Fleet Charging – Providers and Options Abound

May 14, 2023
For fleet operators looking to retire ICE vehicles, deploy EVs, and charging infrastructure at depots and beyond, there is a deluge of options to consider, often for the first time and without a roadmap.
Driven by government incentives, state regulations (specifically the first-in-the-world requirement in CA to end combustion truck sales in 2036), and corporate ESG mandates, fleet electrification is in the fast lane. Last week, arguably the largest and most significant clean transportation event wrapped up – Advanced Clean Transportation – ACT Expo, in Anaheim, CA. The new, larger event venue is just one sign of where the industry is going – and its rapid growth is as summarized by the expanding ecosystem of vendors and service providers.

For fleet operators looking to retire ICE vehicles, deploy EVs, and charging infrastructure at depots and beyond, there is a deluge of options to consider, often for the first time and without a roadmap. Below is a digest of 30+ leading charging infrastructure and services providers as a resource for fleet operators considering electrification. Beyond charging infrastructure hardware, new offers include Charging as a Service (CaaS), Fleet as a Service (FaaS), and Vehicle to Grid (V2X), which I covered in a previous post.

Hardware Incumbents:

1.      ABB – delivers EV charging solutions for the electrification of fleets, and charging for electric buses and trucks with AC (7.4 - 19 kW) and DC (20 - 450 kW) options. The addition of Service Level Agreements (SLA) provides fleet operators with uptime and reliability guarantees to minimize downtime and provide peace of mind.

2.       ChargePoint – the EV charging pioneer with a comprehensive hardware offering for fleets, is supplying Level 2 AC and DCFC (12-500 kW). Their marquee customers include IKEA, Phoenix Motorcars, and SEA Electric.

3.       Powerflex – this San Diego-located, EDF Renewables US subsidiary provides solar, storage, EV charging, microgrids, and energy management solutions to fleets. They have announced solar, but have not had any recent fleet electrification customer deployments.

4.       Siemens – provides a fleet end-to-end solution that includes site assessment and infrastructure planning, power distribution systems evaluation, EVSE selection, cloud-based fleet management solutions, microgrid connected charging, renewable power integration, as well as service and maintenance. There is something to be said for the simplicity of working with an experienced and single-source vendor on a multi-faceted project.

5.       Tritium – the Australian native DCFC manufacturer who recently announced their NEVI-compliant infrastructure, is offering fleets a 75-350 kW modular solution.

 HW & Service Innovators:

1.       Autel Energy North America – a subsidiary of Chinese-owned Shenzhen Daotong Technology, recently announced the Autel MaxiCharger DC Compact Mobile. The mobile DC charger is equipped with dual ports to provide up to 40 kW of power. This is an industry first, I believe and reminded me of when we launched the Mobi AC Charger at FreeWire Technologies in early 2019.

2.      Blink – who recently acquired SemaConnect, announced a 30 kW product for take home fleet charging. This will be especially useful for passenger vehicles, such as those used by pharma and other reps who drive to their customer locations. They previously announced a contract with the USPS to provide their growing EV fleet with charging stations and network services.

3.       Bp Pulse Fleet (formerly Amply Power) – is promoting their charge management Omega solution that claims to save fleets money by automating charging during off-peak periods, when energy costs are low. San Diego Metropolitan Transit System recently selected this provider to optimize their electric bus fleet efficiency.

4.       EVGo – is a provider of turnkey fleet charging solutions, facilitating charging station installation and operations, including fleet transition planning, EVSE provisioning (for both Level 2 AC and DCFCs) and deployment; to fleet charging management software solutions, and operations and maintenance. In 2021 the company announced Optima, a new software and networking platform that pairs charging stations with vehicle management and smart charging.

5.       EVConnect – a recent Schneider Electric acquisition, provides a fleet charging management platform. In January, they announced a subscription-based FaaS to provide fleet operators with new financing and service options for EV charging infrastructure.

6.       ChargePoly – a French-based startup offering DCFC stations designed for electric fleets, recently announced the opening of their first US-based location in Bellevue, Washington. They offer fleets the ability to find the right time to charge with the help of their planning algorithm which enables optimal power distribution.

