While a growing number of companies have plans for work truck fleet electrification, many are wondering exactly how to go about it. In an April 2022 article in Heavy Duty Trucking, Matt Betz a fleet optimization professional from DTE Energy shared DTE’s detailed plan of how the company is easing electric vehicles, or EVs, into their fleet.
DTE Energy has a goal of replacing 20 to 25 percent of its truck fleet with green technology by 2030. Currently, out of 4700 total vehicles, there are 434 EVs or vehicles with electric parts.
The company is utilizing job site energy management or JEMS, for its bucket trucks. JEMS allow these trucks to work on battery power controlling bucket operation, communications, air conditioning, etc. throughout the workday. A safeguard in the JEMS technology prompts the truck’s engine to kick on if battery power gets low. Though the bucket trucks aren’t electric, JEMS technology makes them 80 to 90 percent as beneficial as an EV.
Communication is Key
Matt Betz emphasizes the importance of keeping everyone in the loop on the fleet electrification process. Mechanics who work with the EVs provide valuable feedback and drivers fill out quarterly surveys on their daily experiences with this technology.
Plotting a Course for Success
A number of factors are examined to ensure every new EV is put in the most appropriate role and paired with the right driver. Plus, drivers are given safety training and instruction on charging practices.
A QR code on the dash of each work truck can be scanned allowing a driver to review short instructional videos. Drivers have access to an app providing locations of charging stations.
Test Driving an EV
DTE sets up opportunities for work truck drivers to get hands-on experience with EVs. This plays an important part in helping drivers feel more at ease as the fleet electrification process rolls on.
Finally, test EVs are labeled and taken out on the road as a way to get the public used to the presence of this new technology.