Zero Emission Buses – a framework for a successful transition

There is about to be a huge amount of money spent on transitioning the nation’s bus fleet to zero emissions. The looming question is how to spend this money most productively, and in a way that does not create stranded assets or waste.

There is a large amount of dynamism in the zero emission bus technology space, not to mention the supply chain for either electricity or hydrogen. The capabilities of vehicles are changing, along with supporting infrastructure all the while fleet owners are being asked to put in a submission that may lock them into long term decisions prematurely.

These decisions include:

  • When and how fast should I transition to zero emission buses?  
  • Should I go hydrogen or electric?
  • Should I go for a pantograph or plug-in?
  • Should I build an electrolyzer or do I truck in hydrogen supply? 
  • How do I most effectively apply for grants?
  • Can I collaborate with other fleets in the area to share infrastructure?
  • Should I do one depot all at once or upgrade depots incrementally over time?
  • How will my operations be impacted if I transition to zero emission?
  • What standards should I impose for vehicles, chargers, energy management and telematics?
  • How much training will my staff require and what sort of training?

The question is: how to make all these decisions in the most sustainable way, during a time of great pressure to make a move quickly in many organizations? 

For the past several years, transit agencies have approached this in a combination of four ways:

  1. Vendor driven engagements to pilots (for example with zero emission bus suppliers)
  2. Creating transition plans either in-house or with outside consultants
  3. Looking at the experiences of industry peers to make decisions
  4. Delaying decisions until things are clearer in terms of technology maturity 

All of these pathways are valid,  but as we move into the scale-up phase, the zero emission transportation experts at Evenergi have found that that the most important elements that contribute to success are:

  1. Creating a framework for managing long term changes rather than just point in time plans
  2. Establishing organizational alignment with an understanding that it will be an agile journey
  3. Avoiding ‘lock-in’ decisions as much as possible early in the journey to enable this agility
  4. Capturing valuable data at each step to be used at every other step in the transition

We are constantly talking about the need to create a framework rather than a series of point-in-time plans. This relates to a data driven and iterative process where there is an acknowledgement that with the rate of technology change in the battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric space, a plan is likely outdated the day after it is written. 

The framework has many parts, but these can be summarized as financial, operational, infrastructure changes on depots and then regional influences. We then look at how these areas are impacted through the lifecycle of planning, implementation and management of the transition. 

Planning phaseImplementation (pilot)Implementation (scale-up)Management
Financial frameworkGap analysis – Total cost of ownership and capital vs operationalAnalysis of RFQs against dataFinal long term decisions Monitoring data to feed back into planning and to optimize operations
Operational – transit operations frameworkBuses meeting their service assignments 

Depot locations

Interlining linkages

Collective bargaining agreement implications 

On-time performance vs on-route charging 

Depot emulation – can buses fit within dispatch given different depot designs?

Can ‘fueling’ be sufficiently completed considering pull-out/pull-in schedules and service profile? 
Managing multiple propulsion types until fleet is fully transitioned
Optimized dispatch

Optimal driver use
Operations – energy infrastructure frameworkWhat is the right charging design

Early information from utilities around capacity 

Optimization to minimize capacity requirements

Balance of distributed energy resources on-site
Refueling/charging specification  and selection and installation

Energy management alternatives
Refueling/charging specification  and selection and installation

Potentially larger upgrades
Proactive energy management vs operational limitations

Microgrid management on-site

Potential integration with dispatch systems
Regional frameworkRegional energy infrastructure collaborations

Regional fleet collaborations
Agreement on supply chains

Agreement on access to shared refueling infrastructure
Potential to share energy infrastructure with third-party usersPotential to coordinate infrastructure access

At the bedrock of each step in this journey there needs to be a decision making framework based on robust data and strong analytics.

The next generation of planning framework requires a new types of data and analytics platform that should have a number of key components including:

RequirementBenefit
Enable detailed route analysisDetailed data increases accuracy and reduces costly mistakes 
Looks at all fuel types (including mix fleets) and all, charging types (if it is electric)Reduce total cost ownership
Integrated into scheduling systemsIncrease accuracy reduces mistakes and lowers ongoing consulting fees
Model depot impact Ensures that unforeseen depot infrastructure costs are minimized
Model dispatch – particular once sub-fleeting is no longer an optionEnsure that costly operational errors are minimized
Interlining between depots and even between different fleet ownersMaximize opportunities for cost sharing and new revenue streams
Rapid iterations of scenarios and sensitivitiesMinimize on-going consulting costs
Single set of data across entire journeyMaximize leverage of data and iterate learnings
Tools independent of any one consulting firm Minimize rework as you go through different partners on the journey
Ensure that outputs from planning (such as charging profiles) can be operationalisedEnsure that plans can be executed to maximize savings
Make sure that data captured from telematics can feed back into planningReduce total cost of ownership through learning

This is an exciting and challenging time for many fleet owners, but many of the questions stated at the start of this article can be answered with tools that exist today, with the power being placed in the hands of the long term operators of the buses and infrastructure.