7.       Electrada – this Ohio-based startup, owner, and operator of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across a range of verticals, provides CaaS for fleets with one price across the length of a contract and zero capital investment.

8.       Forum Mobility – California-based startup focusing on electrifying drayage is building a network of charging depots to serve drayage operators as well as offering CaaS. At the beginning of the year, they announced a joint venture with CBRE and their first customer, Hight Logistics.

8.       Highland Electric Fleet – is pioneering a commercial vehicle-to-grid (V2G) program for electric school buses (EVSB). They offer a comprehensive solution that includes financing, infrastructure, vehicle deployment, and maintenance. They have multiple deployments with school districts, including a recent announcement with Baltimore City Public Schools.

10.       Ideanomics – this publicly listed company provides fleets with vehicles and charging technology with design, implementation, and financial services. They were notably absent from ACT Expo this year.

11.   InCharge Energy – a SoCal startup announced the launch of three bidirectional V2X DCFC (22-66 kW) for fleets that will power local grids. They have previously worked with ABB on one of the largest school bus electrification projects. It will be interesting to watch how they differentiate their offering against Fermata Energy, which is developing V2X in the passenger EV market. 

12.      Inspiration Mobility – a Washington DC-based startup largely in stealth has branded as an EV-only Fleet Management Company (eFMC). Backed by Macquarie Asset Management, they finance customer vehicles and charging infrastructure. 

13.       Lightning eMotors – in addition to manufacturing class 3-8 commercial EVs, this Colorado-based company also provides white labeled charging solutions under the brand Lightning Energy. This includes Level 2 AC and DCFC, CaaS and mobile charging to avoid stranded vehicles.

14.       MoveEV – this Boston-based startup launched in 2021 offers software and services for fleet and other adjacent markets. They have an AI-backed fleet conversion, planning, and management software platform that enables fleet operators to develop an ICE-to-EV conversion plan, get help with incentives and financing, report on emissions reduction, and plan for future charging infrastructure needs. They are working with Easthampton, MA municipality to electrify all city-owned vehicles.

15.       Motiv Power Systems – mostly focused on electrifying class 4-6 delivery vehicles, their Motiv Energy service (that I was a founding member of), offers EverCharge Level 2 and 3 charging stations. The turnkey charging solution was developed as a one-stop shop for fleets without in-house electrification expertise.

16.       NextEra Mobility (formerly eIQ Mobility) - provides EV and charging solutions for public and commercial fleets. At ACT, they participated in a panel, “Publicly Accessible Fleet Charging,” and currently offer infrastructure design, on-site charging (depots), off-site charging (for high-density metro areas), and major transportation corridors and operations and management.

17.       Proterra – in addition to manufacturing electric transit buses, the publicly-held company provides fleet planning services, installation, DCFC in ranges from 60 to 1,440 kW, energy management, as well as a full turn-key solution.

18.       Qmerit – the only nationwide network of certified electricians and EV installation services, offers the Charge@Home for Fleets solution and is designed for light-duty drivers, such as the above mentioned pharma reps.

19.       Rhythmos – this 2022-founded Colorado-based company, in addition to fleet management capabilities delivers managed charging, a strategy that extends total charging time to reduce vehicles’ peak electricity demand and thereby also reducing costs.

20.       Shoals Technologies Group – a solar company that also recently became an EV charging infrastructure enabler, announced a partnership with Brookfield Renewable Energy to launch their CaaS solution. Removing the upfront barrier of access to capital and stabilizing costs is especially helpful for enterprises without the appetite for large capex outlays. A few months ago, they announced an EV Charging with solar + storage offering, in essence a microgrid solution aimed at insulating fleets from surges in electricity prices – as well as outages. They also partnered with Autel Energy to develop an above-ground EV Charging balance of system solution.

21.   TeraWatt Infrastructure – this $1B-funded California startup finances, develops, owns and operates electric vehicle charging assets. They announced their intention to site, develop, and operate multiple charging centers for heavy-duty electric trucks across the state’s Interstate 10 highway.

