February 27th, 2019 by Kyle Field
AMPLY Power has pulled together an all star team from across the EV charging, automotive, and energy storage industries to deliver a charging solution for fleet managers looking to convert their fleets to electric. CleanTechnica sat down with AMPLY Power’s CEO Vic Shao to talk about the challenges of electrifying a fleet and the solution he and his team have built to make their lives easier.
Vic said that one of the primary challenges for a fleet manager to convert even 20 or 30 vehicles in a fleet to electric vehicles is the variable cost of electricity. Hour to hour, day to day, and seasonal fluctuations in electricity prices make the new price of fuel as stable as a bowl of Jell-O pudding that result in wild swings in electricity bills that quickly put a sour taste in the mouths of fleet managers.
Stack demand charges and the wild world of high speed charging stations on top of that and the prospect of adding electric vehicles to a fleet quickly becomes an intimidating proposition without even taking into account the front end capital expenditure.
AMPLY Power’s team steps into the mix in the planning stages of a new electric fleet ramp up to help fleet managers plan intelligently for the arrival of their new electrified fleet. Adding a handful of electric vehicles to a fleet won’t capsize the boat, but when you start talking adding 30, 50, or 100 new electric vehicles, planning becomes mandatory.
The AMPLY Power team of self-proclaimed ‘energy nerds’ stands with fleet managers to first help them understand what to expect when their new next generation electric vehicles arrive. That includes basics like the hardware they’ll need all the way on up to the complexities of the utility bills and how they might change. Demand charges are one of the key buckets of money where unsuspecting fleet managers are often hit with unpredictably high and low electric bill if they don’t get ahead of their bills with an intelligent charging solution.
For the charging hardware, Vic said that AMPLY Power is effectively hardware agnostic as long as the charging hardware meets their high standards. “We have developed a highly sophisticated and detailed list of requirements for suppliers,” he said. At the top of that list is a requirement that the hardware be Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) 1.6 compliant. This ensures that AMPLY Power’s solution can work with the charging station in a predictable way on the back end.
From there, AMPLY Power digs in and starts working its magic. “The reality is that these are such high power devices, these AC fast charger devices, that you get 80% of the benefit by staggering the charging,” Vic said. That’s really easy to say, but coordinating the delicate dance of charging each and every night requires some finesse to truly optimize. To ensure that the process runs smoothly, AMPLY Power has, “developed a highly sophisticated charging management solution,” Vic said.
Its proprietary solution provides the foundation for its business model and allows the company to guarantee that each vehicle in their program will receive at least a 90% charge every 24 hours. In exchange, fleet managers sign a 10-year contract to pay AMPLY Power a flat rate per mile driven for their power. This puts the burden of performance in AMPLY Power’s hands and guarantees a predictable cost for fueling for the fleet manager.
AMPLY Power has built up a team of experts from across the industry, including an executive team that boasts former Tesla and ChargePoint brass. “We are going to help the entire industry to scale,” Vic said. His confidence is based on his experience in the industry and the insights they have gleaned from AMPLY Power’s early customers that helped them to fine tune the solution.
AMPLY Power serves as an integrator, but also as an operational partner over the long haul. Vic explained that AMPLY Power serves as, “a third party that will take care of the headache so as an end user, you don’t have to tie all these things together.” Considering the complexity of fleet EV charging, the proposition is attractive, assuming AMPLY Power has indeed cracked the nut of complexity itself and has truly built a functional, affordable solution that can scale.
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