Recharging your fleet and identifying methods of monitoring energy usage for each vehicle are important areas to manage when you switch your fleet to electric.
Basic principals still apply
Adding electric vehicles to a fleet can seem like moving outside your comfort zone. Yet, most of the basic principles for managing a combustion engine fleet still apply. Plus the vehicles and back office systems assist in tracking the data you need to oversee the fleet.
Keeping track of the fuel consumed across fleet vehicles has always been important. Moving to electric changes the fuel, but not the importance of tracking it. You will need to specify your energy monitoring solution when you buy the charge points. Consider that recharging will generally take place at work or at staff homes.
You will want to know:
- How much energy is being used and by which vehicle
- If the vehicle is plugged in and charging back at the depot
Energy meters in charge points
An energy meter in the charge point (preferably integrated) will report energy use to the charge point controller. Good quality meters should report accurate energy data. But if there are customer or resale transactions involved, it is best to use a Measurement Instrument Directive (MID) grade meter.
Publicly accessible charge points will almost always include energy metering. These should report the amount of energy used as part of your statement of transactions.
Monitoring single charge points
A single charge point for a single vehicle may not need communication and authentication functions. An energy meter connected to the charge point will allow you track the vehicle and ensure it is charged when it is supposed to be.
Monitoring multiple charge points
If you need to manage a number of charge points at different locations you may need a central charge point management system (CPMS).
Charge Point Management System
A back office system will help you harness data from charge points. The CPMS will perform a number of tasks including the following:
Charge point status
The charge point can transmit changes in status, including alarms. The management system can poll the charge station to check if it is still communicating.
Usage of the charge points
The charge point records and logs charging transactions on the CPMS in the form of a Charge Detail Record (CDR). This record contains the:
- Start and finish times of a charging event
- The unique identifier used to start the event
- The amount of energy consumed
As a fleet manager or energy manager, you can display or download the data you need. Reports can usually be configured according to date ranges, such as weekly, monthly, annually or from a specified start and finish date. An energy manager select a particular vehicle ID and report all energy used over a period. Then download a spreadsheet containing the required data.
Vehicle energy tracking
The next step is to ensure that energy is tracked according to the vehicle. The most common means of doing this is to associate an RFID (Radio-frequency identification) Tag or card with each vehicle. RFIDs can be in a card format or integrated into the vehicle's key ring fob.
The charge point must have an RFID reader integrated into the enclosure. RFID tags store a small packet of information, which includes a Unique Identifier (UID), which is read by the charge point. This identifies which vehicle is responsible for the energy consumed.
Public charge points
If a vehicle is recharged at a free charging public charge point you will be able to review your transactions through an account, or via individual transaction receipts. Depending on which charge point management system you choose, it may be possible to record all transactions via the same RFID and report all usage through one central point.