Energy Management in Fleet Electrification: a Custom Software Perspective

S44, A Digital Experience Company
12 min readAug 31, 2023

Fleet electrification is breaking new ground in efficient transportation as we head toward a more sustainable and profitable future. Every year, electric vehicles (EVs) have a greater financial advantage over their traditional, fossil-fuel-based counterparts.

There are a lot of complex calculations underpinning the success of today’s EVs. This is where custom software can step in to handle the challenging tasks of load management and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.

Custom software from S44 is behind many of the current developments in fleet electrification. A fleet-tracking application lets operators track their vehicles in real-time — optimizing fleet utilization and routes as well as cutting unnecessary fuel use. This technology supports the effectiveness of EV fleets, and it can also strengthen your business’s fleet management capabilities.

Current State of Fleet Electrification

The transportation industry is in the middle of a huge transformation — but where is it going? Fortunately, heading for greener pastures, where sustainability is front and center.

The sea change toward electric vehicles is driving a massive reduction in carbon emissions. This is accompanied by equally large gains in operational efficiency. EVs simply put less of a burden on the planet and on your budget.

In the last few years, fleet electrification has progressed from a far-fetched dream to one of the most exciting developments of our era. These advances encompass both the economy and the environment. And although electrification still has some way to go, tremendous innovations are happening all the time.

Many companies reach for the financial and environmental benefits of fleet electrification; however, not all make it beyond the challenges. This exciting transition carries its share of risks and uncertainties, which must be overcome to keep pace with the shifting tides.

For this reason, fleet managers are increasingly turning to sophisticated software platforms like S44’s Fleet View. The secure custom software makes it easy to see what’s going on with an entire fleet of electric vehicles. In fact, each vehicle’s history and location are visible — and able to integrate with online maps. This is the type of data that helps to cut delivery times.

Over a million commercial EVs are already on the roads. This figure includes buses, trucks, and more. Because EVs cost about 40% less to operate than vehicles with a conventional combustion engine, the economic advantages of fleet electrification make ongoing growth near-inevitable. And while 12% of organizations have already started going electric, a further 86% are actively considering it.

Understanding Fleet Electrification: Paving the Way for Sustainable Transportation

Fleet electrification is the act of upgrading from vehicles powered by fossil fuels to those powered by electric drivetrains. It’s a process that’s been in the works for a long time. Electric cars competed against combustion engines back in the 1800s. Then, fossil fuels proved more practical. Today, it’s a whole different story, with electric technology having become orders of magnitude more efficient. Environmental concerns have also grown over the intervening decades, further fueling the meteoric rise of EVs.

As companies lessen their dependence on fossil fuels such as gas and diesel, they’re also seeing lower costs. EVs are simple to maintain and affordable to charge. And as the technology becomes ever-more mainstream, fleet operators have begun realizing its multiple benefits.

Fleet electrification pertains to a diverse set of vehicles. It encompasses everything from passenger cars and vans to buses and trucks of all sizes. While the smaller vehicles were among the earliest to undergo electrification, this trend is now extending to even the largest vehicles. It’s hard to overestimate the scale of this revolution as it fundamentally alters the business and technology of fleets.

Benefits and Challenges of Electrifying Vehicle Fleets

Fleet electrification’s two main benefits lie in decreasing costs and preserving the environment. Specifically, EVs slash fuel and maintenance costs. That’s because batteries run a lot more efficiently than internal combustion engines.

That same efficiency is what reduces electric vehicle emissions. They don’t emit tailpipe pollutants or loud noises like combustion engines. And the electricity generation at the plant is far more eco-friendly than inefficient combustion, often coming from clean renewables such as solar and wind.

Fleet electrification also contributes to corporate sustainability goals. Aside from the environmental benefits, this process also burnishes the company’s reputation with its customers. More people than ever are expressing concern about the environment, and they’ll likely also evaluate businesses on the basis of behaviors like gas versus electric vehicles.

