The secret to moving past electric vehicle pilots

February 10, 2021 by  
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The secret to moving past electric vehicle pilots Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 02/10/2021 – 01:30 The U.S. federal fleet — with its 645,000 vehicles — is going all-electric. At least, that’s the plan from a Biden administration executive order issued last month. The goal highlights how 2021 is the year that companies and government organizations will try to transition from piloting a couple of electric vehicles in their fleets to building much more comprehensive, scaled-up and potentially 100 percent electric vehicle strategies. But as fleet electrification moves past the early pilot phase, major challenges remain. What hurdles should companies and organizations be on the lookout for? RMI analyst Chris Nelder and his team just released a comprehensive (and free) report on fleet electrification and its challenges. Here are five of the biggest red flags you should watch out for: 1. The utility and fleet gap: Utility grid planning tends be a long process. The RMI report found it could take 18 to 24 months for a utility to review and approve an organization’s EV resource grid plan. If the utility is required to provide megawatts of new grid capacity for an organization’s EV plan, then discussions should start three years in advance, says RMI. This long lead time is particularly frustrating for the largest and most aggressive fleets who want to move quickly and electrify large portions of their fleets. At VERGE 20 , fleet managers from Amazon and FedEx Express confirmed that the utility lag time is one of their biggest bottlenecks for fleet electrification.  So what’s the solution? Companies should engage utilities as soon as possible in the planning process. The most progressive utilities also have started to develop fleet outreach strategies to make sure utilities are involved with the earliest stages of EV fleet planning. It’s essential to begin implementing processes for appropriate cost allocation and capital planning on an organization-wide basis immediately. Southern California Edison’s Jill Anderson, senior vice president of customer service, says that SCE “encourages customers to come talk to us when they’re thinking about fleet electrification.”  For example, SCE has been working closely with the city of Porterville, California, to help with a project to electrify 60 buses, both transit and school buses. We’re “working together to figure out the best locations [for charging] and do it in the most cost-effective and fastest way.” 2. New business and budgeting processes: The way fleet managers fund, procure and operate electric fleets and the accompanying charging infrastructure can be very different from how organizations historically have been buying and fueling diesel-powered vehicles. For many organizations, funding for the vehicles and the chargers come out of two budgets, and many organizations never have had a line item for chargers before. RMI says: “It’s essential to begin implementing processes for appropriate cost allocation and capital planning on an organization-wide basis immediately. A cross-functional team of staff from fleets, operations, facilities, finance and purchasing departments with executive leadership support should collaborate to understand the [total cost of ownership] TCO of fleet electrification accurately.” 3. Moving beyond Level 2 charging: The most confusing aspect of fleet electrification is deploying charging infrastructure. Many fleets that have a couple of EVs are using inexpensive Level 2 chargers or even shared public charging stations.  But as more organizations transition larger portions of their fleets to EVs, they’ll likely need some type of fast chargers, depending on the use case of the vehicles and the number of vehicles that need charging. Fast chargers are more expensive than Level 2 chargers but can add significant charging in just 20 to 30 minutes, compared to the eight-plus hours it can take to fully charge an EV with a Level 2 charger. A small number of fast chargers for a fleet also can act as a way to help fleets have more confidence in an EV transition.  4. Lack of data: Many fleets are finding they can’t fully determine the full TCO for their EVs in comparison to their diesel-powered fleets because of a lack of data around charging and EV maintenance costs. Fleets need to deploy telematics and charging software systems early in the process to make sure they’re making decisions that make economic sense. 5. Incremental vs. planned charging deployments: RMI noted that in early pilot phases of electric fleets, it’s common for an organization to buy a couple of EVs and the accompanying Level 2 chargers. However, as fleets move beyond the pilot phase, organizations need to comprehensively plan out large EV charger procurement and deployments. Why can’t fleets opt for piecemeal buying and deploying? Because it ends up being much more expensive. If a fleet manager ends up opting for 100 percent EVs but deploys them in an ad-hoc way, they can end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars more in both upfront costs and costs over the life of the systems. The RMI report is a good read. I encourage anyone interested to download and read the entire 69-page piece.  Pull Quote It’s essential to begin implementing processes for appropriate cost allocation and capital planning on an organization-wide basis immediately. Topics Transportation & Mobility Clean Fleets Electric Vehicles EV Charging Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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The secret to moving past electric vehicle pilots

3 trends forecasting fleet electrification from VERGE 18

November 7, 2018 by  
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Here’s how we can fast-track electric vehicles across industry.

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3 trends forecasting fleet electrification from VERGE 18

UPS’s Tom Madrecki, director of urban innovation and mobility, on driving the transition to alternative-fuel fleets

November 6, 2018 by  
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A new research report from UPS and GreenBiz presented new findings that also confirmed what many in the industry had already suspected: “the value of partnership, among OEMs, users and cities, all together at the table,” said Tom Madrecki, director of urban innovation and mobility at UPS.But action is still lagging — under 50 percent of private companies are having these conversations, Madrecki noted. That means there’s much more opportunity out there.

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UPS’s Tom Madrecki, director of urban innovation and mobility, on driving the transition to alternative-fuel fleets

Lessons from Walmart and UPS on electrifying their fleets

October 17, 2018 by  
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It’s happening quickly, but the tipping point remains on the horizon.

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Lessons from Walmart and UPS on electrifying their fleets

Europe sails towards electrified shipping fleets

March 9, 2018 by  
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Meet the new “Tesla ships.”

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Europe sails towards electrified shipping fleets

Episode 103: McDonald’s soil solution; Tesla’s future fleet

December 8, 2017 by  
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Big companies invest in low-carbon products, the race to map the future of fleets and five policies that threaten U.S. clean energy markets.

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Episode 103: McDonald’s soil solution; Tesla’s future fleet

Why Chicago is pollinating bee populations

December 8, 2017 by  
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In a fresh spin on “concrete jungle,” urban green spaces are home to conservation efforts that bolster declining bee habitats.

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Why Chicago is pollinating bee populations

Lessons from China’s industrial symbiosis leadership

December 8, 2017 by  
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The eco-industrial park in the coastal city of Rizhao offers lessons for students of circular economy principles.

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Lessons from China’s industrial symbiosis leadership

Renewable gas: the hot new fuel from animal waste?

December 4, 2017 by  
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Otherwise known as biomethane, UPS and others are switching to save money, while suppliers earn extra money from the sale of credits.

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Renewable gas: the hot new fuel from animal waste?

For PepsiCo, drivers and data play key roles in fuel efficiency

August 29, 2017 by  
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It’s a continous process.

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For PepsiCo, drivers and data play key roles in fuel efficiency

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