Our website uses cookies, including third parties’ profiling cookies, to improve your user experience. You can learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookies settings in our Privacy Policy. By closing this message, clicking below or continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.

Powering Electric Fleets With Track Busway

As the global trend toward sustainability and reducing carbon emissions continues to gain steam, electric vehicles are seen as a solution for businesses looking to do their part.

Penske Truck Leasing recently added 100 new trucks to its fleet in its effort to reach a fully electric fleet. Class 6 vehicles built for commercial use, the Xos Stepvans are 100% battery powered and range from 16 to 18 feet. Penske is hardly alone as businesses from Burger King to Amazon.com have also announced plans to either switch to all-electric fleets or add EVs to their ranks. Similarly, the state of New Mexico will transition to an all EV fleet under an executive order signed earlier this month.

This is only the beginning, too, as nine states — led by California — are beginning to ban the sale of gas-powered cars, trucks and SUVs in the coming years, and more could follow suit. Those changes could alter the landscape for professional fleet managers when it comes to keep the wheels moving, regardless of a company’s sustainability goals. Everything from forklifts to skid steers and semi-trucks is available as an electric vehicle now. Regulations and other factors notwithstanding, the biggest challenge facing those who have already and those who will make EVs all or part of their fleet is a dearth of charging stations. While governments and EV manufacturers do their parts to bridge the gap and make charging as convenient as filling up a gas tank, fleet managers can take advantage of the unique features of an IP54-rated track busway to power their EVs without making massive investments in infrastructure, facilities or real estate to meet their needs.

Fleet Managers New Challenge: Making Sure EVs Are Charged

With traditional gas-powered vehicles, day-to-day maintenance demanded the most attention from fleet managers; however, for those with EV fleets, that has changed to managing the charging of company vehicles. A lack of home and depot charging stations is the cause of the problem, forcing companies to rely on public infrastructure that is lacking. One of the complications they face is not just finding a charging station but identifying bays large enough for company vans. Installation of on-site charging stations could alleviate many of these issues, but several factors need to be taken into consideration. The cost for a Level 3 EV charging station can range from $50,000 to $100,000. One station is insufficient to meet the power needs of all but the smallest of fleets, and those capital costs add up quickly. Level 2 and Level 1 charging stations can be installed for less, but they lack the ability to charge vehicles quickly.

All three come with the potential need to install new infrastructure and the costs associated with that. Tearing up concrete and trenching to install pipe and wire infrastructure will not only add to the cost of charging stations but also create headaches on the locations where construction occurs. That’s not to mention the matter of scalability. Most companies employing electric vehicles do not change over to them all at once — it’s a gradual process that happens as older vehicles are retired and replaced with EVs. A business may start out with 10 EVs on its way to having 1,000 and everything in between. The best way to meet a growing demand for EV charging infrastructure is to have a solution that can grow with the fleet without breaking ground each time another charger is needed. Likewise, charging stations should be flexible enough to accommodate all types of vehicles and sizes, from forklifts to heavy trucks. Charger pedestals and wall mounts lack both the flexibility and scalability needed to meet the demand for a growing and diversified fleet of EVs.

A Flexible Solution: The Series-S Track Busway

The versatility, robustness and scalability of track busways, particularly Starline’s Series-S, are ideally suited to develop EV charging infrastructure. Most businesses already have facilities dedicated to their fleets. A major benefit of a busway system is that it can be retrofitted to existing structures and deployed in parking areas designated for company vehicles. The IP54 rating ensures that our track busway can be implemented in areas where additional water, dust or other contaminants are present, including outdoor applications. With section lengths manufactured to custom specifications and overhead, wall-mount and rack mounting options available, Series-S reduces installation time and labor compared to busduct as well as pipe and wire products. The multiple mounting options provide flexibility for a wide range of charging stations.

The Series-S track busway is the ultimate solution for fleet managers making the transition to EVs. It meets all the requirements to power an electric fleet of any size — including those experiencing or that will experience growth — without major investments or reconfiguration of existing spaces. To find out more about the Series-S, contact a Legrand representative or download our white paper on the subject here.