Software: What is charging management software and how could it save you time and money?

  • Created:

    August 30, 2022

  • Updated:

    September 2, 2022

Electric truck charging stations in a commercial parking lot
Image credit:
Shutterstock

With increasingly efficient zero-emission trucks (ZETs) entering the market, one might think that most health, environmental and financial benefits come directly from the vehicles themselves. 

While ZETs certainly play a key role, smart charging and charging management software ensure that your fleet electrification is as efficient and cost effective as it can be.

Read on to discover how smart charging and charging management software can save your fleet time and money.  

What is smart charging and charging management software for ZETs?

To charge a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) using a traditional charging method, you would simply plug it into a charge point that connects directly to the primary electricity grid. The vehicle would then charge at the maximum power until the battery reached 100%. 

It’s a familiar way to charge a device, but it’s not always efficient. 

Meanwhile, smart charging applies an intelligent decision-making process that automatically adjusts the power output from the charging station. Using charging management software, it does the following:

  • Reduces total peak demand at the charging location
  • Avoids high energy costs by taking time-of-use (TOU) rates into account
  • Ensures on-time departures by incorporating fleet schedules into automatic charging decisions
  • Helps to stabilize energy markets and electricity utility services 

In short, charging management software allows an EV, a charging station and a fleet manager’s charging app to communicate and share data via the internet. This helps to ensure the most efficient and cost-effective way of charging a fleet. 

What does smart charging management software mean for ZET fleets? 

But what does charging management software mean for a fleet manager and their team? It gives them the ability to monitor, manage and control the charging of their zero-emission trucks (ZETs) while finding the most cost-efficient times to charge. 

While using this kind of software might incur a monthly or annual fee, these costs can be eclipsed by overall—and sometimes immediate—savings. 

Let’s take a closer look at the features of charging management software for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and how they can improve your bottom line. 

Key features of charging management software for ZEVs

The internet connectivity of smart charging software  

  • Safety: Far from your average household sockets, a smart charger can automatically send a notification to the driver/operator if there are any issues or safety hazards with the charger to ensure a safe working environment.

  • Remote charging management: Smart charging software allows fleet operators to monitor energy usage, control charging sessions and collect usage data via a charging app. This data helps operators to identify the most efficient times for charging. The data gathered by the app is also useful for ongoing reporting for your business or for government bodies that may have granted funding to your fleet. 
  • Dynamic load management: This means fleet managers can distribute the available energy capacity proportionally across active EV chargers on their site. This means that energy is automatically allocated to chargers and vehicles that need it most, leading to greater efficiency and safety. Since available power at each site is limited, charging an entire fleet at a high capacity could overload the grid, require expensive upgrades to your site or result in high energy costs. Dynamic load management helps to avoid this. 

How can charging management software drive down costs for ZETs?

Taking the above features into account, charging management software offers some incredible financial savings: 

  • Energy savings: The current cost of gas means that fuelling an EV is far cheaper. However, charging management software offers even more savings by allowing fleets to avoid peak power demands. In one case, our partner Ampcontrol helped a client achieve a 45% reduction in power demands on their site, which significantly reduced monthly costs. 
  • Ability to charge vehicles overnight: Since many ZETs are normally left idle at night while energy prices are lower, overnight charging represents a significant savings opportunity. Smart charging optimizes this by automatically charging vehicles at night without the need for depot staff to be onsite overnight. 
  • Labour savings: Charging management software gives fleet operators the ability to control charging remotely, reducing the need to have staff members on site after hours. Along with controlling charging, software users can also run diagnostics and restarts using an app, which can help to identify potential issues before employees return the next morning. 
  • Construction savings: Without charging management software, fleet operators could be forced to spend significant amounts of money to increase the power capacity at their site. Charging management software allows fleets to choose a far more affordable solution that uses smaller capacity in a more intelligent way. 
  • Potential revenue from carbon credits: British Columbia-based fleets are also eligible for another saving via the province’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Smart charging software allows fleet operators to track and monetize carbon credits. With the long-anticipated federal Clean Fuel Standard, this opportunity will soon be available across Canada. 

How can charging management software save time for zero-emission fleets?

So, we’ve established that charging management software can deliver undeniable savings for your fleet. Better still, it also helps your fleet save time. Here’s how: 

  • Fast and easy implementation: Far from being a long, drawn-out process, connecting your chargers to charging management software can be quick and simple and in some cases done within a couple of days. For example, it took Ampcontrol less than one day to connect its real-time software to 50 chargers for a client. 
  • Notifications for drivers: While using charging management software, a fleet’s drivers can receive notifications letting them know which chargers they should use and when. This helps your team make informed decisions quickly, helping them get back on the road on schedule. 
  • Data-driven insights to make informed decisions: If you have more ZEVs than charging points, charging management software will use the gathered data to work out which vehicles should be charged first and for how long, saving fleet managers time.   

Conclusion

Though smart charging management software might sound complicated, its benefits for fleets are immense.  Paired with the lower overall total cost of ownership of zero-emission trucks, charging management software adds to the compelling case for electrification. 

However, you don’t need to make the switch alone. 

At 7Gen, we work with trusted partners like Ampcontrol to ensure our clients have access to secure, reliable and flexible charging management software for their fleets. In addition, our team provides guidance to fleets at every step of their electrification journey—from technology selection and project design to applications for government incentives. 

To find out more about how an electric fleet can save you time and money, contact a member of the 7Gen team today!