Commentary on Geotab’s 2020 EV Fleet Trends Article – Part II

December 3, 2020 1:50 am
Photo of Electric Chargers by Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz

Two weeks ago, we published part one of our commentary on Geotab’s in-depth article, “Electric Vehicle Trends 2020: Top 6 Factors Impacting Fleet Electrification” (https://www.geotab.com/white-paper/electric-vehicle-trends/). Again, the idea was to assess whether each of the trends were evolving as Geotab predicted and, if so, how EVCS was responding to them in the marketplace. Below are the final three trends referenced and our thoughts on each.

(4) Increase in public charger availability and capacity

The Prediction: The assertion here is two-fold: first, that investment in charging infrastructure across the US between 2017 and 2027 will reach $3.5 billion – significant enough to achieve the IEA’s forecast of one public charger for every 10 EVs – and, two, that these chargers will have the capacity to charge buses, medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks. As evidence, it cites that Tesla is developing a charger that would deliver 1.6MW to power semi trucks and that ChargePoint’s four-set interface concept would offer 2MW of combined power sufficient enough for large trucks and aircraft.                                               

The Assessment: According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, 88 of the 100 most populous metro areas in the US had failed by the end of 2017 to install even half the infrastructure required to power the expected three million EVs that will be on the road by 2025. In addition, an Enel X article from last November claims there is only one charging station for every 74 EVs on the road; and while that ratio may have tightened slightly over the last year, it’s still nowhere near the IEA forecast. That said, while we feel public charger availability is still lacking estimated forecasts, we’re optimistic because many fleets use charging stations that are privately owned and maintained rather than publicly, which EVCS has an extensive track record of installing, and these are not necessarily reflected in such estimates. We’re also heartened by the fact that several innovators, most notably NREL, a division of the US Department of Energy, has coordinated several national labs recently in developing megawatt-scale charging infrastructure for larger fleet vehicles.

(5) Collaboration accelerates EV adoption

The Prediction: The idea here is that smaller fleets without sufficient in-house resources or know-how can drive innovation by collaborating with peers who have greater expertise and that such collabo-rations could also result in lower costs through group purchasing opportunities. Geotab uses as an example the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative, where eco-conscious mayors across the country are leveraging their collective buying power to acquire over 2,100 EVs for their municipal fleets by the end of 2020.

The Assessment: Data on whether or not the Climate Mayors collaborative has reached (or nearly reached) their goal isn’t available and the last published media report on the case studies section of their website is from mid-June when 200 fleets in greater Indiana committed to adding 3,500 new EVs in the next year. Such a lull could simply be the result of delayed web updates, but is more likely due to the effects of the pandemic as governments shut down services or tighten finances until a longer-term solution to COVID is found. Regardless of the status of this lone example, we can personally attest to the benefits of collaboration, as EVCS was involved in two such alliances in 2020 alone that is leading to greater EV adoption: our partnership with Noodoe on pioneering network software for chargers and our purchase of the West Coast Electric Highway from Webasto, which lead to our collaboration with the Oregon and Washington DOTs.

(6) EVs to dominate shared mobility services

The Prediction: Taxis, ride hailing and car sharing currently accounts for 5% of the total annual distance driven by passenger vehicles, but is poised to increase nearly four-fold to 19% by 2040, according to BloombergNEF. As EV adoption increases, the share of EVs as a percentage of these vehicles is expected to grow 40 times over by 2040, from just under 2% to nearly 80%. Incentives like financial assistance and short-term lease options offered by ride sharing companies look to accelerate the trend.

The Assessment: This is a long-term prediction that’s really too early to determine. However, ride sharing services have exploded since the widespread adoption of Uber and Lyft a decade ago, and EVs have transgressed into related market sectors like restaurant and grocery delivery and mobile taskers. We wholeheartedly believe that these markets are poised for significant growth as they are shown to provide interrelated benefits to the public-at-large, the environment and corporate profitability. As such, we have marketed heavily to municipalities, private lots and garages, and other businesses that may benefit from the increased presence of EV mobility services.

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