Picking your fleet team
If you wanted to build a house, you would hire an architect to design it and a contractor to build it. You may also add an interior designer for the interior layouts and to source all the fixtures, finishes and furnishings.
The same is true for fleet electrification: you may want to call on a team of electric fleet consultants and specialists to help you navigate the process. Different service providers can help you along some of the journey — or along most of the journey — depending on your business needs. Your choices include the following groups.
1. Electric fleet consultants
Most electric fleet consultants focus on the first half of the journey: helping you figure out your fleet’s potential for electrification, and what that plan could look like. They’ll help you run a suitability assessment to ensure any electric vehicles you decide to procure truly meet your needs. Then, they will help you understand the full costs involved and budget associated with electrifying. The same consultants will also help you plot a strategy over time, so you understand how to move from a pilot to your ultimate target for fleet electrification, helping to future-proof your infrastructure and vehicle procurement strategy. Consultants tend to hand off to another provider for execution (procurement of the actual vehicles or charging hardware and set up) but may continue to shadow your process along the way.
2. Fleet leasing companies
Leasing companies with an EV focus, such as Jim Pattison Lease, Arc by Element and 7Gen, will not only assist with vehicle procurement, but also help you understand how to operationalize your EV fleet, including connecting you to providers of telematics, charging and other tools, or even helping to set up these systems for you.
Large fleet leasing companies are good partners because they have a deep understanding of fleet management, and can help you consolidate the fixed costs and operational costs of EVs into a monthly bill. These companies can also help you with how to reimburse your drivers for energy, in the scenario where drivers are charging fleet vehicles at home.
3. Charging specialists
Several utilities have divisions focussed on providing turnkey charging services for depots – such as Cleo from Hydro Quebec and PowerOn from Ontario Power Generation. There are also independents like InCharge and EnTech that offer their services Canada-wide. Their contracting and engineering teams will evaluate on-site energy capacity, map out any needed service upgrades and design a site layout. They will also handle everything from the ordering and installation of charging hardware, to working with utilities and maintaining the reliability of on-site chargers through service contracts.
If you acquire your vehicles through a fleet account manager at an OEM they can help you with the purchase and associated financing, as well as connect you with other partners to set up charging solutions and roll all costs into a single financing contract. Generally, automakers jump in when you are ready to procure vehicles and charging infrastructure and do not handle suitability assessments.
Next up, learn about the major milestones of any fleet electrification project.
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