EV Fleets

Electrifying fleets of vehicles can have an outsized impact in reducing fuel consumption and emissions, improving local air quality, and achieving mobility goals. Fleets are more likely to appreciate EVs lower total cost of ownership, and leveraging fleet managers’ expertise can reduce barriers to adoption.

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As fleet managers and decision makers around the world begin to consider the benefits of electrifying their fleet, they will also need to navigate and overcome barriers to deploying an electric vehicle (EV) fleet. Transitioning traditional vehicle fleets to electricity can reduce fuel and maintenance costs, lower greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollutants, improve performance, promote energy security, increase resilience to natural disasters, and promote energy and mobility justice. However, several barriers still need to be overcome to achieve full fleet electrification, including financial, infrastructure, planning, range, and technology challenges.

Fleets can be important early adopters of EVs, advancing technologies and pushing markets forward. This is because fleets are sophisticated investors that value vehicles lower total cost of ownership and have technical/logistical sophistication to support new technologies. Furthermore, fleets can introduce numerous riders to EVs. Fleets span across public and private sectors such as tourism, recreation, goods and services logistics, public transportation, education, and essential services. To move people and goods, and provide services, these sectors utilize various types of vehicles including two- and three-wheelers like scooters, light-duty passenger vehicles, buses, and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles like trucks, all of which can be electrified.

Current Market Considerations of EVs

Vehicle Type

Market Considerations

    Light-Duty Two- and Three-Wheelers
    • Established market, experience, and wide model availability
    • Lowest upfront cost and wider accessibility to different populations
    • No special charging infrastructure required
    • Appropriate option for private and shared mobility
    • Battery swap technology most advanced for this vehicle type 
    Light-Duty Four-Wheelers
    • Established market, experience, and wide dealer network
    • Standardized EVSE, including Level II, DC Fast Charge, and managed charging
    • Capable of fulfilling existing LDV needs and functions, including taxi and ride-hailing fleets, with adequate charging network.
      • Emerging product offerings and supply network
      • Development and expansion expected in the next 2-5 years
      • Fleet pickups and vans often require specialty “work” functions, as illustrated in the FleetDNA database
      • Emerging product offerings and supply network
      • Expanded EV products expected in the next 2–5 years
      • Higher charging power and infrastructure investment needed
      • Long-distance freight trucks require very large, expensive batteries
      • School buses pair well with managed charging because of long periods of inactivity
      • Potential lessons to learn from transit EV applications
      Transit Buses
      • Transit agencies have been leaders in deploying and evaluating ZEV (EV and FCV) and near-ZEV (CNG) bus technologies
      • Transit agencies have also been leaders in deploying and evaluating charging/fueling infrastructure technologies – depot charging vs. on-route, conductive vs. wireless, overhead lines, charge management
      • Predictable schedules and parking depots for transit facilitate transition to EVs
      • Transit bus manufacturers have decades of technology refinement and optimization experience, but some technology challenges remain
      • Transit solutions are being pushed by regulation such as India’s FAME program (as shown in Surat)
      • Cabin heating and cooling requirements have large impact on range

      When facilitating a fleet transition to electric, fleet managers and decision makers should consider the following:

      • The overall goals of the fleet electrification plan
      • The best opportunities for fuel reduction and emissions reduction
      • Vehicles with dedicated parking spots suitable for charging equipment
      • Vehicle duty cycles that are suitable for electrification because they can access a charger without disrupting their regular patterns
      • Vehicles that have an electric model that is commercially available 
      • On-board battery storage system and motor requirements 
      • Total cost of ownership from transitioning to EVs
      • Maintenance training requirements for EVs and long-term maintenance saving potential
      • Vehicles nearing retirement or due for replacement
      • Electricity tariffs- especially if charger power is compatible with demand charges charge timing matches low time-of-use rates
      • Electrical equipment and service upgrades necessary to support charging
      • Ancillary benefits such as clean air (school or hospital fleets), quiet operations (campus and resort fleets), or powering equipment while idle (utility or construction).

