We look at some of the issues around using electric vehicles for our service and maintenance team, and how we’re testing some of the current options.
You may know that as a supplier of EV charging solutions, Metric are already transitioning to electric vehicles for staff where possible, and it’s those words “where possible” that highlight an ongoing problem for us, and perhaps for many other industries in services.
With the sales and management team, being an EV driver is already having a positive impact on our green credentials. It becomes relatively easy (in most cases) for staff to ensure they have enough ‘juice’ to complete the required visits or to schedule a refill stop during the day (making time for a coffee ) either on the way to a meeting or on the way back. Range anxiety among our EV drivers is rapidly disappearing. Often the car will direct you to a nearby charging station, and it’s undeniably good for your mental health to take a little break from driving, or even just give the driver a bit more time to think about that next call. sale before arriving at the appointment. .
This part of the VE the equation works well and ICE cars are replaced as leases are renewed.
However, the other side of the coin is the service and maintenance team. Metric currently has over 40 maintenance employees, each with a vehicle and each covering a varied geographic area.
As a company, we are keen to make the transition to greener vehicles as soon as possible and would like to do so well before the government deadline on ICE vehicles in 2030, so we have launched a feasibility study to assess the suitability of currently available vehicles. utility electric vehicles to see what might meet our needs for the service team.
Issues to study
1: Load capacity
Can an engineer provide a full eight-hour workday on site, without having to recharge?
To make EVs work for us, in this situation, we need to ensure that our service team can get to site without significant delays and can move from job to job, without having to schedule downtimes. significant refills.
2: Impact on working time
What would be the expected “downtime” for a proper load?
If we have to schedule time to recharge, during the day, how many working hours could be lost? and how would this affect our response times to customer calls, ultimately impacting machine downtime and loss of customer revenue?
Essentially, we’re talking small pickups here versus large pickups.
The range expectation for an electric car is generally well documented, but the range of commercial electric vehicles can vary widely, where a key driver of vehicle range is vehicle charging. Vans are of course designed to carry more, with greater capacity than a typical car, and are physically designed to accommodate more. However, the size and weight of the batteries should also be taken into consideration. Some smaller vans have reduced the size and capacity (and therefore the range) of the batteries used, in order to maximize charging capacity in a smaller-bodied vehicle. This means our engineers can be better served by using bigger vans with bigger batteries.
4: Availability of public charging
This is of course where we have a particular interest as Metric helps provide this load Infrastructure. However, at this time it is a special consideration for service teams, especially if an engineer covers a large geographic area.
If an engineer mainly covers an urban area, he may not need to travel outside of that area, and public chargers will never be far away. If however, they cover a larger area, such as Cornwall or Scotland for example, public charging stations may not be easily accessible, particularly during tourist season when there are more visitors to the area.
It may not be possible for every engineer to have a charging station at home, and if they regularly travel long distances and would they need recharge on the waywould these facilities be available?
EV Service Vehicles – Our Feasibility Study
Basically, our study examines whether adopting EVs in our service model works for us, and will it incur additional resource costs due to the productivity impact caused by excessive charging downtime. ?
In addition to the key areas mentioned above, other factors are taken into account, including charging speed and the ability of the battery to handle all types of chargers, including fast ones, and consideration of the use of heaters, sat navs, trackers, charging phones and even charging. drill batteries and test equipment on the go.
All of these issues and more need to be considered before any definitive choices about electric vehicles can be made. However, we still intend to have a full electric fleet by 2025. Battery and electric vehicle technology is still advancing rapidly, and new developments are helping to continually extend the range and durability of vehicles.
We’re only a few weeks into testing at the moment, and early indications show that vehicle range is still an issue for our engineers. There is further testing to be done and we are planning additional training, ensuring that drivers use their vehicles in the most efficient way, as well as training on journeys and rest times etc., all of which could have an impact.
While the current generation of commercial electric vehicles will not provide a solution for all of our engineers, some may be better suited to change than others, and over the next few years we will continue to test and evaluate new solutions as we go. and as they come to market.
We will update our findings as our testing continues.
How does it work for you?
Of course, we would also welcome any input from service organizations that may already be using electric vehicles in their service model, and would welcome suggestions for best practices. Please send your comments to Rob Kinch.
About Metric Group Limited
METRIC is first and foremost a technology company. We design and develop new and innovative solutions for the parking and transport sectors. METRIC has a long history of being at the forefront of design and innovation, our company has produced many firsts from the first ticket dispenser to allow overlapping fares and the first fully electronic desktop calculator to the world’s first electronic payment and display automaton.
We are innovators and early adopters of the latest technologies to deliver the best to our customers. METRIC was the first to develop contactless banking payments on pay parking terminals years before it became a mainstream payment option. This technology was exhibited at CARTES in 2007. Our most recent innovation, the VivoPark METRIC system received the British Parking Award for Parking Technology in 2015.