What Are the Benefits of On-Site vs At-Home Charging?
Each fleet has completely unique needs, roles and policies that affect day-to-day operations. These different characteristics can have major influence on the decisions made when it comes to fleet electrification. For example, fleets with take-home vehicle policies will have to plan for charging infrastructure and strategy on a case-by-case basis with employees.
On the other hand, fleets that currently keep vehicles in a central location overnight might consider implementing take-home policies if the benefits of at-home charging seem better suited for their fleet. Regardless, there are pros, cons and general considerations for either option, from infrastructure installation to electricity costs to charging schedules.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of charging at either location.
Fleets looking to keep their vehicles stationed at a fleet yard or garage have a few different options for on-site charging. Depending on the level of chargers wanted and the quantity, infrastructure installation can be a costly endeavor. Still, there are many benefits to having charging stations installed right on the premises.
Having access to all vehicles in one location can be very beneficial for a fleet manager. This makes it easier to make last-minute changes if a vehicle is out of service and another vehicle is needed to fill its role. Depending on charging strategy as well, it could be useful for managers to have access to all vehicles at once in order to know which vehicles are fully charged and available for use at any given time. Depending on the charging software, charging can also be easily managed and tracked all in one place, giving managers a real-time look at the state of charge across their fleet.
Having infrastructure installed on-site also makes things easier when it comes to receiving regular maintenance. Many infrastructure manufacturers offer ongoing maintenance and management once equipment is deployed. With EVSE being a high-cost and long-term investment, many managers may prefer to keep it on company grounds. On-site EVSE installation ensures a seamless maintenance routine for fleets and the ability to closely monitor the state of equipment over time.
Autonomy over energy
For fleets looking to maximize the effect of going electric and plan for the long run, keeping charging on-site allows the opportunity to power charging infrastructure with renewable energy. Solar panels are a great way to generate supplemental energy for charging which helps to reduce a fleet’s overall greenhouse gas emissions and electricity costs. For fleets looking to go a step further, creating a microgrid is a worthwhile investment. This alleviates the strain on the local grid from the sudden increase in energy demand while giving fleets autonomy over their power supply.
Installing EVSE directly at drivers’ homes is another route that managers may choose to take. There are many advantages to this option, though it requires more planning in order to effectively assess the compatibility at each individual residence. The matter of reimbursing employees for electricity consumption at home is an additional concern for managers to keep in mind. Nonetheless, giving drivers access to their own EV charging equipment can have many benefits overall.
When being charged at home, EVs typically use level 1 or 2 charging plugs to fuel up. These chargers are the simplest for fleets to employ, as they require little to no extensive installation. Most EVs come with their own level 1 charger which connects directly to the standard 120V outlets found at home. Some fleets may opt for level 2 chargers at home for a quicker charge. While not as simple as level 1, these plugs just require the quick installation of a 240V outlet by an electrician.
In addition to being the easiest to install, at-home charging equipment is the least expensive by a mile. Without the need for intensive construction and electric reconfiguration, at-home charging typically costs fleets just a couple thousand dollars at most. Additionally, employees charging at home overnight can take advantage of cheaper off-peak hours to charge their vehicles in the most cost-effective way possible. Some infrastructure manufacturers even include the ability to set charging times only for off-peak hours in their EVSE technology.
Ultimately, it is up to fleet managers to decide the charging strategy that works best for their fleet. Infrastructure manufacturers tend to offer consulting services that allow fleets to scale their EVSE over time as their electric fleet grows. Many fleets can also opt for a blended strategy of both at-home and on-site charging options for different vehicles. Regardless, the key is to understand how much time infrastructure installation can take and creating a solid strategy ahead of receiving your electric vehicles. Managers can take advantage of the current delay in EV availability to ensure that strategy and infrastructure are ready to go upon arrival.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Utilimarc can help you make the most of your EV performance and charging data, schedule a live demo with our analytics team.