The first mass generation of electric fleet vehicles will be hitting consignors and auctions full force in the next few years with a need to find the best ways to value, price and safely process the vehicles to new owners.
A keynote presentation at the IARA Summer Roundtable is sure to jump start that industry conversation on Aug. 18, as speaker Kristin Slanina will provide an overview and orientation for electric vehicles as they relate to auctions. It will include what users and businesses need to know before transitioning fleets to electric vehicles, and will cover the latest developments in EVs, battery assessments, and resale prospects.
“I’ll talk about all the things I know that directly affect their businesses,” said Slanina, the chief innovation officer of ParkMyFleet and managing director of the Charge Across America EV race. “Most people don’t know much yet at this point about electric vehicles and how fast its components are changing.”
Among the many questions facing consignors and auctions are how to arrange analytic assessments of EVs, determine battery conditions, gauge transport costs and servicing, and understand the safety issues of EVs versus those of internal combustion engine vehicles.
Slanina, who has decades of experience in the areas of mobility, powertrain engineering, electric vehicles, and advanced technologies, is scheduled to speak Thursday, Aug. 18, at 1:15 p.m. during the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance Summer Roundtable being held at the Hilton Nashville Downtown, Aug. 16-18. Her presentation is titled, “The Reality vs. the Dream: How Do We Get There from Here?”
EV Battery Assessments
One overriding challenge for consignors and auctions is coming up with reliable and consistent standards for evaluating and then valuing the battery of an EV. In assessing the quality of an EV, auction evaluators could face the issue of a 2013 MY electric vehicle with only 20,000 miles being worn out, whereas an EV with many more miles may have a sound battery after 10 years, Slanina said. It will take training to discern the quality of a vehicle with different variables.
Then there is the basic matter of how to drive smoothly while using regenerative braking, a skill Slanina mastered last December by being part of a team that drove a Tesla 3,300 miles across the country as part of the Charge Across America competition. She will share some insights from her firsthand experiences with electric vehicles.
“The longevity of the battery depends on charging. With an EV you wouldn’t fill all the way up. So much depends on how the person treated the vehicle and charged it.”
During the Charge Across American event, Slanina and the competing teams stress tested the electric vehicles. The event coincided with the 30th anniversary of Slanina test driving an early solar-powered car created at MIT. It served as a catalyst for the CAA competition.
In the Charge Across America race, teams drove a Polestar, a two Porsche Taycans, a VW ID4, a Ford Mustang Mach E, an Audi e-Tron, and a Tesla lead vehicle. While racing from New York to Los Angeles, the teams had to factor in charging times and locations and optimize the time spent charging. Drivers could earn efficiency points as extra credit, deciding whether to keep the miles or use the points for extra stops, Slanina explained.
The teams discovered plenty of mishaps and problems along the way, such downloading apps for payments and accurately finding chargers.
“We should have one connector, like one gas pump standard,” Slanina said. Although the teams made it across the U.S., “the state of charging conditions is not ready for mass adoption,” she said.
However, fleets face easier circumstances since they have more control over vehicle usage, routes, and duty cycles. Companies should focus on those EV fleet deployments that suit their business models, Slanina said. Parkmyfleet, for example, wants to ease the transition by generating power at its sites from a microgrid. The company plans to have its EV charging site established by the end of the year.
“You can create the system and fix it and maintain it,” she advises fleet operators. “You don’t have the same problems as with the race.”
Power Sources & Data Analytics
The transition to electrification should not depend entirely on the power grid, Slanina advised. “We are really smart as a society and can figure out creative ways to work around the grid. A micro-grid is doable.”
One way to enhance charging availability is to make every electric vehicle’s battery pack an extension of the power grid via bi-directional charging and energy arbitrage, she said.
“We have an amazing opportunity to augment our grid,” she said. “Most cars sit 95% of time unused. The average mileage is 40 per day. You can charge sustainably and charge back to the grid, with vehicle to vehicle charging as well.”
On a topic of interest to remarketers, Slanina advises that resale values of EVs now are high because of the unusually tight vehicle market. Buyers and sellers should not view them as the norm in five years.
“Five years from now, we will know a lot more about battery longevity,” she said. “If we can validate battery conditions, that will build (market) confidence. Maybe as a nation we can have a battery efficiency rating that is more accurate than an odometer reading.”
Such advances as cumulative data, predictive analytics, A.I. and machine learning could all contribute to accurately evaluating a battery condition and metrics. Slanina will update the audience on analytics and predictive analytics. “We have great tools with many start-up companies working in the EV space.
“We won’t get mass adoption if EVs are not better that what they are replacing,” she said. “We need to get the energy and ask how can we change people’s behavior today for the better and what would that look like?”