UI showing a list of charging stalls.

Case Study: How Desert Cab Optimized Its EV Charging Operations

A few years ago, Desert Cab, a prominent Las Vegas-based taxi group, recognized a unique opportunity to introduce electric vehicles (EVs) into its existing fleet of 400 cars. Thanks to a series of grants and incentives, they have so far put 25 EVs on the roads, ranging from Chevy Bolts and Nissan Leafs to Hyundai Ioniq 5s and Ford Mach-Es.  

It’s only once they also installed a combination of level 2 and level 3 charging stations in their Las Vegas yard that they began to experience all of the operational complexities that come along with managing an EV fleet.

Desert Cab called upon Terawatt Infrastructure to help solve these challenges through a centralized operational platform that would enable the taxi fleet to better manage charge times, energy management, and cost allocation — thereby transforming Desert Cab’s operational ability and enhancing the efficiency and performance of their EV fleet.

Desert Cab vehicles parked in Las Vegas, NV

Challenges

  1. Nameplate installed capacity exceeded grid capacity: The power capacity of Desert Cab’s chargers exceeded the available power at the site, without any safety measures implemented to limit a dangerous overload.
  1. Charging visibility and management: Desert Cab lacked any real-time insights into charging statuses and performance, hindering their ability to streamline operations.
  1. Slow repair times: When EVSEs malfunctioned, Desert Cab would face extended downtime due to low visibility and long lead times on repairs.

Solution

Terawatt provided Desert Cab with a centralized platform for managing its EV fleet operations through its Charge Management System. The software provides the following capabilities:

  1. Energy management: Terawatt limited the capacity of Desert Cab’s chargers to a safe power limit and deployed a smart charging algorithm that optimally assigns power based on the number of connected vehicles.
  1. A single pane of glass: The software provides a unified look at all charging infrastructure, enabling the operations team to monitor and manage everything in one place.
  1. Remote troubleshooting: This feature provides remote visibility of technical EVSE issues and control of (start/stop) charging sessions, enabling the team to make data-driven decisions quickly and from any device.
  1. Proactive notifications: The Desert Cab operational team receives email notifications when charge sessions start, when they reach an optimal state of charge, and when they end, avoiding the need for physical monitoring of every individual vehicle.
  1. Fast and efficient repairs: Terawatt rolled out proactive maintenance practices in order to reduce charging station downtime. These include self-detection alerting and advanced technology at local sites, preventing “no charge” scenarios and ensuring zero interruption until a technician arrives.

Results

Desert Cab has been able to maximize the usage of their assets and adapt the required power based on real-time needs, along with enhancing their fleet’s operational efficiency, reducing downtimes, and optimizing resource allocation. Additionally, fast and efficient repairs have meant that charging stations are rarely out of service, further improving the overall reliability of their EV fleet.

“Partnering with Terawatt has allowed us to monitor and understand our charging needs. The Charge Management System identifies our charging needs, charging cycles, and charging times and has helped us use our existing chargers more efficiently and even identify possible revenue streams when we have excess charging capacity.

The smart charging platform  allows our chargers to use the existing power we have at our site most efficiently and their monitoring of our chargers and platform have helped identify and quickly fix issues. All of this has allowed us to focus on running our fleet of taxis rather than having to struggle with the management and maintenance of an EV charging system.”

– George Balaban, Desert Cab owner