EVs Spark Electrical Team’s R&D Project
Dan Koss, along with several members of his team in Fort Worth, are Electric Vehicle (EV) owners. He says their own discussions about the deficiencies that exist when it comes to charging EVs helped spark the idea for his Research and Development (R&D) project. Dan, PE, LC, is an Engineer VI in Freese and Nichols Electrical group.
While the consumer market for EVs has grown rapidly, the number of charging stations to power them isn’t meeting the demand.
Dan developed EV Fleet Charging Strategies as part of his project, Electric Vehicle Fleet Charging Think Tank and Mock Design.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, EV sales increased from 0.2 percent of total car sales in 2011 to 4.6 percent in 2021.
“There are more and more EVs hitting the road, but there are not enough charging stations to serve them,” said Dan. “This raised a question. How is Freese and Nichols prepared to assist our clients with electrifying their fleets or retrofitting their parking garages or spaces with charging infrastructure?”
The project focuses on various charging strategies for different vehicles, including shuttles/buses, other fleet operations and consumer vehicles. It also includes research on the types of chargers available on the market, based on cost and levels of EV charging power.
Going electric in the fleet environment will require much more planning and consideration, specifically when it comes to charging multiple vehicles while maintaining fleet operations.
“One of the most interesting strategies is a charge management system where you can have your fleet plugged into an intelligent system that is monitoring each car,” said Dan. “You can charge all the vehicles equally, or by priority, meaning you can assign which vehicle needs to be charged first. The charger will then distribute whatever capacity you have to the other vehicles.”
For fiscal years 2022-2026, The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will receive $408 million from the Federal Highway Administration to install electric vehicle charging stations every 50-70 miles along major highways between Austin, Dallas. Houston, El Paso, and San Antonio.
“The major hurdle we discovered during this project was the challenge of guiding our clients into unknown territory,” added Dan. “Our main goal is to help them navigate the new concepts of charging EVs, while providing resources. Freese and Nichols can offer advice, conduct studies, put a fee proposal together and work on projects. Through this R&D project we’ve also established relationships with numerous EV charging vendors.”
Freese and Nichols recently worked with Texas Women’s University on a Campus Fleet Electrification Feasibility Proposal. We are currently working with the San Antonio International Airport on a bid for electric shuttle chargers.
“The R&D Program is a way to hold yourself accountable,” said Dan. “You can determine if a concept or idea is successful without risking it on a client. Our goal is to be innovative, provide solutions for our clients, and be a trusted advisor.”
About the Research and Development (R&D) Program
Our R&D program sets aside funding to develop those ideas into products, tools and processes that benefit our company, our clients and our communities. Since we launched the program in 2012, we have dedicated tens of thousands of dollars to research and development initiatives. The R&D program is overseen by the Lead Technical Professionals (LTPs).
All employees are encouraged to apply for R&D funding. Once you have your group manager’s approval, work with the LTP for your Practice to fill out the application and submit the proposal to the LTP committee for review.