Are Zero-Emission Buses the ‘Netflix Moment’ for the Transit Industry?

Transit Dispatches  • March 16, 2022 • by Sasha Pejcic and Daniel Hilson •

https://www.metro-magazine.com/10163436/are-zero-emission-buses-the-netflix-moment-for-the-transit-industry

Anyone who is honest from the zero-emissions vehicle industry will tell you that we are still at the DVD moment in this industry and that the ultimate “streaming service” is yet to come.

Netflix emerged in 1997 as a mail-order DVD business. Shipping DVDs by mail came with some growing pains, but ultimately did get traction by 2001, when DVDs became more popular than VHS. Just as they were gaining traction with this model, along came streaming videos — they disrupted their own model to become the world’s leader in this service, and ultimately, reached a new level of success.

Reed Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, is famed for saying a start-up is like “throwing yourself off a cliff and building the plane on the way down.” For many in the transit industry, this is likely the way they are feeling about the urgent transition to zero emission bus technology.

Undoubtedly, this is a fast-evolving area of technology and part of a complex overall system that is constantly evolving based on new technologies and greater data availability. What’s more, the industry is simultaneously grappling with disruptions due to COVID.

So, the question to ask is: Are we at the DVD moment or the streaming moment? Will the solutions implemented today inhibit or enhance the potential changes coming our way in the future?

In an environment of uncertainty, what matters more than a technology decision is the framework and philosophy that transit agencies adopt when going on this journey.

In an environment of uncertainty, what matters more than a technology decision is the framework and philosophy that transit agencies adopt when going on this journey. Some key principles to observe along the way are:

  1. Develop a long-term framework for iterative, agile, and incremental build/learn/test cycles.
  2. Develop a related framework that can create stakeholder alignment, and where failures are viewed as a necessary part of the journey.
  3. Track technology developments carefully, and don’t believe those with vested interests in selling you a product.
  4. Learn from your peers. One of the most positive aspects of the transit industry is that we all share information for our mutual betterment. Consider where your transit agency is in the evolution of its zero-emission transition journey and whether it is the right time to make permanent decisions now which are difficult to reverse, or whether it is more advantageous to leave your options open for an eventual inflection point.
  5. Track standards developments and push for standardization across industry.
  6. Keep your options open. Where possible, buy technology that enables flexibility. A good example is having buses outfitted for both pantograph and plug-in charging. In some jurisdictions, we are also seeing crossovers of technology such as outfitting hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses with plug-in charger ports that enable transit agencies to top-up battery packs on those vehicles differently.
  7. Don’t lose sight of the underlying core function of transit — providing vital mobility that connects people with jobs, food, healthcare, and social functions. The choice of zero emission bus propulsion technologies is important but continues to quickly evolve. Our industry needs to remain agile to be able to pivot as developments continue.

Anyone who is honest from the zero-emissions vehicle industry will tell you that we are still at the DVD moment in this industry and that the ultimate “streaming service” is yet to come. It is, however, an exciting thought that should motivate — not prevent people from adopting the technology — but just ensure that they do so in a way that does not leave them as the Blockbuster of the industry.

Daniel Hilson is the Global CEO and Founder of Evenergi and Sasha Pejcic is its Managing Partner for North America.

Zero Emissions Bus Planning – How do we get it right?

10 Top Tips for a Successful Transition

Since the US Government’s commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, transit agencies across North America are focusing on the adoption of zero emissions technology for their fleets.

While this is a must-have for the transportation industry, planning a zero emissions bus network can bring new challenges. A zero emissions fleet requires a shift in procurement, planning, operations and maintenance..

How do we overcome these barriers so that we can reduce the risk and increase financial and environmental benefits?

At Evenergi, 100% of our focus is on the zero emissions transport market. Using our experience with hundreds of clients globally, we’ve identified the following steps for a successful transition.

