California-based startup Amply Power has a simple mission. That's to make electric vehicle fleet charging simple and less expensive. Sounds like a good plan, but can they execute? Judging from the results from their first customer, Tri Delta Transit, it appears so.
Since the beginning of 2020, Amply Power's intelligent charging management software has resulted in an average monthly electric bill savings of about 40 percent.
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Tri Delta Transit initiated its electric bus program in 2018. They now have a fleet of Proterrs and BYD electric busses. They contracted Amply in 2019 to help simplify Tri Delta's charging operations and address challenges presented by previously installed hardware. Amply offers brand-agnostic solutions, so they can work with busses and equipment from any manufacturer.
"For any transit authority, guaranteeing that all of our buses are ready for their morning roll-out is critical. Electric buses bring a new process to our operations and electricity use, and we knew we were better off, in the long run, leveraging the expertise of AMPLY's model," said Steve Ponte, Chief Operating Officer of Tri Delta Transit. "They helped us pinpoint the financial, operational, and equipment improvements we could make to realize 40 percent savings and ensure uptime for our riders who depend on our bus service to go about their daily lives. As we expand our EV fleet, we look forward to working with AMPLY to realize even greater savings."
This is a much-needed service. There are many bus operators that would like to consider transitioning to electric busses but are concerned about the infrastructure needed. They hear different things from the different electric bus manufacturers, and they don't know who's telling them the truth.
Additionally, they are concerned that they have to buy all of this expensive charging equipment that might become obsolete in a couple of years. Also, they don't understand electricity costs like they do the cost of diesel. Diesel costs may go up and down, but they know that they can manage that because they have in the past.
Electricity can cost as much as 300% more or less on the same day, depending on when you need the power, and fleet operators aren't used to having to manage that. Amply's software does all that. It figures out when to supply power to the vehicles to have them fully charged but the time they need to be while drawing from the grid at the time of lowest cost. Amply also manages the monthly demand charges, which can be in tens of thousands of dollars per month for an electric bus operator if not managed properly.
"Fleet operators work on a very rigorous timeline and must adhere to a strict operational dance to ensure their vehicles run on-schedule. This on-the-go structure makes finding the time to optimize an electric fleet more difficult than one might expect," said Vic Shao, CEO of Amply.
Amply supplies the charging equipment and guarantees a set price per kWh for the term of the contract, which is generally between five and 12 years. The fleet operator doesn't have to worry about the charging equipment becoming obsolete, and they have cost-certainty on their refueling expense. Amply does all the work.
If Amply's software notices that a specific bus is not charging, the system will alert the facility manager to check the vehicle. In doing so, Amply will eliminate the potential problem of a driver showing up for their shift only to find their bus isn't properly charged.
We're guessing we haven't heard the last from Amply. We'll be watching this space and reporting back when we have more information.
AMPLY Power Saves Up to 40% on Energy Costs for Tri Delta Transit Electric Buses