Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - 2

EDITORIAL
EDITORIAL
Bill Visnic
Editorial Director
Bill.Visnic@sae.org
Maintaining EV chargers yet another challenge
Industry experts have trumpeted ad
nauseam the need to expand electric
vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure for
the past half-decade or more. Those
calls continued at the recent Green Truck
Summit in Indianapolis. " The biggest
obstacle at the moment is the charging
infrastructure, " Ray Eyles, chief program
engineer for Ford Transit Vans, said at
the event. " We know that charging is
going to be one of the major impediments
to commercial customer uptake. "
Two options face fleets: install expensive
proprietary infrastructure or rely on
public infrastructure. The latter still is
problematic. " Currently, there is no public
charging infrastructure for commercial
vehicles specifically, " said Alexander
Voets, eMobility product and sales strategy
manager at Daimler Trucks North
America. He noted that while the plugs
at passenger-vehicle charging facilities
will indeed work for battery-electric
trucks, the physical size of the parking
spots is not so accommodating. " I
charged there before with a 26-foot box
truck - I certainly got some raised eyebrows, "
he said to audience laughter.
Certainly, the dearth of current EV
charging infrastructure is no laughing
matter, and the challenges don't stop
once a charging setup is established.
Properly maintaining chargers poses additional
challenges for which fleets must
prepare. Mike Terreri, EV and charging
product manager for AssetWorks, cited
data collected by a U.S. Pacific Northwest
utility showing charger uptime of about
95%. " We don't really have statistically
significant data [to know] what the industry
averages are, but we know that this is
an issue, at least anecdotally, " he said.
A consistent pattern has emerged,
however, for the time it takes to repair
chargers. " When chargers do go out of
service, no matter how often, it can
take an average of about two to three
weeks to resolve, " he said, noting that
parts replacement and technician availability
influence that timeframe.
The number-one EV charger issue,
2 April 2022
Terreri said, is software integration.
" Companies that are vertically integrated
produce their own hardware and software,
but that's not always the case, " he
said. Often, charger, network and vehicle
software are from different entities, which
can lead to compatibility issues. And not
all network providers perform full validation
testing prior to deployment, which
also can pose problems. Or, after some
time, hardware over-the-air and network
updates can create issues even after successful
commissioning.
Component failure - " a symptom of a
nascent industry, " Terreri said - is the
second-most common issue with EV
chargers. Root cause analysis requires
technical expertise and communication
with the service provider and OEM. The
third main issue is manufacturing and
design errors, such as improper seating
of electronics connectors or insecure
compression-sleeve fittings for charging
cables. Vandalism - e.g., copper thieves
- and accidental vehicle/plow collisions
also can impact charger performance.
Best practices suggested by Terreri
include integrating the chargers within
the fleet's enterprise system for monitoring,
preventive maintenance (PM) scheduling
and cost tracking. Redundancy is
another must, so that when chargers go
out of service, fleets still have the charging
capacity to maintain operations.
" Part of that maintenance plan should
include maintenance schedules. In the
same way that organizations have rigorous
PM regimes for vehicles, the same
should be true for infrastructure, " Terreri
said. Depending on the type of infrastructure,
the PM will differ. For example, " DC
fast chargers are unique from Level 2 AC
chargers in that they will require inspection
of air filters and cooling, " Terreri said.
Bottom line: As the industry continues
to scale EV operations, resolving
charger maintenance issues quicker -
or preventing them from occurring in
the first place - will be key to reliably
keeping EVs up and running.
Ryan Gehm, Editor-in-Chief
Ryan Gehm
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TRUCK & OFF-HIGHWAY ENGINEERING

Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022

Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - CVR4
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - CVRA
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - CVRB
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - CVR1
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - CVR2
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - 1
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - 2
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - 3
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Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - CVR3
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - CVR4
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