  1. Approach with a clear mind, without prejudice: The more transitions we’ve done, the more we see that individual context drives different outcomes. Try to stay away from perceived accepted approaches. This is still a new area and individual context in terms of barriers and opportunities matter
  2. Approach your transition systematically: Charging, scheduling, battery-sizing and impact on labor require a systems approach. Each can impact on the other –  charging can impact battery life for example. 
  3. Iterate towards solutions: There are many interdependencies, so be iterative in your approach. 
  4. Data is power: The quality of the transition will relate to the quality of data analytics.
  5. Stakeholder buy-in: Organizational alignment is key in this transition. Work with suppliers who can create a shared understanding, using robust and bankable data. Route level models provide confidence to decision makers and depot emulation provides confidence to operations teams.
  6. Establish protocols and standards before procurement: Focus on being vendor agnostic but understand and demand standards compliance.
  7. Re-evaluate procurement strategies: There are multiple ways to approach procurement, i.e. purchasing assets, financial leasing and operating leases. Find a strategy that works for you.
  8. Measure what you manage: Measurement is critical for continual improvement,  but also for funding mechanisms such as Low Carbon Fuel Standards credits. 
  9. Move from plans to frameworks: Adopt a framework model that allows you to keep the transition updated and current each year. Capture learnings and integrate them into the plan.
  10. Seize grant and funding opportunities: Familiarize yourself with grant opportunities to fuel your transition – there are plenty out there!

There’s a right and wrong way to approach these transitions. The wrong way will leave you with reports that are quickly out of date, oversized infrastructure and high-risk decisions that cost time and money. The right approach will ensure you have a framework that provides you with the agility and intelligence required to make good decisions, and operational insights to allow you to refine the strategy as you move forward. 

Evenergi’s BetterFleet has been designed to provide a best-practice framework for transitioning and managing zero emission fleets. It delivers a cost effective, fast and simple approach that sets you off on the right path, providing powerful decision making tools for your team and consulting partners.

ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle)

The term ultra low emissions vehicle—or ULEV—is a designation given to any road vehicle that emits less than 75g of CO2 per kilometre. This can be achieved using various technologies. A growing number of new cars are designed to meet ULEV emission standards. Examples include:

  • Fully electric vehicles
  • Hybrid electric vehicles
  • Range-extended electric vehicles
  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEV)

ULEV is one of several low carbon solutions. Related vehicle classes include super ultra low emissions vehicles (SULEV) and partial zero emissions vehicles (PZEV). Specific emission standards vary by country, but each of the forementioned categories is focused on minimising tailpipe emissions to help protect the environment.

Zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs), true to their name, do not emit any CO2 at all.

Most ULEVs are either battery powered or hydrogen fueled. Battery powered vehicles must be recharged on a regular basis, necessitating a well-planned charging infrastructure. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can be refueled at dedicated hydrogen filling stations.

Many governments today promote the adoption of ULEVs as a means of combating climate change. Increasingly, this takes the form of government grants, tax breaks, and other financial incentives.

At Evenergi, we specialise in helping clients transition to a low emissions vehicle fleet in a way that is timely, sustainable, and cost-effective. Doing it right involves detailed planning based on accurate, data-driven information.

Our BetterFleet and GridFleet software platforms are designed to simplify a complex process that normally entails significant levels of uncertainty and risk. In doing so, they empower you to fulfill the massive financial and environmental upside of your ULEV migration.

Key questions to consider while planning your transition involve:

  • Vehicle replacement
  • Energy infrastructure requirements
  • Individual vehicle optimisation
  • Emissions accounting and forecasting
  • Battery management
  • Annual budgeting
  • Future network demand

Evenergi will help clarify all of that and more by converting bulk data into actionable insights, which we then use to hammer out a long term framework suited to your specific needs. All with a view to realizing an optimised and manageable ULEV fleet for your organisation.

ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicles)

ZEV stands for zero emissions vehicle. It is an increasingly popular solution for organisations looking to transition to a better, greener, and more sustainable fleet of vehicles. Evenergi will help you avoid common pitfalls as you undertake your migration to an optimised ZEV fleet.

As the name indicates, zero emissions vehicles do not release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Whereas internal combustion engine vehicles run on petroleum fuels, zero emissions vehicles use clean, renewable energy sources. They do not have a harmful effect on air quality or the environment at large.

ZEVs come in two principal forms, namely electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs).

In the case of EVs, the vehicles are battery powered and run on a charge/discharge cycle. On the other hand, FCEVs rely on fuel cell technology which converts hydrogen fuel into electricity. They do not require recharging.

Given how much the global transport sector contributes to greenhouse gas emissions at present, transitioning to a ZEV fleet is a vitally important action against climate change. Evenergi has a proven track record of success when it comes to facilitating a smooth, efficient, and economic ZEV migration.