22.   The Mobility House – the California arm of German parent diligently working with school bus fleets, best known for delivering smart charging and energy management services, is piloting a number of V2G deployments. They also help amortize electrification capex by providing CaaS to fleets that offers a predictable cost, and the only company that provides a helpful framework on their website.

23.   Voltera – the newly launched company that sites, builds, owns, and operates EV charging facilities. Recently they announced the acquisition of a three-story parking garage in San Francisco, to serve a specific, yet-unnamed customer operating a light-duty fleet which is slated to come online in early 2024, and will feature 40 DCFC stalls. “Providing turnkey EV charging solutions that enable businesses to rapidly scale EV fleets without investing significant time and upfront capital” may be a beneficial feature for fleets; however, how they price and operate these facilities to turn a profit themselves is still to be determined.

24.   Zeem – this Inglewood, CA-based company provides electric truck and bus fleets with depot solutions and FaaS.

25.   Zemetric – currently in stealth mode, is “Innovating for the fleet of the future.” I’m personally excited to see what this team of industry veterans is developing, what fleet electrification ailment they will tackle, and how their solution will be differentiated.

26.   WattEV - this Long Beach, CA-based startup who is working with CharIN on testing charging interoperability during their Vehicle Interoperability Testing Symposium (VOLTS), announced that it will be building a nationwide network of heavy-duty charging facilities to serve fleets of electric trucks, starting with a 26-truck plaza at the Port of Long Beach. They are also taking part in the North American Council for Freight Efficiency’s (NACFE) and RMI’s Run on Less – Electric DEPOT (RoL-E DEPOT) campaign.  

27.   Zerova Technologies – a subsidiary of Phihong, debuted stand-alone 480kW DC charger w/ 4 dispensers nicknamed the “Beast.” Adapting hardware to local standards and localizing installation could be some of the challenges faced by early adopters, however, they could also benefit from features gleaned from mass adoptions.

28.   Xos Trucks – unveiled the 390 kWh mobile battery that delivers DC charging to trucks, can optimize energy usage by re-charging during off-peak times when demand charges are low. It is part of the Xos Energy Solutions suite that provide infrastructure and software to enable an all-in-one approach to fleet electrification.

While vehicle considerations are important, they need to be included alongside charging infrastructure decisions, and ideally early on in the discovery period. Most fleets that are depot-based and depend on vehicle battery capacity will require Level 2 AC charging. The ability to manage, schedule, participate in utility programs and incentives, and tap into renewable energy, storage or microgrids are some of the other aspects of charging that fleet operators need to consider.

Are there any other charging infrastructure companies serving the fleet market that should be added to this list?

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About the author: Joanna Hamblin specializes in developing integrated, creative, results-driven marketing and go-to-market strategies for leading cleantech, grid edge, EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) and eMobility companies.

Most recently Joanna led NAM eMobility Marketing for Schneider Electric, where she defined the application roadmap, marketing strategy and execution plan for a holistic, end-to-end hardware, software and app offering for residential, building and fleet segments. Prior, as a Sr. Marketing Manager at Motiv Power Systems, a sustainable technology company delivering all-electric medium-duty trucks and buses, she was responsible for all aspects of marketing. She also helped launch Motiv Energy, a one-stop-shop solution for fleets that delivered scalable charging infrastructure and asset monetization. Prior to joining Motiv, Joanna was the Head of Marketing at FreeWire Technology, a leading provider of battery-integrated DCFC (Direct Current Fast Charging) solutions for public and fleet segments. Preceding, Joanna was the Global Director of Marketing at Power Standards Lab, a leader in power quality and energy monitoring devices, a Marketing Manager at Gridco Systems, a DER (Distributed Energy Resources) integrator for electric power distribution utilities, and a Marketing Communications Manager at Ambient Corporation, a developer of smart grid communications infrastructure. Joanna holds a Master of Liberal Arts in Sustainability and Environmental Management, from Harvard University Extension School, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Finance from Northeastern University. Joanna is fluent in English and Polish.