begin their EV charging journey by installing a few stations to pursue their sustainability initiatives and provide charging to employees, customers who drive electric, or more frequently, to a small trial section of their own fleet. While installing a few stations for those drivers is relatively simple, a long-term plan is also needed as more people will inevitably drive electric. With the increasing assortment of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles available, many facilities have not anticipated how fast their car parks or depots will change and the demand for EV charging will increase

So why are companies putting off Electrification?

Power Limitations

Demand for charging infrastructure is increasing, but facilities managers may discover they have electrical capacity constraints that limit the number of charging stations they can install. Many workplaces also want to expand their charging infrastructure to accommodate more employees, without making substantial investments in electrical upgrades.

Power Management software allows charging site administrators to maximize the number of charging ports they can deploy, while ensuring EV drivers always get an adequate charge. This software intelligently manages available power so more charging stations can be installed without upgrading existing wiring, panels, transformers or power at a site. This can yield considerable cost savings while still providing drivers a great charging experience.

There’s not enough public Fast Charging

Seeing a new fast charging spot is always exciting, and fast charging has an important role to play on long distance deliveries. There has been much conversation about ever faster chargers placed in every available spot out there. Whilst this creates a familiar parity with the internal combustion fueling experience, in real world application, this would not only cost an absolute fortune, but could weigh too heavy on our ailing electricity grid.

The truth is most fleets will charge in one of two ways: in a depot or at the drivers’ homes and in both instances start each day with enough range to complete their route and return to charge in the evening, rarely, if ever needing to charge on public infrastructure. Even in those rare instances, most vans are not capable of accepting a charge at the 300kW the government is targeting. Those charging speeds are currently only available in premium vehicles like the Porsche Taycan!

For those that do need to charge on public rapid stations, access to as many ports as possible is a bonus. Through roaming agreements drivers can now access hundreds of thousands of ports across Europe with the use of one account. For those companies whose employees take their vehicles home and use public infrastructure, having the ability to seamlessly pass charging costs to the fleet operator is paramount to a successful fleet deployment.

Price

Electric trucks, vans and buses are far less expensive to fuel and maintain than their ICE counterparts and, with battery prices falling, will reach cost parity with traditional vehicles by mid-decade. With the grants and incentives available, many EVs are already less expensive today. They do not only reduce your fuel and maintenance costs however, they ensure that you meet the ever stricter emissions standards and legislative mandates that are becoming common in cities across the globe.

I’m too invested in my existing fleet system

We believe that one size does not fit all. The benefit of that approach for you is a solution that flexes and scales with your needs, from pilot to full fleet electrification. For fleet customers, electrification should not be a case of buying off the shelf (if you choose the right partners). You can save time and money by onboarding existing assets where, managing your energy usage to reduce demand charges and integrating with your current systems to optimise fleet operations. Cloud-based fleet scheduling and workflow software manage how every EV will charge at the facility; including when an EV charges, at what power level and for how long. Depots can optimise their fleet operating profile to meet the operational needs of their entire fleet.

A major challenge within the industry is there are too many cooks in the kitchen, all of whom are key decision makers, including fleet managers, CSR heads, depot managers, energy managers as well as city planners and government officials who play a key role in deciding how fleet networks can be expanded. It is imperative to streamline this so decisions and strategies can be implemented faster to keep up with rapidly changing consumer demand.

The government seems to agree. Just this month rumors started circulating that the UK plans to bring forward a ban on fossil fuel vehicles to 2030 as the primary way of achieving the UK’s climate goals. It seems that the decision has been made, those companies that get ahead of the curve are going to be the ones that benefit most.

Before the pandemic, the world’s largest delivery fleets were making massive investments in e-mobility and, with demand up, they’re unlikely to reverse course. In January, UPS announced plans to add 10,000 BEV trucks for a fleet pilot beginning this year after purchasing a minority stake in EV-maker Arrival. Online retailer Amazon recently announced plans to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from electric start-up Rivian.

Delivery fleets are experiencing several challenges during the current crisis that a move to more reliable, affordable, and cleaner electric vehicles would help address. What’s stopping you?


Author: Andre ten Bloemendal, Vice President of Sales in Europe, ChargePoint

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