Numerous variables must be examined when choosing a ZEV fleet. No two clients are alike; each has a unique set of requirements that impact the decision making process. We streamline that process for you by delivering customised, data driven information that is both sophisticated and easy to understand and implement.

In helping you assemble a comprehensive framework for your ZEV transition, Evenergi will perform detailed analyses of key aspects of your organisation as well as your operational environment. These include vehicle technology, energy infrastructure, fleet policies, staff engagement, electricity markets, and more.

The consequent insights allow you to make informed decisions regarding the selection, procurement, optimisation, and long-term management of a ZEV fleet.

Electric Vehicle Monitoring

When discussing electric vehicles—particularly electric buses, trucks, and other transport vehicles—the importance of reliable data cannot be overstated. It informs every major decision you make, from procurement and adoption to integration and long term fleet management.

At Evenergi, we specialise in gathering complex data sets and converting them into accurate insights that can be applied to your zero emissions project with confidence.

Electric vehicle monitoring is a big part of that. You could say it’s the cornerstone of a successful fleet management strategy. An effective electric vehicle monitoring system works by compiling, processing, and translating critical data in real time. This enables early detection and diagnosis, as well as accurate prognosis and forecasting.

Applied the right way, electric vehicle monitoring can help identify hidden opportunities related to fleet diversification, optimal route planning, EV battery management, energy infrastructure investments, charging hotspots, and more. Let’s take a closer look.

How does electric vehicle monitoring work?

The goal of of electric vehicle monitoring is to boost operational efficiency, thereby increasing sustainability and minimizing overall cost of ownership. It relies on telematics, which combines GPS technology and data analytics to generate customised solutions for your electric fleet.

The system performs a detailed analysis of a vehicle’s route. It then determines the most economic route available and communicates this information to the user. Typically, the insights are delivered via a mobile device with an intuitive, user-friendly interface.

Electric vehicle monitoring solutions are drawn from various interrelated data sets. Chief among them are:

Vehicle Data

Assessing the performance of individual electric vehicles, as well as your electric fleet as a whole, is a crucial element of electric vehicle monitoring. It ensures that vehicles are operating at an optimal level, and moreover that each vehicle is properly integrated into your network.

Electric Vehicle Battery Data

You can’t successfully measure your electric fleet’s performance without taking into account battery usage data. Our electric vehicle monitoring system provides you with all the information you need regarding battery usage, battery health, and charging status.

Route Tracking and Planning Data

Evenergi’s electric vehicle monitoring simplifies the otherwise onerous task of route and schedule planning. Real time solutions are based on an analysis of potential charging points along a vehicle’s route. It can also make real time recommendations based on changeable factors such as traffic, weather conditions, and terrain.

Driver Behavior Data

In addition to examining vehicle, battery, and route data, it is important to manage driver behavior. Electric vehicle monitoring achieves this by evaluating driver behavior data and issuing corrective feedback in real time. This improves fleet economy while simultaneously enhancing vehicle safety.

Comprehensive electric vehicle monitoring is easy with BetterFleet software from Evenergi. Get started today.

EV Fleet

Vehicle fleets that run on petrol or diesel fuel are among most significant factors behind the current climate crisis. That’s why governments and companies around the world are taking steps to limit the carbon emissions produced by fleet vehicles such as buses and cargo trucks.

The rise of electric vehicles represents an enormous opportunity. Fleet electrification is an increasingly popular solution for corporations as well as local and national governments. The electric bus market alone is projected to grow from 112,000 units in 2022 to over 671,000 units in 2027.

Transitioning to an EV fleet has the effect of dramatically reducing your organisation’s carbon footprint. Moreover, when done properly, it will boost efficiency and sustainability while ultimately bringing down total cost of ownership. 

We at Evenergi are experts at helping you secure the financial and environmental advantages of fleet electrification. From planning and procurement to optimisation and long term management, we provide you with the data based insights you need to identify opportunities and capitalize on them. Our services simplify the decision making process, preventing costly mistakes and limiting overall risk.

EV Buses

Bus fleets—whether commercial or municipal fleets—are obvious candidates for electrification. In addition to harming the environment, their substantial tailpipe emissions pose a direct threat to public health by polluting the air we breathe. They also contribute to noise pollution.

The potential upside of bus fleet electrification is immense. With that said, EV transition is generally complex, and buses are no exception. It involves numerous variables that must be individually understood before being integrated into a broader transition framework.

Beyond selecting and procuring zero emissions vehicles, bus operators must factor in things like:

  • Charging infrastructure
  • Depot configurations
  • Electricity capacity
  • Battery management
  • Battery range
  • Route optimisation
  • Driver upskilling
  • Upfront costs

With regard to charging infrastructure, two options exist: depot based charging and on route charging. In the case of depot based charging, vehicles are recharged on-site overnight. With on route charging, vehicles are recharged via designated charging stations along the route.

