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

An introduction to electric road freight vehicles

Road freight transportation enables economic and social development but is also a major contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to its heavy consumption of fossil fuels.

Globally, the truck sector currently contributes 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 demand for freight transport expecting to increase from the rise in online shopping, increased urbanisation and reduced car ownership.

There is a strong focus on electric road freight transport by governments worldwide, and IDTechEx forecasts the penetration of electric trucks into the global medium and heavy duty market to be 9.4% by 2030.

Benefits of an electric road freight fleet

Electric vehicle technology has the potential to provide significant benefits to operators of freight vehicles, including light commercial vans and heavy trucks. The key benefits of transitioning to an electric road freight fleet include reduced greenhouse gas emissions, noise and air pollution reduction and reduced lifetime costs.

Environmental – Battery electric vehicles reduce emissions, except in the cases of carbon intensive electricity production. 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 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 annual driving distance is high enough and battery lifetime matches the vehicle lifetime.

What should you consider for the transition?

Battery electric trucks have not been a viable option to replace heavy duty trucks due to the high energy requirements and low energy density of batteries. However, recent developments in battery technology are making electric heavy duty trucks viable, a large part due to reduced battery prices leading to decreased life cycle costs of heavy duty electric trucks.

The main considerations when transitioning to an electric road freight fleet are vehicle usage requirements – what the vehicle is used for and how – i.e. what tasks does it need to fulfill, the load it is required to carry, the distance per mission for range, and parking/off duty cycles for charging. Benefits would depend on the drive cycle – with low payment weight, low speeds and frequent stop and starts favouring electric.

Weight – weight affects fuel economy. And the tare weight of the freight vehicle is important in determining the amount of freight it can legally carry.

Cost – upfront purchase costs including battery cost, operating costs including servicing and maintenance and charging, and residual value.

Charging infrastructure – electric trucks and vans will increase demand on electricity and require improved demand management and storage and new electrical charging infrastructure. The speed of charging also needs to be considered depending on duty cycles and route scheduling. We will discuss more about charging in the next episode of our logistics series.

Technology – improvements in battery technologies with increased capacity and decreased cost and weight compared to evolutionary changes to internal combustion engines. Improvements to battery capacity and recharging infrastructure should make electric trucks a viable option for a large share of road freight with medium duty trucks, heavy duty rigid trucks and semi trailers.

So, the key challenges of transitioning to an electric road freight fleet include limitations to charging infrastructure, high initial purchase price and uncertainty about vehicle residual value.

Charging – high capacity charging systems for fast charging are not yet available and therefore only off-duty charging is available, and the charging capacity needs to be properly modelled to ensure the grid can support charging demands.

Purchase price – the initial purchase price is high compared to a diesel truck.

Residual value – the residual value of an electric truck or van is questionable as there are minimal historical records.

Electric trucks and vans in Australia

In Australia, electric truck use cases have been in the small to medium size commercial vehicle and garbage truck segments in metropolitan areas.

For example, Renault Kangoo ZE is a popular option for light commercial vehicles, and some companies are trialling Fuso eCanter as a medium truck option. SEA Electric provides drive trains that can be fitted to new cab chassis such as those from HINO 300 series and HINO 500 series.

At Evenergi we provide like-for-like asset replacement recommendations for your current electric trucks and vans fleet based on their fit-for-purpose criteria.

Case studies for road freight fleets in Australia

IKEA and its logistics partner ANC piloted electric trucks for last mile deliveries in March 2019, with Hino 917 series chassis and SEA Electric’s SEA Drive 120a electric components.

Queensland-based transport and trucking operator All Purpose Transport has put its first electric truck in its IKEA operation in December 2019.

Logistics giant Toll has reportedly deployed the all-electric Fuso eCanter at its Bungarribee distribution site in Sydney.

In late 2019, Australia Post announced that it would be trialing the Fuso eCanter for use in the Sydney central business district. If the Australia Post trial is successful, the Fuso eCanter will become part of the Australia Post fleet.

Cleanaway, a waste management company that also operates more than 4,000 heavy trucks around the country, is carrying out a trial of an electric garbage truck in the western Australian city of Perth.

In early 2020, The City of Casey’s recycling of hard-waste is becoming carbon neutral with several new electric trucks joining the fleet at WM Waste Management Services as part of a new waste contract.

DHL is aiming to deliver 70% of its first and last mile services with clean pickup and delivery solutions by 2025. DHL is currently using the Renault Kangoo ZE (zero emissions) van to pick-up and deliver parcels in Melbourne and Sydney.

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 to seize opportunities and manage risks of an eMobility future, through the development of economic and technical models to support the migration to electric road freight fleets. Find out how Evenergi can help here