SparkCharge recently announced an important service the company is offering, but before I get to its solution, let’s talk a bit about the problem.
Getting Started With EV Charging Can Be Tough For Fleets
Installing an EV charging station can be expensive and take a long time to get started, especially for commercial fleets.
Electricity costs are a big one. For home charging, you probably aren’t pulling very much power at any give time, but fleets and public Level 3 charging stations come up against high installation costs and demand charges from the electric utility. Utility demand charges are fees that electric utilities apply to customers for the maximum amount of power used during a certain time period. This fee is separate from electricity generation and distribution costs, and utility companies use it to manage costs associated with peak demand times. These charges are based on the amount of power used at the highest point in a given month, usually over a few short minutes, and can make up a significant portion of an EV charging station’s monthly energy bill.
And this is all before you get to the cost of the equipment and installation itself. A Level 2 station often costs anywhere from $1,000–$5,000 depending on the complexity of the installation, and Level 3 (DCFC) stations can cost tens of thousands of bucks per stall. Fleets can probably do a lot of their driving on Level 2 charging, but many will need at least one DCFC station for light vehicles to fill in the gaps, and companies running larger medium and heavy-duty EVs might need to rely on DC charging for most charge sessions.
On top of all the costs, oftentimes local building permits and inspections are required, which can add more time to the process. Anybody who has watched EV charging stations get put in probably has seen how a completed station can sit for weeks or even months waiting on approval and a utility connection before the fast chargers can start to be used by drivers.
For a business, big expenses hurt profits, and a big point of getting an EV fleet going is to reduce costs. Having to wait weeks or months to get EV charging going is even worse, as it means you’re having to let your shiny new EV work vehicles sit while you keep burning gas. This is obviously suboptimal.
How SparkCharge Aims To Fix This Problem For Fleets
SparkCharge, an innovative company behind the world’s first mobile EV charging system and network, recently announced that its new Charging as a Service (CaaS) option called SparkCharge Fleet is going nationwide (in the US). This revolutionary new service is now available across the country to provide businesses with immediate access to electric vehicle charging for their fleets. With SparkCharge Fleet, businesses have the convenience of fast, reliable charging that fits their electric vehicle needs without any upfront costs or long-term commitments. As more companies embrace electrification, this groundbreaking technology provides an easy way for them to keep their vehicles on the road and running at full capacity without having to eat big costs or wait for infrastructure to get installed.
“SparkCharge Fleet is a solution that takes the guesswork out of charging infrastructure and makes managing all aspects of EV fleet charging effortless,” said Josh Aviv, founder and CEO of SparkCharge. “Fleet customers can have their vehicles charged without the need for expensive infrastructure that takes two to five years to install. With transformer and chip shortages, SparkCharge Fleet provides an immediate solution to charging needs.”
SparkCharge says it has developed a cost-effective charging service that bundles CapEx, OpEx, and energy costs into a fixed rate. This innovative solution makes it easier for fleet operators to manage their costs over the long term, by helping them to accurately predict and budget for their electric vehicle charging expenses. With SparkCharge Fleet, businesses have access to reliable and affordable EV charging that can be tailored to their operational needs without the big costs usually associated with that.
Fleet operators can benefit from SparkCharge’s Charge Management System — an easy-to-use platform which allows them to conveniently schedule charges, view the state of charges, and access data insights. With just a few clicks using the Charge Management System, SparkCharge delivery technicians arrive in their all-electric delivery vehicles to charge the customer’s vehicles, providing a turnkey EV charging solution without requiring any loss of space, installation costs, grid updates, or construction costs.
On top of a completely mobile system, SparkCharge is also working on a hybrid system to give some of the benefits of fixed infrastructure with similar cost benefits. SparkCharge is taking its charging solutions to the next level with a hybrid charging station system set to be released later this year. This station, which was first unveiled last year at SparkDay, allows fleet operators to deploy battery-powered and grid-free DC fast charging stations without any trenching, digging, cabling, or construction required. Installation of this powerful yet cost-effective hybrid system is almost instantaneous, making it an ideal option for fleets looking for a reliable charging solution with minimal setup time.
“Traditional stationary chargers are not reliable, as they only provide up-times of 50% to 60% compared to SparkCharge’s 99.9%,” Aviv added. “We are not tied to the grid and can reliably ensure we can deliver charging to customers wherever and whenever they need it, nationwide.”
The company says that it can have a business up and running with all of its EV charging needs covered in as little as two weeks, anywhere in the country. The exact timeline will vary based on location, whether someone else locally has already started using them, and other factors.
If you’re not a fleet customer and just want some mobile charging, SparkCharge will also offer that through its mobile app if you live in a region where SparkCharge is already up and running. You can see a list of cities where it’s already offering this in the app or on its website.
On top of this, SparkCharge also offers rapid-response “out of charge” mobile service if a business or roadside company needs to get a vehicle charged that either ran out of range or is in danger of running out. This can help customers of all kinds stay out of trouble!
UPDATE: We reached out to SparkCharge with a few follow-up questions, which they responded to as follows:
Q: Our readers include many EV charging geeks. What kind of specs do your mobile fleet chargers have?
A: The Roadie Portable, designed with businesses and fleets in mind, is a Level 3 mobile, grid-independent, battery powered DC fast charger. It gives an EV about 30 miles of range in 30 minutes. Its voltage output is 150-500 VDC, output current 40 ADC and max power 20kW. It’s compatible with all EVs on the market.
Q: How big must a fleet be to use your services?
A: Two or more cars.
Q: Do you support people wanting mobile charging while stationary charging is installed?
A: Mobile CaaS is a great option for decentralized fleets where charging may be needed at multiple locations. It’s also convenient for fleets that are waiting on long lead times for installed infrastructure or businesses that don’t own the lot where their vehicles are stored.
Featured image provided by SparkCharge.
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