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The energy implications of Electric Vehicles (EV) for fleets

Adopting electric vehicles (EV) requires a new approach to managing energy. But, with only 24% of organizations continuously assessing their energy use, the importance of developing the right distributed energy strategy is key to supporting EV infrastructure.

As the number of electric vehicles on the road increases, businesses are looking with more focus at how they support the transition to sustainable transport. Whether they are looking at providing workplace charging for employees or customers or moving their fleet to EV, the shift to electric will have an impact on how much energy your organisation uses and how you manage it.

The need for more energy may require upgrades to the grid supply infrastructure, or the implementation of new on-site generation solutions. But research by Centrica Business Solutions shows that 57% of businesses do not currently have a plan to take action to address their power supply needs when they install EV charging. To keep the potential of increased costs under control, visibility and management over electricity usage is key.

Additionally, it is paramount that the uninterrupted operation of the EV infrastructure is protected, to not impact driver experience. Downtime will have a direct impact on business continuity and the risk of a power outages need to be fully assessed and appropriate measures taken to ensure resilience.

57%

Percentage of businesses who do not plan to take action to address their power supply needs when they install EV charging.1

10%+

Percentage of energy generated on-site by two thirds of businesses, with 8 out of 10 anticipating they will increase use of on-site generation over next 5 years.1

30%

The percentage of businesses generating energy on-site who now sell energy back to the grid.1

Source:  1. Distributed Energy Future Trends report, 2019 and on-demand EV webinar

We are using our own EV fleet transition experience to support businesses with an end-to-end solution to making their switch to electric.

The need for control

For organisations to achieve the required flexibility and resilience of supply, they need to take more control of their energy use, production and storage. Ways to do this can include:

  • Upgrade site energy supply with an enhanced grid connection for additional grid source power requirements.
  • Installing on-site generation solutions, such as solar. This local energy generation reduces dependency on the grid, provides both resilience and flexibility, and reduces energy costs.
  • Deploying on-site battery storage as part of any EV energy strategy, to ensure a constant supply in the face of an increasingly volatile grid, rising energy demand and intermittent renewable generation.

These flexible distributed energy solutions can also have a positive secondary effect on your bottom-line. Selling excess energy from on-site assets back to the grid can create a new form of income; in fact, our survey showed 30% of businesses generating energy on-site now sell energy back to the grid.

Consideration should also be given to the future potential for using energy stored within EVs to generate income through Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) initiatives. These incentivise EV owners and fleet operators to charge their cars during off-peak demand times, then sell any excess power they have stored when demand is high.

Energy strategy is EV strategy

As well as rethinking their energy strategy, organisations transitioning to EV also need to address several other issues to maximise the benefits:

  • Develop a full understanding of the total cost of ownership for both existing ICE vehicles and new EVs
  • Have a clear view of your drivers and vehicles, miles completed per day on average and which are primed for converting to EV and when
  • Investigate the routes a fleet of EVs can handle given things like range limits, charging times, availability of on-the-road charging
  • Understand the regulatory landscape to take full advantage of the available incentives
  • Consider how to future-proof the deployed solution to avoid the risk of obsolescence as technology advances
  • Gain buy-in across the business to ensure adequate adoption of the EV solution
  • Ensure any health and safety issues associated with EVs – such as high voltage components and storage of electricity in powerful lithium-ion batteries – are identified and effectively managed

EV Enablement from Centrica Business Solutions

Specifically designed to address these energy supply and charging infrastructure management challenges for Fleets, our solution helps organisations avoid obsolescence and decreases the risk of investing in EVs as technology continues to evolve. We offer a combination of innovative products and services to help them make the transition to electric transport simpler, faster and more cost effective.