17 Jul 23

Depot charging – plan for today and tomorrow

The demand for depot charging is currently out-stripping supply, so how can fleet managers ensure sufficient chargers to meet demand now and into the future?

If you cannot wait for a complete depot charging solution, Level 1 charging provides an interim fix. A standard electrical outlet (120 volts) is used to charge EVs. Level 2 charging relies on a dedicated charging station and a 240-volt electrical circuit. Faster than level 1, it can charge multiple vehicles simultaneously. DC Fast Charging (Level 3) is the fastest, most powerful and most expensive.

Technical challenges

Before installing a depot charging solution, there are several factors to consider:

  • The number and type of EVs in your fleet, daily mileage, and charging preferences.
  • Whether the proposed solution can accommodate your EV fleet’s future growth, planning for expansion now is more cost-effective than retrofitting later.
  • Regulation, building codes, and permitting requirements for installing infrastructure.
  • Evaluate upfront costs, ongoing operational expenses, and the charging solution’s potential return on investment (ROI).
  • Select a reliable provider with quality equipment, warranty coverage, and ongoing technical support. 

Key suppliers of depot charging solutions at all levels (as outlined above) include ChargePoint, EVBox, Siemens, ABB and Schneider Electric.

How to calculate the correct number of chargers

Start by determining the number of EVs that require depot charging. Consider daily mileage, charging patterns, and the required range for each. Calculate the charging capacity needed for each vehicle based on battery size, charging efficiency, and desired charging time, using peak timing as a reference for the equation "maximum kWh to be delivered/charging speed." Also consider that not all chargers need to be identical and a combination of high speed and slower chargers might work just as well.

What additional software is required?

Energy management software is essential for optimising power distribution in depots, balancing loads across charging stations, and preventing electrical infrastructure overload. Booking and reservation systems enable drivers to schedule charging slots, avoiding conflicts and ensuring availability. Integration with fleet management facilitates seamless coordination between charging and fleet operations, enabling centralised monitoring, control, and operational planning.

When considering depot charging options, consulting with an electrician or a charging infrastructure provider can help determine the best charging solution for your fleet requirements.

You want to read more?

This article is an extract from the E-Book “E-LCVs and E-Trucks: Trends 2023” which you can download for free from our Knowledge Center!


Picture Credit: Shutterstock 2171607785

Authored by: Yves Helven