What are the new challenges for depot management that come with scaling your EV fleet?
Operating electric buses within service routes and operations that were traditionally suited for diesel or CNG buses, comes with new challenges.
As the number of electric buses within mixed fleets grows, processes within transit organisations will change and fleet managers must learn how to deal with grid limitations, as well as peak loads at the depot. Charge management goes much further than determining when to plug in buses so they complete charging. Its after-effects can have a big influence on the day to day operations of all departments in your organisation.
The key priority for all depot managers is to ensure that all the buses are sufficiently charged by the time they are set to leave the depot. Growing your EV fleet doesn’t simplify this task. Manual processes, such as connecting your chargers, become increasingly unmanageable. At the same time, the process is becoming more complex through topics such as limited grid connections that don’t provide enough power for all buses. Overnight charging now also competes with time previously spent on preventative maintenance and repairs.
Avoiding depot limitations
By letting smart charging algorithms balance the total capacity of the grid over the number of buses charging, the demand stays within the limit of your maximum capacity. Charging power is optimally controlled so that buses are always charged, but don’t exceed the maximum grid capacity.
Additionally, through prioritised load balancing, buses are charged in relation to their route schedules and the corresponding need for energy. By connecting vehicle- and charger data to planning information, charging processes become automated (easier) and more efficient (cheaper). With this technology, buses will automatically start and stop charging so that prioritised buses will be ready and charged at their departure time. That way, buses that are parked in front of the line can always be charged first, offering greater parking flexibility.
With live mapping of your chargers in the yard and on route, your team knows exactly which chargers have an issue. This takes the guesswork out of status checks and health control of chargers from different manufacturers. Finally, you can even get real-time grid-information to make sure you charge when prices drop or serve as an energy source when electricity is scarce.
Allowing the charging systems to manage themselves is the best way to avoid the added layer of complexity that comes with scaling up our EV fleet.
ViriCiti is market leader in electric and mixed fleet solutions, serving transit operators worldwide.
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