Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

Ready or not, the EV revolution is here, and fleet owners and operators are feeling the ever-increasing pressure to accelerate their electrification strategy or risk being left in the slow lane. It’s no secret the familiar landscape of traditional vehicle management has been replaced by the urgent need to navigate multiple complexities of electrification, including establishing robust charging infrastructure, procuring power, and optimizing service routes. Amidst the challenges, upfitting emerges as a critical puzzle piece, shaping the efficiency, safety, and payload capacity of electric vehicles in ways many may not realize. 

Maximizing Potential: Vehicle Upfitting Boosts Performance and Functionality

When acquiring new fleet vehicles, especially work cargo vans, upfitting is an essential step in the process to ensure technicians’ needs are met across a variety of industries and trades, including HVAC, plumbing, electric, construction, and more. Not only does upfitting improve safety, organization, efficiency and productivity, it also creates a comfortable and professional work space, which can go a long way in terms of improved employee retention rates and overall job satisfaction.

EVs Are Changing the Upfitting Game

Shelving, flooring and organizational accessories are core upfit components for any cargo van, but unlike ICE vehicles, EVs pose unique design challenges, such as optimizing payload for improved range, in addition to ensuring safety during the installation process. These factors add a new layer of unique upfitting considerations for fleet managers to navigate.

Luckily, industry-leading upfitter, Ranger Design, is helping to take the guesswork out of EV cargo van customization.

“With over three decades of dedicated engineering and design expertise, the Ranger Design team is revolutionizing upfitting solutions for EVs. It’s exciting to see how our innovations are making a real impact in the industry. We are improving the efficiency, productivity, and safety of vehicles, helping fleet managers streamline the EV upfitting process and elevating the day-to-day job satisfaction for technicians on the road,” said Nacim Mesbah, director, commercial programs at Ranger Design. “EVs are the future, and we are ready to meet the needs of this growing, ever-evolving market.

Ranger Design Sets the Standard for EV Upfitting Innovation

As the EV revolution takes hold, Ranger Design is setting a new standard for upfitting excellence with its groundbreaking innovations. Its upfit solutions are delivering big benefits for the EV fleet market, including optimized efficiency, improved safety and easier and faster installation. Unlike ICE vehicles, electric cargo vans typically have batteries located under the body of the vehicle. While this configuration helps maintain the same cargo capacity as a non-electric model, it can make floor installation challenging — and risky. To eliminate the potential for battery damage during installation, Ranger eliminated the guesswork of where to drill with an innovative drill-free flooring solution.

“Ranger’s engineering team developed drill-free flooring to provide a superior alternative to traditional, more invasive flooring options. Our flooring decreases the risk of battery damage during install while also prioritizing the safety of installers,” added Mesbah. “What’s really exciting is that our drill-free flooring cuts installation time by 50-60%, which is very important to fleet managers who need to get their vehicles out on the road as fast as possible.”

Ranger Design also offers drill-free mounting tracks for van walls. Its drill-free upfitting solutions are especially beneficial for fleets that are leased, improving ease of reselling with no drill holes or installation damage to repair. 

Image Courtesy of Tim Chin

Image Courtesy of Tim Chin

Beyond drill-free solutions, Ranger is breaking the upfitting mold by switching from steel to lighter-weight aluminum components. Shifting to aluminum is a game changer when it comes to optimizing payload and vehicle safety. An unloaded electric van typically weighs slightly more than an unloaded combustion engine van due to the weight and presence of battery packs. However, switching from steel to aluminum saves approximately 33% of weight.

Maximizing van payload helps optimize productivity and EV range. It also helps reduce vehicle maintenance and repairs caused by weight overload. Most importantly, decreasing overall van mass helps to ensure safety. Exceeding recommended weight can place strain on the van’s suspension and frame, affect braking distances, and be disastrous in the event of an accident or collision.

In addition to aluminum, Ranger Design is exploring other innovative, lightweight materials, such as carbon fiber, often used in the aerospace industry. 

The Art of Innovative Upfitting: More than Just Shelving and Flooring

When selecting an upfitter for your EV fleet, it is critical to partner with experts that are committed to improving the experience, job satisfaction, and productivity for crews day in and day out. Partnering with an upfitter that takes the time to gain a deep understanding of how a vehicle will be used is paramount, especially when it comes to ensuring ROI. For instance, Ranger Design develops its customized designs through an in-depth process which includes on-site analysis and ride-alongs with technicians to identify everyday needs and challenges. From there, a prototype solution is developed and tested, followed by scalable production, and timely delivery and installation to get fleets up and running as fast as possible.

At the end of the day, upfitting EV fleets is more than simply installing flooring and shelving. It requires precision, creativity, and attention to detail — and when upfitting is executed with mastery and innovation in mind, it can open up new doors to heightened productivity, efficiency, and overall success.

"We are embracing the exciting future of innovation in EVs, and the Ranger team is leading the way with best-in-class, customized upfitting solutions for fleets,” Mesbah said. “Our team takes pride in our commitment to efficiency, ensuring that our upfitting products meet the evolving needs of fleets. Whether for ICE or EV vehicles, Ranger’s dedication to delivering thoughtful, state-of-the-art solutions ensures optimized safety and productivity, paving the way for a thrilling journey ahead.

To learn more about Upfitting with Ranger Design call (800) 565-5321 or submit an online request.