Depending on the specifics of your network and operational environment, one option may be clearly preferable to the other. In some cases, a hybrid model could be the optimal solution.

Regarding upfront costs, it’s important to note that EV buses have a high purchase price relative to diesel buses. They are also heavier due to the weight of the battery, which decreases passenger capacity. Evenergi will help you develop comprehensive costing models to arrive at an accurate overall price.

EV Fleets for Logistics

Operators of long haul freight trucks and other heavy transport vehicles stand to gain just as much from fleet electrification—especially as the demand for logistics services continues to go up.

As with buses, diesel trucks are a major source of the transport sector’s carbon footprint. Transitioning to EV truck fleets will sharply curtail tailpipe emissions which in turn has a favorable effect on air quality, noise pollution, and public health.

While planning an EV transition, truck fleet operators must consider many of the same factors as bus fleet operators. That means extensive modeling to account for charging infrastructure (depot vs on route), route optimisation, driver upskilling, total cost of ownership, and more.

That said, complexity is heightened by the fact that freight vehicle fleets have substantially higher energy requirements than buses. This presents specific challenges, although new developments in battery technology are making the job of powering electric trucks easier and more cost effective.

Evenergi is here to make your zero emissions vision a reality. Armed with insights generated by our sophisticated software programs, you can plan, adopt, and optimise an EV fleet with minimal risk and maximal reward.

EV Transition

Transitioning your fleet to electric vehicles is the core of what we do at Evenergi. EV transition is one of the most significant actions you can take to proactively combat climate change. It is also one of the most elaborate. We’re here to help.

Whether you’re looking to adopt a fleet of fully electric buses, or strategically plan charging infrastructure to satisfy growing demand, we will provide you with practical, efficient, and cost-effective solutions to complicated issues.

Taking the guesswork out of EV migration

The inherent complexity of EV transition makes it fraught with risk and uncertainty. It can be hard to determine which challenges to tackle first. There are numerous factors to consider, each of which presents its own unique set of difficulties and potential solutions.

Critical questions to answer involve, among other things, EV vehicle selection, procurement, adoption, optimisation, integration, management, and sustainability. One mistake in these areas can have far-reaching effects, leading to delays, higher costs, and poor overall implementation of network assets.

We’re here to ensure that your EV migration goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible. How do we do this? By removing the guesswork. Our advanced software programs are designed to simplify the EV migration process by generating clear, actionable, data-based insights.

The resulting framework covers every aspect of your EV transition, including but not limited to:

We leave no stone unturned as we guide you along the best path toward an optimised, sustainable fleet of electric vehicles.

Electric vehicle procurement

Identifying effective procurement solutions with electric vehicles and ULEV fleets is critically dependent upon the intended application and function. We interpret your project’s aims, stakeholders, and projected lifespan using granular data analytics. 

We therefore enable you to discern the most appropriate EV vehicles for each and every application across your network. It is important to note that there is not just one EV vehicle solution; rather, we provide a host of modular solutions that vary widely according to your specifications.

Charging infrastructure

An electric vehicle fleet cannot function optimally in the absence of adequate charging infrastructure. Our services include a comprehensive assessment of the immediate and long-term requirements of your organisation’s operational environment. We arm you with the information necessary to understand and anticipate changes in network demand while pinpointing infrastructure hotspots.

Integrating your electric vehicle fleet with a well-designed charging infrastructure is essential for the sustainability of your EV or ULEV network. Through our BetterFleet and GridFleet platforms, Evenergi empowers you to create an effective infrastructure plan, taking into account potential future scenarios and how they are likely to impact your network.

Logistics

The logistics of your EV transition can be difficult to organise. Our scenario planning tools help you avoid costly mistakes while you plan your migration. With our help you will be able to maximise the financial and environmental benefits of a zero emissions vehicle fleet.

Zooming in

Depending on your needs, Evenergi can help you train your focus on individual facets of EV transition. Our software and services will equip you with the detailed insights you need to perform a deep dive into one or more specific opportunities.

For instance, you may want to improve the residual value management of your zero emissions vehicles. Or maybe you’re seeking reliable, data-driven information about how best to attract private sector investment in charging infrastructure. Perhaps you want to understand the overall impact of EV transition on your organisation, community, or energy distribution network.

Evenergi can assist you in all of that and more. We are prepared to tailor a strategy to meet your specific requirements. In the end, you will have realized your EV transition goals in the most methodical, sustainable, and economic way possible.

