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Electrifying Fleets: Top 4 Problems and Solutions

Last Updated: February 21st, 2023 | Fleet

The world of consumer vehicles has gone mad for EVs. The waves of change have been drawing the electric revolution inexorably closer. Electrifying commercial fleets, however, is a little different to trading in the family SUV for a VW ID.4. Fleet vehicles have schedules and require maintenance that’s more consistent and often more expensive than personal vehicles. They also need more new infrastructure: charging stations as well as a reliable operating system. Fleets suffer greatly if a charger or vehicle goes down. Thankfully, there are solutions to these problems!

#1 Operating Costs

The first worry when electrifying a commercial fleet is how much the transition will cost. EVs are more expensive, right? And that’s before thinking about the cost of installing on-site infrastructure. Those numbers add up! While there’s no single solution, two points deserve consideration.

Total Cost of Ownership

EVs cost more upfront. No way around it. However, the story doesn’t end there. PG&E has an excellent breakdown of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an EV fleet compared to a diesel one. Their analysis is for a 20-vehicle fleet, but the TCO benefit fleets of all sizes. Electric fleets come with overall lower maintenance costs, lower fueling costs, and potential support from a range of local and federal grants and rebates.  

Grant and Rebates

Cities and states across the USA are attempting to encourage electric transition. The federal government is in the process of rolling the US Postal Service onto an electrified fleet. Grants and rebates exist at both state and federal levels to help cover the costs of vehicle and infrastructure transition. Which ones apply depends on your area. A fleet expert can help break down your needs (both for vehicles and infrastructure) and identify savings and subsidies available to you.

#2 Costly Maintenance

Maintaining the Vehicles

For most gas-powered fleets, maintenance is a huge line item in the annual budget. EVs simply have fewer parts to maintain. While they have the same basics found on gas-powered vehicles (brakes, windows, suspension), they lack the complications of internal combustion engines. That single change means sizeable savings down the road with EVs. 

Infrastructure Maintenance

Electrified fleets need chargers just like ICE vehicles need gas to function. While a lot has been written about the maintenance of EVs, less exists on what it takes to maintain EV chargers. There’s a good reason for that; a well-built, quality AC or DC charging station requires almost no maintenance! After the station is properly installed and connected to the internet to run the backend operating system, it can withstand inclement weather conditions, daily use, and whatever else a fleet operator can throw at it. 

# 3 Range and Utilization

One of the biggest uncertainties concern vehicle range. Gas-powered trucks or delivery vans can stop and gas up for a quick increase in available range. EV charging takes longer (although not that much longer when done at a high-powered DC charging station). Will the electrified fleet vehicles be able to drive needed routes on a single charge? Will the vehicle have to charge up “in the wild” partway through a route? To find out, there are two important steps to take:

Map Your Routes

Obviously, the first step needed is to really know all routes. An updated audit of routes and their distances will give peace of mind when considering EV options to meet route needs. Also, decide whether to replace fleet vehicles with a single model or a mix. Depending on reasons for the transition, fleet electrification can include a few hybrid vehicles for the longer legs if needed. 

Know What’s Out There

EVs are gaining more and more range as time goes on. For consumer vehicles, the Mercedes Benz EQS has a range of up to 340 miles. While logistics vehicles haven’t hit those numbers yet, they can still get the job done. Walmart recently announced its partnership with Canoo to electrify their fleet with their Lifestyle Utility Vehicle, boasting a range of about 250 milesAmazon’s electric Rivian vans apparently get about 150 miles per charge. The Ford F-150 Lightning is expected to get over 300 miles on a charge. The options are endless and depend on the vehicle as well as  your needs.

# 4 Charger Downtime

What’s the point of spending all that money on EVs and charging infrastructure if the chargers are going to have a lot of downtime? With the right operating system, this doesn’t have to be a problem. Noodoe EV OS was built to assuage these kinds of worries. The system is highly automated, meaning it runs diagnostics and recovery on its own, keeping the system up and running, dramatically reducing downtime worries. 

Make the Shift

There are a lot of reasons to transition to an electrified fleet. Whatever the reason, it’s important to have the right partner. That means talking to someone who has been there, knows all the potential pitfalls, and can help guide you through the process. If you’re looking for this kind of expert, you’re in the right place. Noodoe knows fleets! Reach out and let us get you started!

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