Reducing cost and easing the transition for fleet drivers to e-charge at home
Alongside a federal government target of all new vehicle sales to be 100% zero emission by 2040, fleets in Canada are increasingly eager to reduce costs by adapting to electric vehicles (EVs).
Major incentives for fleets include reduced fuel costs, lower insurance rates, and reduced maintenance costs.
However, major challenges to EV adoption include price, range and e-charging availability, with the perceived barrier of e-charging posing a particular problem to fleets.
Those fleet concerns include:
- Expensive public charging
- Employee reluctance to charge at home because of the possible extra costs they may have to carry before claiming back from the company.
- Accountancy departments wariness of home e-charging solutions because of possibly complicated energy expense claims and audit compliance.
While federal and local provincial incentives help combat the challenges, private companies are also doing their best to ease the problem of fleet e-charging. One such company is UK-based Mina Energy (Mina), co-founded by Chris Dalrymple and Ashley Tate.
CAF talked with Ashley Tate about the challenges, and the company's solution.
Ashley says that while the majority of fleets are expecting to order EVs in 2020, the issue of EV running costs can seem complicated, but they don't need to be.
"Our mission is to make charging electric vehicles radically simple for everyone," he says. "We know that home e-charging is cheapest and greenest, compared to public charging. And EVs are cheaper than vehicles running on petrol (gas)."
He adds that Mina's products were created in the hope of "creating clarity in the noise", and reducing the confusion around home and/or public e-charging.
“We know that people are confused about public charging, home charging and the real renege of EVs,” Ashley adds.
Mina's fleet solution
Charging an EV can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 12+ hours, depending on the vehicle's battery size and the charging point speed.
As Ashley notes: "A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty-to-full with a 7kW charging point. The bigger your car’s battery and the slower the charging point, the longer it takes to charge from empty to full."
Mina Energy's system includes the following:
- Fleets are charged at the lowest cost, using greenest energy, which means it's
easy to generate ﬂeet carbon-saving data.
- Fleet managers have a single invoice to pay for energy used, with no expense claims to process.
- Employees don’t pay for the energy used to charge the vehicle.
- Employees keep their home energy supplier.
"Mina manages the e-charging process," says Ashley. "We install a Mina-controlled charging point in the fleet driver's home, and the driver plugs in at night for the lowest tariff cost. Then we pay the driver’s energy company directly for the EV-charge costs, and the employer gets one monthly invoice for all the home EV-charging costs."He adds that an EV charge point is basically like a normal plug socket, but it can handle a higher voltage.
Mina provides fleets with radio-frequency identification (RFID) key fobs and cards that drivers use at public e-charging locations.
Ashley says: "The keyring means there's no need for registration at the charge point. Drivers simply tap the RFID keyring and plug in."
He adds that public e-charging costs are billed alongside home e-charging each month. The key fob/card can be also be dual- or fully branded.
Fleet management dashboard
The Mina dashboard, which is hardware agnostic, means fleets can:
- Access all the charging costs and invoices in one place
- Pay for public charging costs in the same invoice
- Drill down into an individual driver's charging behavior, to track cost, carbon intensity and kWh.
- Access easy-to-use cost and kWh reports at fleet and individual level
- View and pay one single energy invoice – no expenses to manage
- Export carbon footprint reporting, including ICE vehicle emissions
- Access both home- and public-charging data
To reassure fleet drivers, Mina's driver dashboard lets them:
- Access an overview of their energy usage, cost and carbon impact
- Submit personal and business mileage easily
- Manage and update home energy tariff details
- See when the EV home energy bill has been paid
Ashley explains that drivers don't have to worry about claiming expenses for the electric used at their house by an EV, as they all they need do is enter their personal and business miles into the dashboard at the end of the month. He adds that data tracking depends on permission being granted by the fleet driver.
As Ashley says, with new legislation in place, the time is coming to switch to EV home charging, and fleets can find solutions that minimise concerns about expense claims and vehicle use. He adds that Mina Energy plans to expand its services out of the UK.