Ahead of his participation at Freight in the CIty Expo next month, Bernard Magee, director of electric vehicle charging infrastructure at Siemens GB&I explains how a seamless grid-to-vehicle approach can control energy and capital expenditure costs, simplify managing an EV fleet and deliver the vital resilience and reliability once the power is switched on.
Planning for a future where efficiently working with kilowatts rather than litres is a challenge. And notably as the pace of change demanded by legislators and expected by customers increases, the costs can appear difficult to quantify and the EV marketplace is congested with suppliers.
Knowing where to start can be a conundrum. How much to invest, will sites need redesigning and who tracks energy costs and maintains the EV charging systems?
All legitimate questions which transport industry customers want answering.
However, the transition does not need to involve managing a myriad of new supplier relationships. Neither does each decision - whether its EV charging systems, the power from the grid, servicing and technical support or finance - need to be taken separately and in the hope everything ‘connects.’
At Siemens we advocate a grid-to-vehicle approach which hugely simplifies the changeover and daily operation of an EV fleet and also establishes energy efficiency for customers from the outset.
A genuine start-to-finish solution removes the complexity of managing multiple partners but, just as importantly, ensures that both technology and software solutions complement and communicate with each other.
To understand the extent of the electrification process of your fleet, we recommend starting with a discussion on fleet operations, vehicle types and route schedules followed by a site survey.
This will establish precisely how much power is needed for charging and the actual size of the connection. This is the ‘grid’ part of the grid-to-vehicle approach.
A proper evaluation of the connection size will save money and time; making sure any “pipeline” is not too large and using unnecessary power. And if you operate multiple sites the importance of getting the right amount of power for each location cannot be underestimated.
A logical next step - which can be covered by a survey - is the best positioning of the EV charging systems and how they’re connected.
Retaining space is something many depot managers are understandably concerned about. My own colleagues have the know-how to ensure keeping space is a core part of any installation plan.
Positioning is also key when it comes to avoiding dramatically changing your layout and avoiding expensive redesign work. A partner with power supply expertise can be invaluable and we have a great deal of that with our teams supporting many hundreds of major UK manufacturing concerns.
Siemens will be demonstrating our own range of EV charging systems at Freight in the City Expo and they are a core part of our ability to support customers from grid-to-vehicle.
The speed of charging is of course an important consideration. However, so too is what the EV charging management system actually does for your business once its operational.
Does it have the right energy efficiency tools designed for a transport business and will it schedule charges around your timetable or a particular vehicle’s commitments?
Whatever choice is made regarding EV chargers, we would recommend a complementary software system to automatically schedule charging when tariffs are lowest and avoid the requirement to repeatedly charge at expensive peak power levels.
With UK electricity prices fluctuating, how much energy goes into your fleet every working day (and when) is key. It is a cost needing the same scrutiny as fuel and engine parts.
Reliability and service is a real concern for fleet operators. Customers want more than rows of shiny, new chargers and to know any issues will be resolved quickly and they’ll get ongoing support about controlling energy costs.
Our grid-to-vehicle approach ensures we fully support customers when the chargers go live with our own technicians, service packages as well as advice if a business wants to expand their fleet or operate from a new location.
The last word should be about how an electric future is financed. At the top of the agenda are legitimate concerns about spending too much hard-won capital and whether lease deals are flexible and represent value for money.
Siemens Financial Services have created a range of leasing and payment solutions for equipment and support which customers are benefiting from.
Mark McLoughlin, our Siemens Financing Partner, will be attending Freight in the City Expo and will be on hand to answer your questions.
He believes that an EV future should see customers being able to access the same wide range of financial resources and advice they presently receive: “Whilst the technology and way of working starts to be different, the need to offer the right financial tools remains unchanged. We can provide turnkey leasing and purchasing solutions, but tailor individual solutions for larger operations. The ability to provide the right financial products completes the picture in terms of working from grid-to-vehicle.”
It’s humbling to think that one of the first purely electric cars was built by Siemens Schuckertwerke over 120 years ago and since then, step by step, we have electrified our world. From planning, engineering, installation, operation, and continuous optimization, Siemens has been at the forefront of smart electrification, aiming to transform everyday energy use to keep your site resilient, efficient and sustainable.
- Bernard Magee and Mark McLoughlin will be speaking at the 'Electric Unplugged' seminar at this year’s Freight in the City event, which takes place at Alexandra Palace, London on 28 September. Siemens is offering free Charging Surgeries throughout the event where you can discuss your EV challenges, talk through the end-to-end process of building your infrastructure, EV fleet and finance options with their experts. They are also demonstrating their high-performance chargers and complementary software solutions. Book your free ticket to attend today!