Paying for charging is one of the biggest challenges fleet managers will have to manage as they transition their fleets to EVs, just as paying for traditional fuel is one of their biggest challenges today.
The entire system of supply is different from what they are used to, as are the suppliers, meaning that a business with a fleet of vehicles will have to adapt to entirely new ways of paying.
There are a number of areas to consider and new processes to put in place when a business begins the transition to an electric fleet, and for companies that haven't modernized their fuel payment operations yet it's a great opportunity to get ahead of the pack and start saving on everyday expenses.
Public network costs
The costs for charging an EV can vary a lot depending on the prices of rapid, ultra-rapid charging and charging at home or at your company's own office or depot. For the very fastest charging the costs can be as much as 70 pence (86 cents) per kilowatt hours, while the price of electricity from a wall socket is currently capped at 0.34 pence per kWh.
Therefore, it's important to establish a balance of need versus cost. There is no point in topping off a 90 percent charged battery with an ultra-rapid public charger when it's twice as expensive than simply waiting to charge that vehicle at home. Likewise, if a driver has time during a lunch break then they can use slower and less expensive charging solutions on the road.
Charging also takes place in different places. With these varying conditions and a wide range of suppliers and costs, trying to understand the exact amount to reclaim can be difficult for drivers.
While all business mileage can be reclaimed at 8 pencec per mile by following UK's Advisory Electric Rate (AER), this is not always accurate, particularly when electricity prices are high, and especially when ultra-rapid charging is used. Drivers can be thousands of pounds out of pocket when accounting for the difference between what they spend and what they can be compensated.
An issue some drivers might encounter is ‘bill shock' for home charging. What we mean by this is that for the first few months their electricity bills might not noticeably change. This is due to the supplier not taking account at that point of the increased usage in its monthly bill.
Then, when it takes a reading, it revises the monthly charge based on the new, increased usage, which means the driver is suddenly confronted with a much bigger bill they might not have been expecting.
Combating the issue
For charging on a public network, electric charging cards make payments simple and easy. Similarly, for those fleets that need the ability for drivers to charge their vehicles at home for work purposes, then home charging solutions provide accurate payment for the costs of driver's EV charging at home.
What's more, bill shock is mitigated as the solution provider pays the bill every month direct to the drivers' energy supplier, right from the start of the EV use, based on smart tariffs.
The benefits for fleets by using the one provider for home and on the road charging means just that -- one supplier to meet all charging needs, receive one consolidated invoice for all charging, as well as access to running cost data and manage drivers and payments through the respective online portal.
Utilizing EV data
EVs can produce more data than their gasoline and diesel counterparts. And because of the nature of how electricity is produced and delivered you can account for every unit of electricity, its cost per kWh and where it was drawn.
It will be up to each fleet operator to choose what level of detail they want to access, not only for what is useful to their business, but also how much data is manageable, avoiding information overload.