Smart energy planning saves EV costs down the road

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An hour’s worth of charging an electric vehicle at the wrong time could tack on thousands of dollars to a monthly utility bill.

Commercial carriers planning to electrify their fleets should plan and be aware of where and when they charge their electric vehicles, advised James Williams, senior analyst at 360 Energy during Powering the Future of Freight – A Clean Transport Forum in Oakville, Ont.

Electrical pricing depends on the time of charging in the day, month, season and the amount of charging in those time frames. Price is broken into commodity, delivery and capacity which are driven monthly by consumption and demand. In Alberta and Ontario, the market changes hourly.

Four men sitting on stools during a discussion
From left, Chris Manuel, Rupp Carriveau, James Williams and Joe Lombardo during Powering the Future of Freight – A Clean Transport Forum in Oakville, Ont. (Photo: Leo Barros)

Distribution rates change depending on rate structure, location and load used, Williams explained. Capacity charges can increase for a year or more based on one occurrence.

Citing an example, Williams said in a best-case scenario it would cost about $24 a day, but if all things could go wrong and an EV is charged during grid peak, it could ring up $26,640 a month.

Controllable cost

360 Energy CEO David Arkell, who moderated the forum, said energy cost is controllable. Customers don’t have an idea of rates and costs, and no one looks at the bill. “To be cost-effective, you must be smarter on how you use your energy,” he said.

Before acquiring an EV, the preparation of charging infrastructure is key, said Christopher Manuel, Lion Electric’s business development manager.

Ideal charging time

Carriers must focus on expected payload requirements, routes which are well adapted to electrification and autonomy requirements at full load. Lion’s EVs are designed for return-to-base applications, so the ideal time to charge them is at night or outside working hours.

Purolator entered the electric market slowly and steadily by making big assumptions, bringing in external support and taking stakeholders along for the journey, said Joe Lombardo, its vice-president of network operations.

“Where diesel trucks dwell now is essential for determining where to place potential charging locations,” said University of Windsor’s Rupp Carriveau, who is also director of the Environmental Energy Institute.

Planning for the future

Conducting a carbon-free corridor study on long haul EVs, Carriveau is attempting to strategically identify where charging stations should be located and aims to match trucking activities with charging availability to ensure supply can meet demand.

For electrification, Williams noted, it is important to understand what you are using, how you are using energy and how an EV will fit into it by considering what it will be used for and how it will be charged.

Carriveau urged carriers to consider their long-term business case and to be speculative to take advantage of electrification.


Arkell said businesses must take advantage of federal and provincial funding to incentivize their electrification journey.

Carriers should consider forward contracts to guarantee costs, Williams advised. Another way to achieve cost certainty is to make sure all trucks are not charging at the same time and certainly not rapid charging at the same time, which increases the demand level.

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at

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