Location: Milwaukee, WI

Fleet Type: Light-duty Electric Vehicles

 

Narrative

As a tribally-chartered corporation owned by the Forest County Potawatomi, Potawatomi Ventures (PV) holds environmental stewardship as a cultural value.  Honoring this value catalyzed PV’s decision to launch Emerging Technologies, its newest business unit committed to providing full-service solutions to the EV charging industry. To support growth plans, the organization made its first EV purchases in 2023, adding a Ford E-Transit van and a Ford F-150 Lightning (extended range).  The vehicles were selected to drive Emerging Technologies’ entry into the EV ecosystem and were based on defined use cases / outcomes for a more efficient company fleet.  The E-Transit was specifically chosen to support the PV Facilities teams’ needs for short haul routes around and between campuses in SE Wisconsin. The F-150 Lighting was added to support longer trips to properties / operations in Northern Wisconsin as well as business development initiatives. Both vehicles are also being used to commission charging installations and provide real-world driving / charging data.

Outputs and Outcomes

Integrating electric vehicles into the organization necessitated upfront investment in charging infrastructure, driver education, and adoption of new operating behaviors.  In terms of charging infrastructure, PV installed Level II stations for traditional daily maintenance charging as well as a dual-port DC fast charger to support low dwell time scenarios. 

Surveying its portfolio for the ideal application, PV elected to install a flagship DC fast charger at Data Holdings (Tier III+ data center) to provide rapid amenity charging for customers, prospects, and visitors. The project was met with broad enthusiasm, due to its convenience and lack of fast charging options nearby. Customers and vendors traveling to Data Holdings in EVs from outside the Milwaukee area were able to commute greater distances with newfound confidence.  One customer recently shared: “I wanted to comment on the new charger in the lot – thank you so much for providing a DC fast-charge station!  I drive from Oshkosh and especially in winter it can be difficult to make the round-trip on a single charge.  In just 15-minutes I got enough [charge] to get me home with 30 miles to spare.  The charger worked perfectly, and I saw about a 37kw charge rate which is typical for my Bolt EV.  Again, thank you!  Having the option for a charge while onsite makes the trip so much easier, especially having a level 3 (DC) charger vs the typical level 2”. This type of feedback validated the investment and generated goodwill with the increasing number of drivers arriving at Data Holdings in EVs.

Ingeteam, a Spanish company that has supported the wind and solar infrastructure markets for decades, emerged as an ideal EVSE partner for the DC fast project. Ingeteam stood apart as the only charger manufacturer with deep industry experience and manufacturing operations in Milwaukee. Ingeteam’s commitment to the local economy and global charging industry added significant value to every phase of the work – from initial project scoping through commissioning and acceptance testing.

As PV’s Emerging Technologies group accelerates in 2024, the team is executing plans to install 8 additional ports of Level II charging at the Wgema Campus located on the Near West Side of Milwaukee.  The specified chargers are designed to support a variety of customers, tenants, vendors, and visitors with amenity charging. Potawatomi Ventures is committed to installing site-appropriate charging infrastructure at all business units and real estate assets moving forward. The organization views EV charging as a must to continue driving greater alternative fuel adoption in the Midwest, with focus on the Wisconsin market.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

Organizational adoption of EVs and installation of supporting charging infrastructure is not without challenges.  Becoming a successful EV owner / operator requires some level of paradigm shift, but with the right blend of planning, partnership, and knowledge transfer, the transition can be profound. Potawatomi Ventures anticipates similarly profound impacts from the Wisconsin NEVI program on DC fast charging statewide. The investment in reliable charging infrastructure will undoubtedly improve EV driver experiences and help remove barriers to mainstream EV adoption. The future is bright and Potawatomi Ventures will continue to serve as a driving force in the Wisconsin EV ecosystem. 

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Potawatomi Ventures Fleet Story

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