As commercial vehicle fleets transition to electric, managers are having to understand how on-the-road charging will affect their operations. The partnership between Allstar and InstaVolt ensures easy payments and fast charging meaning businesses can switch to electric with confidence.
A key requirement for fleets operating commercial vehicles is that their vans are on the road, working. If they are plugged in charging for hours at a time every day, then it hits productivity, contributing to the new phenomenon of ‘micro downtime’ associated with electric fleets.
The speed of InstaVolt’s charging network ensures that stoppages are kept to a minimum. More than 70% of its network is ultra-rapid, offering charging speeds of 100kW with the majority able to hit speeds of up to 120kW. From June 2023, InstaVolt began installing 160kW chargers, with more than 80 already installed by the end of the summer.
The consequence of this is that a van with a usable battery size of 60kWh could, subject to vehicle capabilities, be charged from 10-80% on InstaVolt’s fastest chargers in approx. 20 minutes, ensuring that drivers are back at work as quickly as possible.
The older chargers on the network have been enhanced too. Earlier in 2023 InstaVolt upgraded 250 of its units which were previously capable of 50kW, and can now run to a maximum output of 125kW.
InstaVolt has more than 1,200 live rapid chargers throughout England, Scotland and Wales, and it is growing fast: the number of chargers has increased by 44% in the last year alone, and has a target of 10,000 rapid EV chargers by 2030.
While 99% of sites have two or more chargers, InstaVolt’s focus is on building hubs with eight or more chargepoints, increasing the chance of availability when van drivers pull up.
One other requirement specific to vans and commercial vehicles is space. Its hub sites give InstaVolt the opportunity to create longer and wider bays, allowing for longer electric vans and larger fleet vehicles to use the sites.
Being able to plug in when they arrive is important for keeping to schedules, but also being confident the chargers will work, and InstaVolt claims industry leading network availability of 99.9%. One of the ways it manages to reach such a high number is that its team of in-house engineers visit chargers to carry out proactive maintenance, rather than only reacting when problems are flagged.
Van drivers often do long hours and high mileages, and can be away from the office or depot a lot. That means they need time to catch up on emails and admin, and crucially rest.
The rollout of InstaVolt’s network is supported by partnerships with some of the UK’s leading brands including Costa Coffee, McDonald’s and KFC, as well as independent farm shops and restaurants.
This means that drivers using InstaVolt chargers often can get out of the cab and recharge their batteries too, so they are fresher, more alert and crucially, safer, behind the wheel.
There’s also the advantage of often being able to access wi-fi while they grab a coffee or food, so they can catch up on communications and work while their van charges.
For those drivers who are concerned with safety, they’ll be reassured that InstaVolt chargers are very often located in busy, high volume car parks of national chains whose shops and restaurants are regularly open late into the night or even 24 hours.
For company car drivers, InstaVolt’s network of ultra-rapid chargers are just as useful as for commercial van users. For all drivers working all over the country, either the InstaVolt App or Allstar’s newly updated Co-Pilot App can show all the locations of chargers, allowing them to plan routes and time stops to suit, so the working day is not derailed by trying to find a suitable chargepoint.
Because of the speed of the network, even cars with the biggest battery packs can be charged quickly: replenishing 100kWh of batteries could, subject to the cars capabilities, take as little as 40 minutes on InstaVolt’s fastest chargers.
Commercial vehicle and car drivers can pay for charging at InstaVolt sites using their Allstar One Electric card, with all receipts and charging information then uploaded online for fleet managers. This allows them to understand energy needs, time and costs, no matter what the vehicle type.
Adrian Keen, CEO of InstaVolt, commented: “InstaVolt’s ambition is to make public rapid charging easy and accessible to all, and that perfectly aligns with Allstar’s vision of bringing public charging infrastructure to fleets, across the UK, in a painless manner.”
Tom Rowlands, FLEETCOR MD, Global EV Solutions, which includes Allstar, added: “InstaVolt has a fantastic rapid network, which for our van fleet customers provides peace of mind that they can access charging that will get them on the road and back to work as soon as possible.”