EV Fleet for Bus Operators

Globally, many countries and corporations have set targets to reduce their carbon emissions.  Buses which primarily run on diesel are a large contributor to carbon emissions and are a low hanging fruit for achieving carbon reduction targets. In addition to their contribution to global pollutants, diesel powered buses are a significant contributor to local pollutants that directly affect the health and well being of the local community. An EV fleet of buses would reduce carbon emissions, eliminate tail-pipe emissions, and reduce noise. According to research, each Electric bus can save the planet from 990 tonnes of CO2, 375kg of NOx, and ½ million litres of fuel consumption.

The electric bus market size is projected to grow from 81 thousand units in 2021 to reach 704 thousand units by 2027, at a CAGR of 43.1%. Demand for new buses and coaches in just the European Union was 18.1% higher than last year, with 1,863 units sold in total. Under the new rules, the EU is bound to include a quarter of EV buses in their total buses purchased by 2025. The ratio will increase to one-third from 2030. Many other cities are embracing similar declarations for fossil-free streets with buses being the major contributor in the spotlight.

Perks of Fleet Electrification

Bus fleets are heavily utilised, usually have fixed timetables, and have regular overnight garaging locations. These three characteristics of buses  make transitioning to an EV fleet relatively easy. In many regions, trials have already shown that electric buses have low whole of life costs as a result of lower maintenance and refueling costs. Additionally,  buses in an EV fleet offer opportunities for grid integration by connecting solar depots to the grid through their batteries.

Considerations of the Electric Bus Fleet

When considering EV fleets, bus operators will need to consider: 

  • Emissions reductions and delivery of renewable energy to ensure zero emissions
  • Electricity capacity of sites
  • New depot configurations
  • Battery range of the fleet vehicles
  • Impact of topography and climate on battery efficiency and range
  • Bus route optimisation 
  • Charging management 
  • Energy generation (such as onsite batteries and solar power)
  • Driver behaviour 
  • The total cost of ownership based on balancing higher upfront costs with lower operating costs

Total Cost of Ownership

The total cost of ownership is a pivotal element of consideration for a commercial EV fleet. TCO parity across different timelines is helpful for bus fleet operators to make wise economic choices.

Similar to other new technologies, electric buses also present some challenges for bus operators. The upfront purchase price of an electric bus is higher than diesel alternatives. The weight of a battery in an electric bus is higher than a tank of petrol and diesel, increasing the vehicle’s tare weight and reducing its payload capacity. EV Fleet operators eyeing at including EVs in their fleet might need more integrated costing models.

TCO Quantification Parameters

Here’s a list of the most relevant cost components for the total cost of ownership calculation. The values can be combined with the following cost components in order to work out a unified total cost.

  • Cost of purchasing the vehicle excluding the residual sale value
  • Financing cost beyond retail price – cost of interest payments
  • Fuelling  – Proportional to distance travelled, the efficiency of a vehicle, and cost of the fuel/cost of electricity
  • Charging infrastructure and batteries for EV charging
  • Insurance –  Typical costs associated with insurance cover and vehicle replacement or repair
  • Maintenance & repair – inspections, regular maintenance, scheduled part replacement, and unscheduled replacement of parts
  • Taxes & fees – taxes paid on time of purchase, recurring annual costs, registration fees, parking, and tolls
  • Labor – typical wages and benefits for drivers, and costs for the time of charging and fuelling

Charging Electric Bus Fleet Vehicles

The electrification of buses will require the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This may also include electrical capacity upgrades for charger locations.

There are currently two models of EV bus charging being utilised globally:

 AdvantagesDisadvantages
Depot based Charging

Buses are charged overnight using on-site electric vehicle charging infrastructure
Lower upfront capital costPotential grid limitations may require an upgrade
Allows for off-peak chargingNew depot and charging management
Located on the pre-owned propertyLonger refuelling time
On Route Charging

Buses are charged via fast chargers along the bus route
Smaller battery packs mean a higher passenger countMore expensive and may require leasing/purchasing land
Greater flexibility in bus operationsRequires fast charging and may incur higher energy costs with DC grid integration
Can compete for more than one route with a rest period
Might require changes to contracting and performance management terms

Note: a combined model approach may be appropriate

Challenges for Bus Fleet Operators

  1. Capital cost: the upfront purchase price of an electric bus is higher than petrol and diesel alternatives. 
  2. Passenger capacity: Bus passenger capacity is limited by heavy vehicle weight restrictions. 
  3. Upskilling: An electric bus will require new driver behaviour, procurement models, maintenance requirements, and refuelling operations.   
  4. Charging infrastructure investment and management: Additional assets investment is required to refuel electric buses via electric vehicle charging stations. This may also include electrical capacity upgrades for charger locations.

