Charging an electric vehicle on a road trip these days can be challenging, but it doesn’t hold a candle to what fleet managers have to deal with.
Imagine dozens of trucks arriving back at the yard at the end of the day, all needing to be recharged by the next morning. Do you stagger the start times? That’s the cheaper option, but if a charger fails to start on cue, you’ll be down a truck the next day. Or do you start them all before you leave, ensuring availability but incurring thousands in demand charges?
These aren’t hypothetical cases. Katie Siegel and Sashko Stubailo, the founders of Flipturn, heard many such stories from fleet managers on the cutting edge of electrification.
“Fleets ultimately care about their bottom line and their cost per mile,” Siegel, the company’s CEO, told TechCrunch+. Electric trucks have lower fuel and maintenance costs, but managers can’t operate them the same way they run their diesel trucks. “There are a lot of problems that people immediately run into,” she said.
In the long run, some of the U.S.’ heavy-duty trucks may be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, but for short-haul operations like delivery and drayage at ports, batteries are likely to win out. Those trucks run very similar schedules, which means they are all likely to be plugged in at the same time.
The problems we touched on are just the beginning — as more fleets add more electric trucks, problems are bound to multiply.