The EV journey

From the April 2024 print issues

Over the last several years, a growing number of organizations have embraced electric vehicles (EVs) as they look to operate a more sustainable fleet and reduce their carbon footprint.

Many of these early adopters have built a strong foundation for their electrification strategy – vehicle specifications, ordering parameters, charging solutions, and so on. Now, as their EV programs flourish and expand, they’re looking beyond these basic building blocks.

Today, many organizations are looking to further optimize their fleet electrification program to increase efficiency, reduce their administrative burden, and provide a better experience for their EV drivers. To that end, here’s a look at some potential areas of opportunity as you look to move past the basics of transitioning to EVs and prepare for the next phase of your electrification journey.


Jeremy Dewey is manager, fuel & energy, at Holman (Holman.com).

Charger installation and management
With more electric vehicles hitting the road each day, many organizations are providing access to charging stations at the workplace and installing chargers at their drivers’ homes. However, deploying charging stations across numerous locations typically requires significant planning and coordination as well as ongoing administration. If the next phase of your electrification strategy includes installing chargers at various corporate locations and drivers’ homes, you’ll likely want to partner with a service provider who can streamline the process.

Aligning with the right strategic partner can significantly reduce your administrative burden and allow you to scale your EV program much quicker. You’ll want to find a partner who can help you source reliable charging units, coordinate installation, and ensure charging session data is seamlessly integrated into your analytics platform. Visibility to performance is critical to monitoring and effectively managing your charging assets across numerous locations.

Public charging access
While at-home and depot charging solutions remain the preferred options, inevitably, there are going to be times when your drivers need to use a public charging station. In this scenario, you’ll want to make accessing public charging as easy as possible for your drivers.

Fortunately, there are innovative solutions that simplify this process, allowing your drivers to recharge and get back on the road quickly.
For most drivers, a mobile app is the preferred solution and there are several options that put all the resources they need right in the palm of their hands. A mobile app solution for public charging allows drivers to quickly find a charging station and receive turn-by-turn navigation if needed. Some mobile apps also allow the driver to process payment directly from the app, eliminating out-of-pocket expenses.

This payment method can also capture important vehicle and charging data to measure operating costs with greater accuracy.
These intuitive mobile app solutions provide an easy and convenient way to access public charging, eliminating potential range anxiety while also simplifying payment to improve the EV driver experience.

Driver reimbursement
In most scenarios, at-home charging is the preferred method for charging the light-duty vehicles that drivers take home at the end of their shifts. When a driver is charging their company vehicle at their home, the expectation is that they’ll be reimbursed for the electricity used. However, the process of measuring charging sessions, validating energy consumption, determining the proper reimbursement rate, and processing payment to the driver comes with a substantial administrative burden.

If you’re electrification strategy includes a significant number of drivers charging company vehicles at their home, you’ll need a plan to simplify this cumbersome process. Often, a strategic partner can streamline the reimbursement process to virtually eliminate your administrative burden.

Using at-home smart chargers and EV connectivity data, your partner can capture all the information necessary to begin the reimbursement process. This information (once validated to mitigate potential fraud), along with electricity rate data, is used to calculate the reimbursement rate. From there, you typically have the option to reimburse the driver directly or integrate the data with your expense management system.

These solutions allow you to easily monitor at-home energy consumption and ensure drivers receive payment in a timely manner while also significantly reducing your administrative responsibility.

EV connectivity
Vehicle performance data continues to be the foundation upon which all successful fleet management strategies are built. However, as you add EVs to your fleet mix, there is a growing gap of information for these units as certain data points are no longer captured during the lifecycle of a typical EV. For example, since EVs don’t refuel with a traditional fuel card, odometer information is collected far less frequently. Similarly, without the need for regular services such as oil changes, EVs may go extended periods without a maintenance visit where this data is collected.

To fill this critical data gap and gather the information you need to manage your EV fleet effectively, you’ll need to leverage telematics to collect performance data. Through a comprehensive EV connectivity program, you can easily capture key EV attributes such as location, odometer reading, charging session data, state of charge, and so on. You can also opt to do so with or without monitoring driver behaviour.
With this data aggregated with the rest of your fleet’s operating data, you’ll have visibility to vehicle performance, allowing you to make informed decisions to optimize your EV strategy.

Driver training
While you continue to embrace electric vehicles, the reality is that most fleet drivers are unfamiliar with the intricacies of EVs. Whether it is knowing how to properly charge an EV or how to maximize range, many drivers experience a learning curve when transitioning to an electric vehicle. With that in mind, you’ll want to provide your drivers proper training to educate them on the nuances of operating an EV.

A few key training topics include EV safety, techniques to maximize range, and how to properly charge an EV (whether that’s at home, at a depot location, or at a public charging station). A comprehensive training program ensures your drivers know how to handle a variety of scenarios associated with driving an electric vehicle to deliver a positive driving experience.

While this next phase of fleet electrification may seem intimidating, remember, you don’t have to navigate this road alone. There are a variety of partners and resources available to help you take the next step of your electrification journey. With the right strategic partner, you can streamline charger deployment and management, enhance the driver experience, and assess performance data to continue to optimize your strategy.