According to the JD Power Electric Vehicle Experience Public Charging StudySM, “Nationally, one out of five visits to a public charging station resulted in ‘no charge’.” Brent Gruber, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power said, “Public charging continues to provide challenges to overall EV adoption and current EV owners alike”.
It is true - public charging issues are ubiquitous. Sometimes the station is inoperable, the chargers don’t work or the charging cords are not long enough. Public charging is in its infancy, and it should not be relied upon as a primary source for charging. However, the charging infrastructure is expanding and improving daily and the benefits of choosing an EV far outweigh these hiccups.
And there is good news. According to fuelsinstitute.org, “EV drivers tend to recharge daily or once every two days, typically overnight at home, and overall, about 70-80% of charging occurs at home or at a workplace parking lot”. Based on this information, we have the following recommendations for fleets with EVs.
Make sure your drivers have access to charging where the vehicle sleeps which could be at home or at a depot. For EVs that go home with a driver, the vehicle should be charged overnight, which is generally when the lowest energy rates are available. For EVs that are left at a branch location, vehicles should start their day with a full charge to achieve maximum range. The timing of the charging will vary in this scenario, depending on available charging stations, capacity, and vehicle schedules.
Ensure that your fleet policy is written in a way that drivers have ultimate flexibility being certain that your drivers have access to use whatever charging station they need. For example, some programs cover multiple networks but not all charging networks. If your driver needs to use a charger outside of network, make sure it is clear it is permissible and detail how they can do it. Corporate cards or personal credit cards seem like popular options. Gasoline and diesel fuel policies today have similar contingencies – you never want a driver stranded. It’s just invoked very infrequently due to the prevalence of gas fueling stations.
Prepare and Plan
If a driver has to go on a trip that exceeds the range of the vehicle, make sure they prepare and plan. For example, your driver should book a hotel that has charging facilities. They should plan lunch meetings at a restaurant close to an accessible charger. Finally, drivers can use the EV community apps and check notes about the specific chargers they plan to use to see if other drivers give pointers or advice about the specific charging locations.
Everyone runs into similar challenges with our public charging infrastructure but there is hope on the horizon. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated $7.5 billion for more than half a million more public charging stations. And we will need them. Electrified vehicles are here to stay with the overall market share of BEVs and PHEVs increasing from 7.8% in the first quarter of 2021 to 12.6% in the second quarter of 2022.
Please reach out to a member of your Wheels Donlen account team with any questions you might have about introducing EVs into your fleet. Our EV Readiness Assessment Tools will help ensure the right fit and implementation strategy.