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Industrial fleets have been making great use of EVs for decades - presently more than half of all material handling vehicles1 used in manufacturing and distribution applications are electric.

And for more than 10 years, industrial EVs have been increasing productivity by using advanced industrial EV charging systems from AeroVironment.

Prime Candidate

A few general attributes2 of industrial (off-road) and commercial (on-road) fleets make them prime candidates for electric conversion with optimized charging infrastructure options:

  • Predictable routes/distances
  • Predictable schedules
  • Either distributed or central charging
  • Regular shut-down time
Why do these attributes matter?

Unlike an unpredictable consumer route, which may change from day to day outside of a work commute, a fleet driver knows that he or she is going to drive a certain number of miles at a certain time, thereby simplifying the system sizing effort. In addition, knowledge of whether the fleet will employ central charging (delivery van depot) or decentralized charging (bus route) provides cues regarding where to install the chargers, i.e. at home or “on the road.” Finally, regularly shut-down time either overnight or during the day allows for slower, but more cost-effective replenishment overnight using the “Level 2” charging regimen.

Finding Your Solution

EV fleet charging requirements vary depending on a fleet’s unique energy and scheduling needs. However, most fleets are optimized by using central or distributed Level 2 (overnight/between-shift AC) or Level 3 (fast DC) charging for safe, practical, and efficient battery “refueling."

Many fleet operations with predictable, shorter routes and downtime overnight can take advantage of Level 2 charging stations installed in the parking depot. The stations will allow vehicles to charge opportunistically during non-business hours. Level 2 charging can take approximately 3 to 8 hours depending on battery size, battery chemistry, and the vehicle’s state of charge (SOC) when plugged in at the end of a shift.

Distributed Level 3 DC charging stations may be necessary for operations with longer, continuous, or unpredictable routes – like taxi cabs and rental cars. Level 3 charging stations can augment Level 2 charging by enabling quick on-road battery refueling in approximately 10 to 15 minutes, depending on conditions – allowing vehicles to travel greater distances. Level 3 charging stations, which have greater power capability and charge at a higher current, are also ideal for very large batteries used in vehicles such as buses and trucks.



Charge Regimen

30 Miles/Day

60 Miles/Day

90 Miles/Day

Level 1 (1.4kW)4

~5 ½ hours

~11 hours

~16 hours

Level 2 (3.3kW)

~2 ½ hours

~4 ½ hours

~6 ½ hours

Level 2 (6.6kW)

~1 hour

~2 ½ hours

~3 ½ hours

DC Fast Charger

< ½ hour

~ ½ hour

< 1 hour

1Industrial Truck Association, October, 2009.
2Some fleets, including rental car and taxi cabs, may mimic every day passenger “routes” more than they do commercial fleets. As a result, these vehicles may be less predictable. So charging solutions for rental cars and taxi cabs are likely to be very similar to consumer infrastructure.
3Replenishment rates are approximate. Actual rates may vary.
4Power in kW represents the fleet vehicle’s on-board charger’s power rating.

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