7 Steps to Electrifying Your Fleet

by Eric Cohen

If you manage a fleet, I’m sure that electrifying it is something you think about often. How? When? How much? The more answers you get, the more questions arise. Here are seven steps that can help get you started.

  1. Know when it’s the right time to electrify

How do you know when is the right time for to electrify your fleet? If a statute requires it, you’re directed by leadership, a grant funding opportunity arises or … your drivers are requesting it! Any one of these actions – or a combination of them – can jumpstart your process. But to begin the process, it’s important to understand the benefits of fleet electrification.

  1. Justify your electrification costs

There are many benefits to fleet electrification, but one of the most important is a reduced total cost of ownership (TCO). Yes, the upfront costs of electrification can be overwhelming, but reduced maintenance, operating costs, and fueling on the backend can make up the difference. In addition, incentive funding on the front end can reduce your acquisition costs. And don’t forget to calculate a dollar value on reduced emissions as part of your total justification.

  1. Engage your drivers

A great place to start your electrification journey is by training drivers to drive an electric vehicle. Once they become comfortable behind the wheel, and with the daily activities to support an EV, they will quickly become advocates. Many like the quietness of the trucks, the acceleration, no diesel smell, and less vibration in the tractor. A large part of the comfort factor is that they’re automatic, so easier to drive.

  1. Focus on charging infrastructure

Before purchasing new vehicles, begin to investigate your infrastructure. You can operate a charger without a vehicle, but you can’t operate an electric vehicle without a charger. Consider incorporating solar power with battery backup into your infrastructure, along with wireless charging. No cables. No free-standing chargers. And no maintenance. Be sure your chargers match your vehicles so you can test compatibility, customer service, and downtime when evaluating electrification consideration.

  1. Align EV purchases with infrastructure growth

Always align your EV purchases with infrastructure growth; as you expand, take into account that electrical charging requires additional electrical supply. And, as you look at power, think about the four levels of charging:

a. Getting power to the grid (and increasing it as the need expands)

b. Getting power to the facility

c. Getting power to the charger

d. Getting power to the vehicle

  1. Work with your utility

A major player in your fleet electrification is your utility. You can’t do this without them. Ask about their load capacity. Ask about programs to help offset costs. And ask about permitting fees. Most importantly, get them involved early in your planning process. They’re happy to know you’re electrifying as it’s new earnings opportunities through increased capital investments. From the ratepayer perspective, increased electric loads from EVs could reduce average all-in retail rates.

  1. Let funding availability help guide vehicle acquisition

You may only need eight new vehicles today, but if there’s funding for ten, take advantage of it. Grants, rebates, and special programs come and go. You never know how long they’ll last nor which vehicles will be covered. Funding to support your future growth today can help jumpstart your electrification program.


You’re going to make mistakes. We’re working in a rapidly evolving industry with rapidly evolving technology. Yes, some equipment will become obsolete, but you can’t wait until everything is perfect – and you have all the answers – before moving ahead. Get smart. Plan smart. Make decisions. And move forward.

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