Despite their many positive paybacks, electric vehicles also face specific challenges, one being charging infrastructure limitations. There aren’t as many public charging stations for EVs as there are gas stations, and not all fleet operators have their own charging stations.

Another difficulty facing those undertaking fleet electrification is the limited range of EVs. These vehicles cover less distance than their combustion cousins before needing a refill. For many operators, this doesn’t pose a challenge as the range of these vehicles is sufficient for their needs. Nonetheless, electric fleets still lean heavily on optimized route planning, and custom software is up to the task!

Perhaps the main obstacle for fleet electrification is the relatively high upfront cost of acquiring vehicles. EVs do generally cost more to purchase than those running on fossil fuels. That said, EVs also have lower total costs due to their substantially lower operating costs. As such, the higher initial capital expenses should only deter the smallest companies that can’t afford the long-term benefits of electrification.

Load Management: Optimizing Power Usage in Electrified Fleets

One of the interesting things about fleet electrification is how the vehicles draw power from the grid. Using this power efficiently is a vital element in sustainability and business success. Load management entails the careful arrangement of electrical use to minimize the economic and ecological tolls.

With appropriate load management, the electrical grid stays resilient. This means balancing when and where fleets charge vehicles. By optimizing power usage, you can boost the performance and extend the lives of your electric vehicles while cutting expenses. Essentially, power goes where it does the most good for the least cost.

Of course, optimizing power usage isn’t quite so simple in practice, and it’s not a task that can be done effectively by hand. Thankfully, there are custom software applications catering explicitly to electric vehicle fleets. These take into account the relevant factors and make unmatched data-driven decisions.

Custom load management software is based on data science and employs the latest algorithms and machine learning to create just the right charging schedules. Moreover, these computations all happen automatically within the software.

Fleet managers can use this software technology to achieve optimal load management. For instance, they’ll use electricity when it costs less and conserve resources when the price is higher. Not only does this process save money, it also safeguards valuable resources for future generations.

S44 develops custom software for electric vehicle charging networks, with purpose-built functionality that serves operators’ unique needs. An easy-to-grasp user interface simplifies use of the system. It’s an adjustable solution that’s able to grow as your charging network grows. Moreover, it’s just as easy to upgrade with entirely new functionality as the market evolves.

What is Load Management and Why It Matters

Load management is all about the balancing of electricity use. In the context of fleet electrification, this means charging at opportune moments. By spreading out energy demand, you can avoid putting excess pressure on the electrical grid.

When executed well, load management keeps the fleet running efficiently in terms of performance and cost — and that’s in addition to its stabilizing effect on the grid and how it helps conserve natural resources. Because utilities appreciate this and other advantages of electric vehicles, in some cases they’ll even subsidize the acquisition of EVs and charging infrastructure.

Custom software has an important part to play in combining disparate charging hardware. This enables monitoring of your fleet, status alerts, and streamlined energy management. Furthermore, the code can be tailored to maintain vehicles in a charged state, according to your fleet’s precise needs.

Custom Software Solutions for Efficient Load Management in Electric Vehicle Fleets

The challenges of load management in electric fleets are quite domain-specific, meaning that they’re liable to benefit from custom software. By utilizing S44’s custom solutions, fleet operators can better manage their load management processes.

This can be done in several ways. For example, real-time monitoring, where S44’s custom software delivers full visibility. This involves live monitoring and the ability to receive role-based alerts. As a result, it’s easy to keep the fleet under control.

S44’s software delivers a seamless charging experience for fleet owners, as well as simplifying the charging experience for fleet drivers. Operators know their EV fleets are fully charged and ready to go when needed.

The automatic charging functionality analyzes current electricity rates, vehicle charge status, fleet size, and many other data points. It uses custom code to determine the most efficient charging schedules — saving you time, money, and effort.

