Unlike driving a vehicle with a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) passing fuelling stations all the time, EV (electric vehicle) charging infrastructure in South Africa is not extensively developed yet, making planning and managing trips essential.
Planning a trip for a commercial electric vehicle (CEV) is vital to meet operational demands. Transport operators are responsible for the seamless implementation of delivery schedules and want their vehicles in full operation 24/7. Downtime, expensive energy usage and range anxiety can be mitigated when the trips of a CEV fleet are properly planned.
“People frequently ask what the best way is to charge a fleet of CEVs. Many factors play a role when deciding if AC or DC charging is the most effective way of charging vehicles. That is why our team of experts conducts a full audit of a transport operator’s needs, current infrastructure and fleet application before they convert to battery-electric fleets,” said Rick Franz, CEO of Applied Electric Vehicle Energy Reticulation Systems Africa (Aeversa).
Franz explained that electricity from the grid is alternating current (AC). The difference between that and direct current (DC) charging is where the AC power gets converted to DC, inside or outside the vehicle. EVs have small onboard chargers that convert AC power to DC to charge the battery. “DC fast chargers convert AC power to DC outside of the vehicle, which is directly fed into the battery, significantly reducing charging times. In the end, the best way of charging depends on how the fleet is utilised. One will choose DC fast charging if a quick recharge for repeat trips is needed. DC fast chargers can deliver a 100 to 150km range per hour or more, charging some EVs to 80% in 20 to 30 minutes. However, these chargers strain the power supply and must be correctly managed. As a rule of thumb, AC charging is slow and DC is fast,” said Franz.
Aeversa, a green energy transport pioneer, consults industry players on the best ways to convert their transport fleets to battery-electric vehicles. The company offers a “complete solution”, from specifying the required vehicles to planning and installing charging infrastructure. Its product offering includes maintenance and flexible financing options for infrastructure, charging systems and vehicles.
“With so many unique factors playing a role in each individual situation, using AC or DC power is not an easy question to answer. We use predictive modelling and apply our experience in green energy transport to develop the best solutions for transport operators based on their individual needs and goals,” said Franz.
“In our experience, it is all about clean energy and the total cost of ownership to improve profit margins. To achieve this goal, we help control the when and how of charging CEVs, whether with AC or DC power.”