Many organizations are planning to electrify their fleet and install the related charging equipment for the first time. Finding the right products and services that fit the budget and business needs can be a very time-consuming task. Your organization will need to navigate through the complex market of electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment and software services to identify the best value package for your electrification plan. Here are six key considerations for your charging equipment procurement effort.
Procure the right equipment and services to meet business needs
Your electrification strategy should include the selection of charging equipment at the appropriate power level and associated network and software services to support your charging needs. Right-sizing the charging equipment to ensure full operability of your vehicles while not over-building infrastructure will help reduce capital investment. Having the proper maintenance and warranty package is also critical to maintaining the reliability and continuous operations of your charging equipment and electric vehicles. You need to identify the proper package for your electric fleet that can meet operational needs.
Identify the most feasible and best value solution
There are many available commercial products and services on the market for different charging applications. It is important to establish a robust process to solicit and evaluate vendor proposals while planning to negotiate for the best value solution to meet your business requirements at a reasonable cost. Having a feasible and affordable charging solution will drive significant benefits for your electrification project.
Select the right charging technology for your vehicles
A key consideration when selecting a charging solution is to identify one that is compatible with multiple vehicle types within your fleet. Some charging solutions come with proprietary plugs which can only be used with their brand of vehicles. This may limit the use of your charging equipment. It is a best practice to maximize interoperability between charging equipment and vehicles while utilizing standard connectors and open communication standards such as Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) as much as possible.
Safety must be a top priority when evaluating charging equipment
Safety is a number one priority for your organization. Your charging equipment must be safe to use for your drivers and employees. When evaluating charging equipment, ensure they meet all applicable safety standards, certifications, and all state and local regulations. This is not only a safeguard measure for your employees but also to protect the investment of your charging equipment.
Select more than one equipment and service provider
Your organization may have decided to run a pilot to electrify your fleet before an enterprise-wide rollout. This may be the best time to select a few providers during this pilot to test out equipment performance, software features, level of customer service, etc. Collect user feedback and lessons learned as an input to the RFx for subsequent phases of equipment procurement.
Start procurement activities early
With the global supply chain issues still looming and electric vehicles in high demand, equipment manufacturers may take longer to produce their products due to shortages in components and labor. It is advisable to start procurement activities proactively so that your organization may purchase and secure the necessary equipment in time for installation. Ensure that your transportation electrification strategy includes targeted scheduling and procurement activities.
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