Another exciting advantage is that S44’s software is highly integrated with grid-enhancing technologies. Vehicle-grid integration (VGI) brings together EVs with grid infrastructure, hardware, and software. It minimizes the impact of the mass shift to electric vehicles on the grid. Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) is a related technology that lets EVs feed power into the grid.

Integration of electric vehicles with the grid is a timely advance. As the US rolls out its national charging network and other countries also migrate to EVs, there’s additional strain on the grid, with depots charging more vehicles of all classes. This is a game-changing transition that will put more green in the bank … and in the environment.

S44’s custom software simplifies the development and implementation of smart EV charging, managing energy transfers between electric vehicles and the grid to enhance reliability. For grid stakeholders, this prevents outages. For fleet operators, this means it’s easy to connect the benefits of electrification with your existing systems.

V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid): Harnessing the Power of Bidirectional Energy Flow

As amazing as it is to run vehicles on electricity from the grid, it’s something else to have electric vehicles actually power the grid. Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology does just that. It lets the batteries in EVs send some of their juice to the grid when needed.

With bidirectional energy flow, the electricity can go from vehicles to the grid as well as the reverse. V2G contributes to fleet electrification by making electric vehicles more valuable. Now they can function as battery backups for the entire grid. And that’s on top of their existing jobs in industry!

When demand on the grid is high and electricity prices are steep, EVs come to the rescue. They feed power into the grid to satisfy demand and bring down prices, all while earning a profit. At other times when there’s low grid demand, EVs can charge up on less expensive electricity. The whole process helps load management, evening out the spikes in energy supply and demand.

The numerous advantages of vehicle-to-grid technology encompass relieving electrical grid pressure, stabilizing the grid, and bringing in more renewable energy. Common renewable sources like solar and wind are only available at certain times. V2G lets the grid bank this clean energy for when people need it.

These benefits are good for everyone. Grids can lower their costs and protect themselves against extreme demand. Fleet owners generate revenue while making recharges more economical. Society as a whole gains a greener, cleaner economy with quiet transportation — and remember that custom software enables V2G for fleet electrification.

How Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Works
Source: Shutterstock

How Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Works: Enabling Energy Exchange between Electric Vehicles and the Grid

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology works by reversing the usual connection. So instead of voltage moving an electrical current from the grid into the vehicle’s battery, that battery sends an electrical current back into the grid. This process is what enables bidirectional energy flow.

With V2G in place, vehicles can feed into other users of the grid. It’s sort of like having even more power plants connected to the grid. If someone plugs in a device at another location, that device may be running on power from your fleet’s electric vehicles.

It’s critical for electric vehicles to have enough energy in their batteries for driving. As such, the vehicle-to-grid system works by managing the batteries to route energy where it’s most needed. While fleets have charged cars whenever they need to drive, the grid has electricity available to send to customers.

The technology behind V2G has several components, including software and hardware. Together, the systems detect where power will be required throughout the day, and automatically move electricity from vehicles to the grid at the right moment.

Users just plug an electric vehicle into the appropriately designed V2G charging port — the technology handles the rest. Yet, for all its simplicity, there’s a big downstream impact for users. V2G thus represents an innovative solution for energy management and grid equilibrium.

The Importance of V2G for Users: Maximizing EV Benefits and Grid Stability

Vehicle-to-grid offers substantial advantages for EV users. It creates new revenue streams by allowing EVs to access energy markets while serving the grid. The vehicles supply energy when it’s needed most, balancing the grid in return for revenue.

Because this V2G technology moves energy from EVs at high cost and to EVs at low cost, the net charging expenses are reduced. Moreover, this coincides with the grid’s interests, as energy moves to the grid when demand is high and from the grid when demand is low. The overall result is a more stable grid.

Fleets act as a distributed energy system, with many thousands of vehicles from disparate geographical locations working together as a kind of backup battery system. Normally, utilities spend significant sums of money on battery technology. Thanks to fleet electrification, the grid gains access to huge battery reserves.

