There’s no longer any room for doubt – electric vehicles (EVs) are here to stay. Automotive-industry reporting has shown record sales of EVs in China, the US and Europe for 2021 so far, and companies with giant fleets like Amazon, UPS and FedEx are already starting to convert their gas-powered vehicles over to electric ones.
All this takes place against a backdrop of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation under the Biden administration pushing for an ambitious clean-energy plan, wherein 40% of all new-vehicle sales would be electric by 2030.
But while automotive trends, corporate decision-making and government pressure is skewing toward more electrification, many companies who want to invest further in these vehicles are considering how to successfully transport them while keeping them in the best-possible shape.
ACERTUS’ team has identified a number of key factors automakers, retailers and other companies with fleets must take into account when developing a plan to move, store and care for EVs.
Storage and Charging Locations Must Be Considered in Advance
Planning ahead is a critical part of having a successful EV-transportation strategy. Because EVs need a place where they can be parked and charged securely, and ideally out of the extreme hot or cold weather, storage facilities often come into play with EV transports. Typically, it’s best practice for EVs to charge overnight or when not in use (such as between transports). Companies must take into consideration where their EVs can be stored, as well as how and where charging will occur. Typically, it’s best practice for EVs to charge overnight or when not in use (such as between transports). Companies must take into consideration where their EVs can be stored, as well as how and where charging will occur.
If companies with EV fleets have access to a hub-and-spoke type of storage system — where they can have their vehicles moved to a storage site and charged before they are ever delivered or before they reach a final stop — this can help keep transports moving efficiently. Not only does such a model prove useful for EV fleets that must be well-charged to keep up their day-to-day operations, but it can also be ideal for retailers hoping to deliver fully charged or near-fully charged EV purchases to their customers.
Since charging stations are often few and far between, particularly in more rural or remote areas, companies may want to arm their drivers with a plan on how best to keep the EVs charged throughout the transport process. They could provide drivers with a set of directions on where to go for public charging stations, or better yet, equip them with fast chargers to be used on-the-go whenever battery charge dips too low. However, certain EV models require very specific types of chargers and may not be able to accept charge from public stations. As such, it’s important for drivers and carriers to be aware of any specific EV-model needs before moving forward with a transport.
When it comes to an overall strategy for properly storing and charging EVs mid-transport or between transports, the bottom line is that there must be a plan in place that can both mitigate unnecessary delays and ensure EVs are consistently kept within an ideal battery range.
A Driver’s Role May Change Somewhat with EVs
While the same basic requirements of driving or hauling a vehicle are the same when it comes to EVs, some of the tasks associated with day-to-day upkeep are quite a bit different. It’s crucial that all drivers or carriers responsible for transporting EVs know the basics when it comes to caring for them and successfully moving them from one place to the next.
Certainly, one of the biggest differences between an EV and a fuel-based vehicle comes down to charging versus fueling up. While drivers can sometimes get away with waiting until a fuel-based vehicle is near empty before filling up the tank, this is not recommended when it comes to charging EVs. Actually, best practice for EVs is not to charge them to full capacity unless going on a longer trip, while also not letting them get too close to zero charge. Ideally, most EVs will stay charged within a range of about 20 and 80% at all times, except when drivers need the full range of the vehicle.
Charging can sometimes prove difficult, depending where the vehicle is being driven, as there are far fewer charging stations than gas station across the country. Drivers will have the most luck finding charging stations in busy urban areas — but, ultimately, they must have an overall charging plan before they ever begin transporting, so they don’t run too low on power at an inopportune time or find themselves in a charging desert. Additionally, drivers should know enough about the particular EVs they’re driving to know whether they can be charged by any public charger or only certain types.
Keeping the battery in top shape is absolutely critical when it comes to properly caring for an EV. Both repeatedly charging the battery to 100% and letting it get to zero charge will wear down the car’s battery over time. And because extreme heat can degrade the battery, and extreme cold can reduce the EV battery’s range, drivers should pay attention to temperature and try to keep any stored vehicles in a climate-controlled location whenever possible. For EVs, garages are always more ideal than open lots where there can be multiple hours of hot sun or extreme-cold weather.
Most importantly, drivers must pay close attention to the EVs they’re transporting. If anything seems off with the vehicle, or if an issue arises, they must get the vehicle to a technician that can assist with EV maintenance and repairs.
Stay on Top of EV Compliance, Even as It’s Evolving
EV compliance standards are by no means set in stone. In fact, they’re still evolving, and compliance experts are working to keep up with ever-changing regulations at the federal and state levels. But despite all this, it’s still crucial for companies to stay up-to-date on their vehicles’ compliance needs at all times, even if those vehicles are electric.
Crucially, any states that have Highway Use Taxes (HUT) or Weight/Mile Taxes for commercial vehicles also apply those same taxes to EVs. With taxes like these, mileage must be tracked for EVs just as it is for all other vehicles in those areas.
Tracking gets a bit more complicated when it comes to the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). Because EVs don’t require fuel and cannot be taxed based on gallons of fuel consumed, these standards don’t apply in the same way. At the moment, most states are working out how they should determine IFTA standards for EVs going forward. While states are currently still requiring IFTA stickers for heavy EVs, there is not an official filing procedure or any official requirements for these vehicles as of yet.
Ideally, companies investing in commercial EVs should come up with a game plan on how best to track mileage for these vehicles. That way, they can use it for any HUT or Weight/Mile Taxes, and they’ll have that mileage already in case it ever becomes necessary for IFTA. Additionally, it’s also considered best practice for companies with EVs to keep track of all charging times by maintaining records by kW/h and developing a list of all charging locations their EVs use.
If companies with EVs take the time now to maintain clear records on mileage, charging locations and charging times for their zero-emissions vehicles, they’ll be well-positioned in the near future when states start mandating more specific compliance standards.
ACERTUS as Your EV Logistics Partner
Vehicle-logistics provider ACERTUS has already started making investments to ensure it can successfully handle EV transportation and logistics. It has charging infrastructure — both stationary and fast-charging, on-the-go equipment — so its drivers and carriers can move, store and properly care for their auto partners’ EVs. ACERTUS’ team is currently partnering with its clients and auto partners to identify key areas across North America where in-storage charging stations will be essential to their success.
Already, ACERTUS has more than 55 highly secure and well-positioned storage locations throughout North America. All locations offer in-storage vehicle maintenance and service, including car detailing, mechanical repairs, windshield repairs, body work and more.
In addition to repairs, recharging or care and maintenance work, ACERTUS’ team can also assist auto partners and their stakeholders with vehicle title-and-registration and compliance services. These services can even be done while vehicles are in storage, ensuring they’re made fully ready-to-drive and compliant before they ever leave the facility and reach their final destination.
Learn more about ACERTUS’ services for all vehicles — whether fuel-based, electric, hybrid or anything else — including its full range of shipping and logistics solutions, at https://acertusdelivers.com. To connect with one of our team members or receive a pricing quote, contact us here or call us at: 855-ACERTUS (855-223-7887).