From the chargers you’ll need to determining which types of vehicles will fit your fleet best, there’s a lot to think about before making the transition. - Photo: Unsplash/CHUTTERSNAP

From the chargers you’ll need to determining which types of vehicles will fit your fleet best, there’s a lot to think about before making the transition.

Photo: Unsplash/CHUTTERSNAP

During a webinar titled "How to Deploy Electric Work Trucks in Your Fleet" hosted by Advanced Clean Tech News, representatives from Ford, SoCalGas, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric, and San Diego Gas and Electric discussed steps work truck fleets can take to better understand what is required to affordably and effectively transition to EVs.

Know Your Chargers

Andrew Papson, eMobility Advisor Transportation Electrification for Southern California Edison, stated Class 2 and 3 vehicles, which were the main focus of the webinar, are a good fit for electrification because they typically require reduced upfront costs, return to base frequently for operations, and are now seeing more EV options come to market.

“We're just now seeing products come to market in the light-duty truck segment. In the past six months, we've seen announcements from Ford on their F-150 and Transit van, an EV Chevrolet Silverado, and a whole variety of other startup companies,” Papson said.

There are a few choices a fleet can select from when making a plan to charge their fleets:

AC Level 2 Chargers - The most pervasive type on the market. This is the common charger you see at homes, malls, and workplaces that are a good option for long-dwell overnight charging and are the most economical choice in equipment cost, the infrastructure required, and ongoing electricity costs.

Standalone DC Fast Chargers – A common example would be what you see at Tesla Supercharger stations. There are a variety of models available at different power levels, all the way from 25 kW up to 200 kW or even higher. These can charge an EV in two hours or much less but aren’t cheap. They can cost more than 10 times what an AC Level 2 charger does, and even more depending on how high the power level is.

Modular DC Chargers - A large central power cabinet with all the electronics feeding multiple dispensers. If you need four or more DC charge ports, then modular chargers can be a good choice.

Papson said for customers with fleets that operate in one or two shifts with overnight charging, a “sweet spot strategy” is to rely primarily on AC Level Two charging with one charger per vehicle, then install one or two DC chargers for topping off during the day.

“This is a good mix of affordability while giving you the charging you need,” he explained.

Class 2 and 3 vehicles are a good fit for electrification because they typically require reduced upfront costs, return to base frequently for operations, and are now seeing more EV options come to market. - Photo: Unsplash/Possessed Photography

Class 2 and 3 vehicles are a good fit for electrification because they typically require reduced upfront costs, return to base frequently for operations, and are now seeing more EV options come to market.

Photo: Unsplash/Possessed Photography

Understand Your Utilization Habits

Michael Franco, fleet financial and systems manager for SoCalGas, shared his company’s progress on its journey to run a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2035. SoCalGas has 52 operating bases located throughout Southern California, from the San Diego border up into Central California. The service territory is diverse, covering deserts, mountain ranges, cities, and rural areas.

“There's a tremendous amount of load ranges on our vehicles. The zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) we're going to be adopting into our fleet must be able to meet our service territory demands,” he explained.

SoCal Gas has 48 operating garages throughout its service territory where it maintains and services its over-the-road vehicles as well as equipment and trailers. It’s been focused on alternative fuels and 30% of its current fleet vehicles are operated on renewable natural gas.

“We will continue to use renewable natural gas as a bridge fuel as the medium-duty truck and the heavy-duty truck market continues to evolve and provides new options for ZEVs,” he explained.

Because SoCalGas’ vehicles duty cycles vary greatly from location to location, Franco said it’s important to factor that into the company’s ZEV plan.

“I can look at our location in Blithe where on average our employees are driving 75 to 100 miles just to get to their first customer, and then I could look at Santa Monica where they could drive a block and reach 10, 15, or 20,” he said.

“Our ZEVs must be able to match the capabilities of our existing fleet, road conditions, and service territory. We are currently gathering data on these factors as we start to set up a replacement plan to purchase both electric and hydrogen vehicles. Being a utility provider, the fleet must be able to respond to emergencies 24/7,” he explained.

Franco said planning for SoCalGas’ fleet future includes working closely with its sister utilities as it builds out its electric vehicle infrastructure. The earlier the transition starts, the more time the company will have to prepare for changes brought about by ZEVs. In addition to this, the company will be working closely with its employees as the new fleet comes online to train and help them understand the new technologies that are in place.

More on EV Fleet Programs

Andrew Papson, eMobility advisor transportation electrification for Southern California Edison, along with Tim O'Neill, EV fleet customer onboarding specialist for Pacific Gas & Electric, and Lianna Rios, clean transportation customer solutions manager for San Diego Gas & Electric, discussed their respective company’s EV fleet programs.

More information on all three programs can be found here:

Southern California Edison

Pacific Gas & Electric

San Diego Gas & Electric

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