With the rapid increase in electric buses around the globe, performance data is starting to emerge. Many municipalities are also conducting their own trials to work out how particular buses will perform on their routes. This is giving decision-makers more clarity on the stated versus actual energy efficiency (kWh/km) of electric buses. Factors such as ambient conditions, topography, and bus characteristics have significant effects on the real performance of an electric bus.

Efficiency plays a key part in sizing a depot’s charging infrastructure, electrical upgrades, and potential upstream infrastructure costs. It affects how long buses need to charge for, the coincidence of peak demand from multiple chargers, and the ability of buses to meet their charging needs in line with their schedule.

The International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook reveals interesting insights about the EV market, especially focusing on regions such as Helsinki (Finland), Shenzhen (China), Kolkata (India), and Santiago de Chile (Chile). Electric fleets face context-specific challenges related to network size, ridership, degree of sector privatisation, and the availability of funding streams other than fare revenues.

Evenergi Consulting for e-Buses

Evenergi has developed a solution that helps bus operators to seize the opportunities and manage the risks of an eMobility future. The solution provides the development of economic and technical models to support the migration to electric buses, using Evenergi’s model to emulate your e-bus fleet network to assess the impact of EV charging on-peak electrical demand, support the selection of potential bus suppliers, help understand the bus market dynamics and support grant opportunities and submissions.

Find out more about how Evenergi can help here.

Supporting Documentation

  1. https://www.reportlinker.com/p05835369/Electric-Bus-Market-by-Propulsion-Type-Application-Consumer-Segment-Range-Length-of-Bus-Power-Output-Battery-Capacity-Component-And-Region-Global-Forecast-to.html?utm_source=GNW
  2. https://www.acea.auto/cv-registrations/commercial-vehicle-registrations-43-9-five-months-into-2021-51-3-in-may/
  3. https://www.sustainable-bus.com/electric-bus/electric-bus-public-transport-main-fleets-projects-around-world/
  4. https://electricvehiclecouncil.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2019-Submission-to-NSW-Parliament-on-buses-1.pdf
  5. https://publications.anl.gov/anlpubs/2021/05/167399.pdf
  6. https://fleets.chargetogether.org/article/electric-buses/
  7. https://www.evenergi.com/measuring-the-efficiency-of-electric-buses/
  8. https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2020

EV Fleet for the Logistics Industry

Pollution – both local pollutants and global carbon emissions –  are a growing cause for concern and heavy transport vehicles are a significant contributor.  Noxious pollutants from diesel trucks directly affect the health of the community and the enjoyment of public space.  Arresting this environmental and health damage is imperative and EV fleets offer hope.

Thus far, high energy requirements and low energy density of batteries have been a hindrance to the uptake of battery-electric trucks. However, recent developments in battery technology are making electric heavy-duty trucks viable, in large part due to reduced battery prices leading to decreased life cycle costs.

Perks of Fleet Electrification

Conscious of the damage to the environment, many auto manufacturers have committed to increase the number of electric options within their fleet. This, together with constantly improving battery densities are a cause of optimism for fleet owners.

Electric trucks can offer many benefits to fleet owners. To EV fleet owners that operate out of depots, electrifying their fleet and managing charging can provide significant savings in refueling costs. It is also possible to extend the life of an electric truck beyond what a fleet owner would consider for a diesel truck. By changing batteries and retrofitting the body, the holding periods of electric trucks could be higher than that of diesel trucks further driving down life cycle costs.

Globally, trucks contribute to 39% of the transport sector’s GHG emissions, and a total of 5% of all fossil fuel-derived carbon dioxide emissions. While currently, freight transport accounts for less than half of transport emissions, it is expected to grow by 56%−70% between 2015 and 2050, despite large improvements in energy efficiency. This is due to the expected increase in logistics demand associated with online shopping, increased urbanisation, and reduced car ownership. There is a strong focus on EV fleets worldwide, and IDTechEx forecasts the penetration of electric trucks into the global medium and heavy-duty market to be 9.4% by 2030.

  • Environmental impacts – It has been estimated that worldwide, electric trucks will influence road freight emissions from 2035 onwards and account for one-third of the emission reductions in 2050.
  • Public and driver health – Battery electric vehicles will improve public and driver health due to the lack of tailpipe emissions and reduced noise pollution.
  • Lifetime costs – Even with higher purchasing costs compared to a diesel truck, electric freight vehicles are competitive if the annual driving distance is high enough and battery lifetime matches the vehicle lifetime.

