Depending on your line of work, an electric-powered vehicle might work well for you. Constant stop and go in delivery applications generate power through braking. Running short distances from the shop to the jobsite in a local service industry is another application where electric vehicles (EVs) could easily fit the bill.
Yet there are fleet owners who might be hesitant to incorporate EVs into their fleet, and reasonably. What happens when a dispatcher sends a driver to several more customers than originally intended, putting more miles on the vehicle and more hours on the road? What happens in an emergency situation when a driver has to go far off the designated route because of an accident? It’s uncertainties like these that require more mileage from EVs, and where would one go to recharge if they’re too far from home base? This keeps some fleet managers from converting their fleet. But perhaps there’s a solution to the problem.
Even with the popularity of EVs growing rapidly in an effort to save money and do well by the environment, electric powertrain manufacturers must find ways to give fleet managers and drivers peace of mind no matter what situation they may find themselves. One developer of zero-emission powertrains, Lightning Systems, recently announced a solution to mitigate the woes and anxieties of EVs in emergency situations. The Colorado-based company designs and manufactures zero-emission all-electric powertrains for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles including delivery trucks, shuttle buses, passenger vans, chassis-cab models, and city transit buses.
Lightning Systems’ new Lightning Mobile is a mobile direct current fast charger (DCFC) for electric vehicles for use on the go. Equipped with 192 kWh of high-energy-density, liquid-cooled DC battery storage in a package designed to be installed in a vehicle or trailer for mobile deployment, Lightning Mobile can be rapidly deployed to provide fast roadside charging to support the operation of electric fleet vehicles. The mobile charger also offers the capability to recharge EVs on their routes, similar to the way a fighter aircraft is refueled in-flight. This allows fleets to maximize vehicle uptime.
“Every fleet with electric commercial vehicles will benefit from mobile fast charging,” says Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning Systems. “Uptime is the name of the game for fleets. While operators will schedule vehicle duties to include depot-based charging, there’s always the chance that a vehicle will need a top-up at another location or en route. There is also often the need for DC Fast Charging at locations or times that may not already be permitted for fast chargers or where demand rates would prohibit fast charging direct from the grid. Lightning Mobile fulfills all these needs.”
Lightning Mobile supports commercial and government fleets that operate electric vehicles, providing roadside charging as a “power rescue” vehicle, buffered DCFC during peak hours, and DCFC for locations that do not yet have Level 3 service permitted or installed.
“A recent survey we conducted confirms that many large fleets intend to electrify a majority of their vehicles over the next five years,” Reeser adds. “That equates to thousands of new commercial EVs on the road. These fleets need a solution to ensure they have the charging and support they need for every location and possibility as they ramp up.”
Lightning Mobile is charged from a standard Level 2 AC charger at up to 18kW and can deliver DC Fast Charging at up to 80kW and, optionally, Level 2 AC charging at up to 19.2kW. Lightning Systems designed the system to be installed in its Lightning Electric Transit 350HD cargo van, but the system can be installed in any vehicle or trailer that meets size and weight specifications.
The new mobile electric vehicle charger is specifically designed for commercial electric vehicles, which have high-energy capacities and support DC Fast Charging. The batteries in the Lightning Mobile package share all of the same advanced features as Lightning Systems’ powertrains, including active thermal management for optimum battery performance and longevity, sophisticated management, and safety and telematics/analytics features.
Lightning Mobile also can be used to provide DC Fast Charging from Level 2 AC charging infrastructure, as well as taking advantage of off-peak utility rates by charging Lightning Mobile at low rate times and using it to charge the vehicles at times that suit operations. For those who need mobile charging on a temporary basis or wish to spread the cost over time, rental and leasing options will be available.
If you’re interested in adding a few EVs to your business or converting your entire fleet yet are nervous about what would happen in an emergency situation, the possibility of mobile charging should put your mind at ease. If one of your vehicles is equipped with Lightning Systems’ roadside/parking lot mobile charger, you won’t have to worry about choosing between a customer or sending your drivers home because their vehicle didn’t have enough charge for altered plans.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Lightning Systems designs and manufacturers zero-emission all-electric powertrains for commercial fleets from Class 3 Ford Transit vans to Class 6 work trucks, Class 7 city buses, and Class 8 motor coaches. All Lightning products are available today. The Lightning team works with forward-thinking fleets to provide the right electric powertrain on the right chassis in the right drive cycle with a full suite of telematics, analytics, and charging solutions to maximize energy efficiency. Find out more, visit www.lightningsystems.com.