Best Practices for Utilities to Prepare for Electric Vehicles

  • February 2013
  • -
  • Navigant Research
  • -
  • 14 pages

Selecting Electric Vehicles for Fleets

Fleet managers have for many years been familiar with the use of alternative fuel vehicles and hybrid gas-electric vehicles. With the release of mainstream plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles, in late 2010, fleet managers have an unprecedented opportunity to raise efficiency and environmental performance to a new level by using electricity as an automotive fuel – supplied by the grid and delivered via a plug.

With this transition comes a set of profound implications for fleet managers in terms of upfront cost (related to expensive batteries and charging equipment), available incentives, limitations in driving range, refueling times (often measured in hours), and selection of vehicles to optimize efficiency based on a vehicle’s all-electric range (AER). Fleet managers will also need to consider charging equipment and related terms, as well as the relative efficiency of the vehicle while exclusively powered by electricity and (in the case of plug-in hybrids) during the period when a gas engine is employed to extend driving range. Pike Research forecasts that worldwide fleet purchases of plug-in electric vehicles will grow from approximately 37,000 vehicles in 2013 to more than 291,000 vehicles by 2020.

This research brief outlines the spectrum of vehicle electrification that has broadened in recent years. It includes a definition of terms and considerations regarding charging equipment and how it affects range planning. The leading plug-in electric vehicles are described and placed in the context of decisions regarding range, charging and cost. Finally, the report provides a conceptual framework for considering adoption scenarios, from “wait and see” to “full speed ahead.” Written as a primer – rather than a complete guide – this research brief quickly introduces fleet managers to a rapidly approaching future in which plugs and chargers are standard features of an efficient fleet.


Key Questions Addressed:

• What are the primary considerations for fleet managers in moving from conventional vehicles to plug-in EVs?
• What is the spectrum of vehicle electrification, from conventional hybrids to pure electric cars?
• What are the levels of EV charging, from standard 110V to industrial-level 500V DC quick charging?
• How do battery sizes and charging levels affect driving range and route planning?
• How does charging and route planning differ between pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids?
• How should a fleet manager approach cost calculations for electrified fleets, especially plug-in hybrids that use both grid-supplied electricity and gasoline as a fuel?


Who needs this report?

• Municipal and corporate fleet managers
• Corporate plant managers

Table Of Contents

Best Practices for Utilities to Prepare for Electric Vehicles
Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Market Update

2.1 Overview
2.1.1 Key Benefits of PEVs
2.1.2 Purchase Costs - ICEs versus PEVs
2.2 Types of EVs as a Spectrum
2.3 Driving BEVs
2.3.1 Nissan LEAF
2.3.2 Ford Focus Electric
2.3.3 Mitsubishi i-MiEV
2.3.4 Honda Fit EV
2.3.5 smart fortwo electric drive
2.3.6 BEV Driving Range Limitations
2.4 Driving PHEVs
2.4.1 Chevrolet Volt
2.4.2 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
2.4.3 Ford C-MAX Energi
2.4.4 PHEV Fuel Costs
2.5 Battery Charging Requirements
2.5.1 Levels of Charging
2.5.2 Location and Rating of Chargers
2.5.3 Miles of Range Restored per Hour

3. Conclusions and Recommendations

3.1 Wait-and-See Approach
3.2 Test the Waters Approach
3.3 Full Speed Ahead Approach



List of Charts, Tables, and Figures

• Annual Electric Vehicle Fleet Sales by Vehicle Type, World Markets: 2012-2020
• Series vs. Parallel Drivetrain
• Driving Range and Energy Costs of PEVs

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