Considerations for the electric logistics fleet

The main considerations when transitioning to an EV fleet are vehicle usage requirements i.e., what tasks does it need to fulfill, the load it is required to carry, the per-mission distance for range, and parking/off duty cycles for charging.

When considering an electric truck, EV fleet operators will need to consider:

  • payload and tare weight 
  • upfront purchase costs, operating costs, and the total cost of ownership 
  • charging management
  • fit for purpose model availability 
  • existing fleet duty cycles
  • staff training including management and upskilling
  • vehicle route optimisation

The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

TCO is an important consideration for commercial fleet owners. In the case of electric trucks, EV fleet owners would need to compare TCO across time by balancing a multitude of variables – battery size, battery degradation, duty cycles, operating, etc. At present, the purchase costs of electric trucks are much higher than diesel trucks and the operational savings occur over time. A meticulous estimation of the TCO of electric trucks would allow EV fleet owners to make wise economic choices. 

TCO Quantification Parameters

Here’s a list of the most relevant cost components for the total cost of ownership calculation. The values can be combined with the following cost components in order to work out a unified total cost.

  • Cost of purchasing the vehicle excluding the residual sale value
  • Financing cost beyond retail price – cost of interest payments
  • Fuelling  – depending on the cost of electricity (energy and time of day), duty cycles, cost of diesel (for diesel trucks) 
  • Charging infrastructure and batteries for EV charging
  • Insurance –  Typical costs associated with insurance cover and vehicle replacement or repair
  • Maintenance & repair – inspections, regular maintenance, scheduled part replacement, and unscheduled replacement of parts
  • Taxes & fees – taxes paid on time of purchase, recurring annual costs, registration fees, parking, and tolls
  • Payload capacity expenses – additional costs from adjustments in fleet vehicle operation due to the increased weight of new vehicle technologies
  • Labor – typical wages and benefits for drivers, and costs for the time of charging and fuelling

Other costs specific to freight EV fleets include:

  • Dead running costs –  Excess mileages for trucks to recharge during operation (this includes both time based and distance based costs)
  • Idling – In addition to fuel consumption required for core purposes, commercial vehicles also incur idling costs. The idle time spent in between the automotive duty cycles also contributes to the total costs.
  • Payload capacity costs – Payload capacity costs can incur due to payload loss.

Charging the EV logistics fleet

Charging an electric truck will require the installation of charging infrastructure at depots (for back to base models) or along truck routes (for end-to-end models). The charging scheme required for electric trucks will depend on the operational scenarios for fleets, which include delivery routes and schedules.

Depot based charging

A depot-based charging model will see an electric truck start and end its route at the same place – making it possible to charge the electric truck while it is not in use. Many truck operations have defined cycles that permit off-cycle daily charging. A depot-based charging model ensures that charging infrastructure is an investment asset that gives the company control over site access, charger type, placement, and timing.There are different levels of charging stations that may be necessary for an electric truck fleet. The level of charging infrastructure will depend on each fleet’s duty cycles and route scheduling. 

The depot based charging model is being more widely adopted in international markets.

On route charging 

Fleets with variable routes and no guaranteed return trips require public fast-charging infrastructure to fulfil long-haul freight demands. This method of charging will become more important to satisfy heavy truck and long haul freight routes as technology for the sector develops.  However, these use cases are minimal at this point in time.

Recent developments worldwide 

In a bid to achieve carbon neutrality, businesses around the globe are taking advantage of disruptive technologies. Companies such as Amazon, British Gas, UPS, and FedEx are taking the lead in logistics fleet electrification. Falling costs, improved availability, and supportive policies help pave the way to a cleaner transport of the future.

Evenergi consulting for logistics

The transition to electric road freight transportation is gaining momentum, and companies can stay ahead of the game by being prepared for these changes. Evenergi can help freight and logistics companies seize opportunities and manage risks of an eMobility future through the development of economic and technical models to support the migration to electric logistics fleets.

Find out how Evenergi can help here.

Supporting Documentation

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306261918318361#b0025
  2. https://www.idtechex.com/en/research-report/electric-trucks-2020-2030/710
  3. https://nacfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Electric_Trucks_Guidance_Report_Executive_Summary.pdf
  4. https://publications.anl.gov/anlpubs/2021/05/167399.pdf
  5. https://www.fleetowner.com/emissions-efficiency/article/21703545/the-returntobase-strategy-for-charging-electric-trucks
  6. IEA Global Outlook 2019