10 questions to plan the electric vehicle charger deployment for your fleet

By Feedback Entreprise
Deploying numerous chargers requires an industrial scale organisation, optimised processes and a uniform quality.

Two approaches are possible to shift a fleet to electric vehicles:

  1. proceed in small steps or,
  2. switch the majority of your vehicles to electric in one batch

In the first approach, a decentralised management method is possible, with local electricians or entrepreneurs installing chargers one at a time, but with highly heterogeneous results.

The second approach of switching the entire fleet to electric vehicles requires a method to manage the deployment as a program, possibly over several months. It must encompass technical surveys of the sites where the electric vehicles will be charged and the installation and maintenance of the electric vehicle supply equipment. 

To deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure, large corporations with tens or hundreds of sites across the country need a structured approach that works both at group and branch levels. Only a comprehensive process that can be planned, measured, and repeated without subjectivity will deliver the same level of quality at every site.

At the corporate level, an overarching strategy is required to allow the development of the business plan with budgetary and related approvals, the choice of strategies for purchasing the chargers, their installation, logistics, and the implementation of a monitoring system.

At the branch level, each site being different, the local manager must be offered the best options to be installed with the minimum disruption to operations and customers. After installation, operations, monitoring, and maintenance of electric vehicle supply equipment on each site must be as simple as can be.

The following is a 10 point checklist to engage your electric vehicle charger deployment program:

What are the charging needs and the site’s characteristics?
Understanding the driver’s needs and the layout of the sites where charging will occur is key to designing the right charging solution. Different chargers can be installed depending on whether vehicles are parked a long time (e.g. at night) or not, inside or outside, in a multi-owned parking lot, close or far to the building, and with drivers making long journeys or short commutes with small cars, vans or lorries.

What sequencing and budgeting? What financing need?
Deploying an electric vehicle charging infrastructure is an investment that can be phased and financed. It will have some running costs (e.g. electricity) that must be aligned with the expected savings (e.g. on fuel). 

Which charger purchasing strategy?
A central purchasing of all chargers for the group might allow for bulk discounts, but local branch manager’s needs and logistics might make a unified sourcing on a limited set of models with local ordering more efficient.

How will on-site response be managed?
Site managers have to remain focused on their operations. Any task not related to their core business, such as organising a charger installation, has to be as easy and seamless as possible.

How to synchronise the network connection, the charger installation, the delivery of the electric vehicle, and your communication campaign?
Not all sites will have a sufficient grid connection – some will require upgrades. Chargers might need to be installed in various sites such as your office or your employees’ homes. You might want to communicate on the shift to electric vehicles. All this needs to happen in anticipation of the arrival of the new electric vehicles.

How to ensure the same level of service and quality across multiple distant sites?
Wherever your offices, branches, or sites are, they deserve the same deliverables and consistency in service. Although sites are different, local managers and drivers all expect chargers that are installed on time and are fully functioning from the start. 

How to manage risks?
Chargers are electrical devices that operate at high power levels. Safety needs to be taken into consideration at all stages. Engineers installing chargers must be trained, accredited, equipped with the right tools, and are able to apply the right procedures. The impact on the site’s existing wiring must be assessed and taken into account.

How to ensure compliance with regulations?
Several regulations, standards and norms can apply to electric vehicle charging – even more so if subsidies are subject to specific conditions. Meeting all these requirements and documenting compliance requires a systematic process that does not miss anything.

How to monitor the deployment progress globally, controlling cost and timing?
Meeting corporate objectives requires the set-up of a governance plan and reporting procedure to monitor the deployment and ensure it is executed according to expectation, with the ability to quickly adapt to fix unforeseen issues.

How to ensure a good hand-over to every driver?
Switching to an electric vehicle is a change for all drivers. Ensuring the proper use of chargers and sharing best practices in charging increases the success of this change.

Instaborne has this experience of massive scale deployments and applies it to all electric vehicle charger deployments. 

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