Renewable energy is another winner. The sun can only power solar cells during the day — and even then, inconsistently. Likewise, the wind only blows fast enough to power turbines at certain times — again, unpredictably. Batteries can balance out these uneven energy sources, and that’s exactly what V2G provides.

With the backing of EV fleets, grids can up their investments in renewable energy. That’s good news for everyone, considering these sources are clean, inexpensive, and — as “renewable” implies — sustainable over the long term.

V2G technology has a variety of advantages. It reduces grid overload, which occurs when too much demand is placed on the grid at once. It also offers reactive power support and active power regulation. Furthermore, it tracks renewable energy sources while balancing the load andstabilizing current.

As great as this sounds, you’ll need the appropriate software to make it work. Here, S44 seamlessly integrates V2G technology, empowering businesses to maximize the benefits of bidirectional energy flow.

Custom Software for Fleet Electrification

The remarkable benefits of vehicle-to-grid require specialized software and hardware. The latter involves a bidirectional inverter, which converts electrical currents to the right form (AC or DC) for charging either a vehicle or the grid. The solution also relies on custom software like S44’s to incorporate this hardware into the fleet’s existing systems.

S44’s highly integrated software and hardware solutions accelerate the time-to-market for V2G technology. This means your business can start reaping the benefits sooner. Instead of dithering with ill-suited packages or attempting the extremely complex process yourself, a professional system rapidly connects the pieces into a functional whole.

Additionally, S44’s solutions bring together the worlds of operations technologies (OT) and information technologies (IT). How? The software simplifies implementation of smart EV charging and EV/smart-grid integration, allowing you to easily incorporate vehicle-to-grid technology into your operations.

The custom software features a “protocol analyzer” that conducts in-depth analysis of V2G communication. It employs a non-invasive packet capturing technique to understand activity. This is what lets you monitor and optimize the V2G system — and it’s what makes S44’s custom software the right tool for the job of integrating electric vehicles with the grid. By using code and hardware that maximizes the benefits of bidirectional energy flow, you too can join the smart energy revolution!

The beauty of custom software is that you can use it for any purpose. S44’s capabilities for full cycle software development include design and engineering. It also offers appealing user interfaces that blend with powerful back-ends to realize secure and scalable products.

Optimize Your Fleet Electrification with S44

The transition from fossil fuels to electricity is creating an entirely new transportation landscape. Energy management is now a key consideration for fleet owners as well as utilities. Although EVs promise huge advances for the economy and the environment, all of these depend on technological innovation.

Custom software opens the door to super-efficient load management, where applications measure and adjust the relevant variables to deliver energy where it matters most. Software developers like S44 have the knowledge and resources to build user-friendly programs specifically for the industry. These include vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-grid integration (VGI).

EVs take energy when it’s plentiful and cheap, then return that energy at a profit when it’s scarce and expensive. This bidirectional energy flow makes fleet electrification more productive. At the same time, it can balance out energy grids so they’re stable and efficient. A further benefit is being able to integrate more renewable resources into the grid, creating a cleaner environment for everyone.

It’s a great time to manage and upgrade a fleet. There’s never been so much momentum behind technologies that have such transformative potential. Until recently, industry was bogged down with dirty and costly fossil fuels. Today, companies are vying to become the most sustainable while upping their profit margins.

Fleet electrification is a compelling solution that’s gaining traction. By investing now in custom software solutions, you can optimize power usage and load management to harness the power of vehicle-to-grid technology. And because these solutions help businesses reduce emissions and improve operational efficiency, they’re key to creating a sustainable future.

S44’s custom software solutions can drive the successful adoption of energy management practices and strengthen your own fleet electrification initiatives. Get in touch today and learn how we can help you deliver an optimized digital experience through custom software.

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S44, A Digital Experience Company

A global team of innovators solving complex problems through digital experiences using UX strategy, UI design, and software engineering.