In the zeal and excitement over the growth of electric vehicles, early buyers tend to forget they are nothing new. EVs are a century old. In fact, the were among the first propelled cars.
EVs date to the early 1900s when a 1914 Detroit electric car could travel 80 miles on a single charge, and it was a favorite of Clara Ford, the wife of Henry Ford. A decade earlier, the highest speed clocked was 120 mph on an electric 1902 Baker Torpedo.
EV expert and advocate Kristin Slanina made that historical point clear up front in her Aug. 18 keynote presentation during the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance Summer Roundtable in Nashville, Tennessee.
What’s new 100+ years later is the market and governmental demand for EVs along with a torrent of technological advances.
“EV technology has reached an inflection point with new vehicle EV sales reaching 5% (of market share),” said Slanina, the chief innovation officer of ParkMyFleet and managing director of the Charge Across America EV race. “The adoption rate has been the mark of rapid growth to come ahead.”
Fleets Ready to Electrify First
Fleets are ideal operations for embracing electrification, Slanina said, such as being able to take advantage of managed energy usage. “All a fleet must do is pick the vehicle types they want, and then match them to the right charging system. The charge type can be integrated into the fleet.”
Fleets of varying sizes can share parking lots and charging facilities set up for multi-tenant and customer uses, Slanina said. Such facilities can be coupled with an array of EV fleet-related services, such as cleaning, maintaining, repairing, and parking EVs. This also enables fleet operations to find the greenest energy at the lowest cost. “There are not enough skill sets for each company to do it on their own and figure it out,” Slanina said. “You cannot replicate so quickly. You need economies of scale.”
8 Ways Fleets Can Adapt to EVs and Make Them Work
- Onsite renewable energy sources and power generation.
- Energy storage systems
- Bi-directional charging capability and V2G
- Software that optimizes V2X (vehicle to everything) and energy arbitrage
- End-to-end fleet services
- Energy type agnostic: Optimized for each site
- Software predictive analytics: energy management, digital twin, etc.
- Battery second life use cases and recyclability
“We need to be more efficient about how we do everything,” Slanina said. “Should a car sit in the garage 90% of the time? That is a wasted asset.” Most people only drive about 40 miles per day on average.
Charging Reliability Obstructs Faster Electrification
A major challenge for EVs now is the varying reliability of chargers. Some are slow or disconnected. There is clearly not enough availability for mass adoption. The Charge Across America proved firsthand how many charging voids or “deserts” exist across the U.S., with one of the largest being the 162 miles between Colorado Springs and Durango, Colorado.
“We really need to make sure the standards and software help with the reliability,” Slanina said. “If we just keep putting chargers out there, and don’t change others, we will have a high percentage (50%) not working at any one time.” So far, Tesla is the only automaker with seamless journey charging.”
One breakthrough would be if all chargers were made with a single-size connector and plug types, just like single size fuel pump nozzles, Slanina said.
“We have a lot to do for mass adoption,” Slanina said. “Fleets are the gem because they are centrally maintained and managed. So how do we create an end-to-end ecosystem for fleets? How do we have onsite renewable power generation and microgrids? We need onsite battery storage for the energy.”
Slanina predicted batteries will become longer-lasting and more reliable, adding that the solid-state batteries now in development show much more potential that lithium-ion batteries.
She advised that charging a battery to 80% is ideal since beyond that point the charging slows to protect the battery. Charging to 80% minimizes the time needed to charge and over time protects the battery.
Batteries will be a major predictor of used EV resales and values. Slanina outlined some key points to help consignors, auctions and dealers rate used electric vehicles:
Questions to Prepare for When Selling a Used EV
- Does it have a certified battery status?
- How much longer will the warranty last on the battery (age/mileage)?
- Can I perform an analysis of the battery?
- How much performance has the battery already lost?
- What type of plug/connector does the car take?
- Check the brakes: Have rust deposits formed on the brakes? (EVs are usually heavier than ICEs).
- Check the tires: Due to the rapid acceleration of EVs, tires may wear more rapidly, depending on the driving style.
EV 101 FOR REMARKETERS
Throughout her presentation, Slanina summed up the state of electrification with a simple, EV 101 approach that laid the groundwork for wider understanding of EVs among remarketers:
Electrified Vehicle Types
- Mild hybrid EV: Ice combustion engine efficiency through taking on load of ancillary power (HVAC, stop/start, coasting). It cannot operate on electricity. Battery size: 48 volts. MPGe: 35+. Electrified range: 2 miles.
- Hybrid EV: Recharges battery only through regenerative braking. Battery size: 10 kWh. MPGe: 50+. Electrified range: 20 miles.
- Plug-in Hybrid: Option for battery being charged through regeneration and plugged in. Battery size: 20-40 kWh. MPGe: 60+. Electrified range: 15-30 miles.
- Battery EV (BEV): The battery is the only source of the powertrain. It needs to be plugged in to charge. Battery size: 60-100 kWh. MPGe: 100+. Electrified range: 200-350 miles.
Charging Speeds and Types
- Level 1: Takes 30-40 hours to charge a 60 kWh EV with AC current output of 110-120 input volts.
- Level 2: 2.5-4.5 hours to charge a 60 kWh EV with DC current of 208-240 input volts.
- Level 3: 30-40 minutes of charging time with DC current of 480-900 input volts.
Future EV Potential Escalates
When comparing EVs with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, the first-year costs for a Tesla Model 3 are projected to equal $18,900 with the higher depreciation of EVs offsetting the higher gas costs for Camry.
Overall, the Tesla beats the Camry if charging costs are managed. Think more of cost per mile to compare EV v. ICE. More accurate comparison.
The next major EV product predicted for 2025 is the connected, semi-autonomous, all-electric vehicle. EVs will constantly evolve with technological advances, Slanina said. “It’s not complicated, just different. As one door closes, another opens. Lookout for the opportunity.”