      Reading List and Case Studies

      Building Blocks of Electric Vehicle Deployment: A Guide for Developing Countries

      National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2021

      This report lays out a framework for policymakers, regulators, and other decision-makers in developing countries for EV deployment through seven “building blocks” that address technical, institutional, or economic topics. This report lays out a framework for policymakers, regulators, and other decision makers in developing countries for how to plan, implement, and scale electric vehicle deployment in their jurisdictions. The "building blocks" of electric vehicle deployment address technical, institutional, or economic topics that together underpin a safe, sustainable, and efficient transition to an electrified transport sector.

      Electrifying Transit: A Guidebook for Implementing Battery Electric Buses

      National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2021

      The use of battery electric bus (BEBs) fleets is becoming more attractive to cities seeking to reduce emissions and traffic congestion. This guidebook is designed for decision-makers who may be considering implementing battery electric busses (BEBs) and includes potential solutions to address challenges such as upfront cost premiums, planning burdens, charging infrastructure development, and reduced BEB range. BEB facts, data, and considerations for policymakers are identified, along with potential impacts of BEB on the electric grid and specific operation and maintenance considerations for BEBs. The report also discusses BEB costs and financing options, safety of BEBs and the associated codes and standards, hazards, and emergencies. Finally, the report examines project execution and long-term planning considerations.  

      Transit Bus Electrification Evaluation from GPS Speed Traces

      National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2020 

      In Mexico City and two locations in León, Mexico, NREL installed trackers on 30 buses and gathered performance data over 2-4 weeks, evaluated depot fuel and bus records, and modeled fuel economy, emissions, and battery energy needs. NREL used the data and FASTSim model to provide detailed operational performance requirements of electric buses operated within the context of the three locations and highlighted bus operations that are candidates for electrification. This will help inform future vehicle and infrastructure purchases in Mexico City and León.

      Foundations of an Electric Mobility Strategy for the City of Mexicali

      National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2020

      This report features an evaluation of Mexicali’s electric taxi fleet and strategies for overcoming early performance challenges. The taxi fleet was experiencing performance-related issues due to the high ambient temperature conditions, reporting decreased range, and charging inconvenience. NREL collected and analyzed travel and performance data from an existing EV within the taxi fleet to corroborate vehicle underperformance and provided operational strategies for realizing greater range of existing fleet

      Effectiveness of Electric Vehicle Policies and Implications for Pakistan

      National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2020

      This report explores evidence from several key countries regarding the impacts to EV market penetration from financial incentives, road access policies, EV mandates, fuel taxes, discounted electricity rates, charging infrastructure, and government investment in the domestic automotive industry. It reviews EV policies in countries that have demonstrated success deploying EVs or promoting local EV production, focusing on Norway, China, the United States, India, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

      Surat Municipal Corporation Bus Electrification Assessment

      National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2019

      In partnership with Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, NREL performed a bus electrification assessment for Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) in Surat, India. NREL did this by collecting data from SMC and installing GPS data loggers to track operation of the bus rapid transit system (BRTS). In analyzing the results, NREL modeled efficiency benefit of e-buses over diesel, battery longevity, and estimated range to provide guidance for fleet electrification. Ultimately, this led to the development of guidance for fleet electrification based on energy efficiency of e-buses, ESS capacity, and route requirements.

      Feasibility Analysis of Taxi Fleet Electrification using 4.9 Million Miles of Real-World Driving Data

      National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2019

      Ride hailing activity is rapidly increasing, largely due to the growth of transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft. However, traditional taxi companies continue to represent an important mobility option for travelers. Columbus Yellow Cab, a taxi company in Columbus, Ohio, offers traditional line-of-sight hailing as well as digital hailing through a mobile app. Data from Columbus Yellow Cab was provided to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to analyze the potential for taxi electrification. A variety of scenarios were evaluated using Columbus Yellow Cab data and the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Projection Tool (EVI-Pro) to understand challenges and opportunities associated with operating an electrified taxi fleet.

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