Electrification has emerged as one of the leading technologies for reducing emissions. The challenge is to be ready for the government’s plan to end the sale new petrol and diesel cars and vans. Originally 2040, the government has mooted a further contraction of this timeframe. However, in the meantime, making the transition from fossil fuel to alternative powertrains is a huge leap of faith for van fleet operators. In technology terms, it is largely a step into the unknown and a significant financial commitment.
The key to easing this transition could be an evolution of a traditional technology and established best practice. Telematics already generates considerable vehicle use data and, according to Teletrac Navman, we just need to enhance the way this is interpreted. The company’s new EV Readiness tool uses smart algorithms to assess fleets for EV feasibility and provide insight into total cost of ownership, fuel savings and environmental impact. Plus, of course, whether or not a fleet is viable for switching to EV. Rather than providing a blanket yes or no, in just a few hours the customisable platform can offer a forensic analysis of vehicle use data to provide a phased approach to transitioning to an EV fleet. It guides fleet operators through a complex and unfamiliar world.
This advanced analysis of vehicle usage data can help provide fleet operators with the reassurance required to make the jump to electric and also help to optimise overall fleet efficiency while doing so. It also provides a compelling, data-driven argument for purchasers and stakeholders seeking to drive legislation.
Telematics can provide information on fleet behaviour and a deep-dive into this data can offer crucial insights and benefits. These include assessing EV feasibility to help reduce the perceived risk of moving away from the internal combustion engine and providing support throughout the transitioning process.
“We’ve looked broadly at the challenge of going electric as a business with a fleet of vehicles,” explained Barney Goffer, Teletrac Navman UK product manager. “As a company, we are rich with data with regards to the information we have on vehicles – how they move, how fast they go and how long they stop for. We can take all that data, put it through an algorithm then cross reference it with databases and information that is available for vehicles and chargers elsewhere. From there we can recommend that a certain percentage of vehicles are suitable for switching to EV.
“Three-months’ vehicle data is required to make a thorough evaluation, provide an end-to-end breakdown and understand the nature of vehicle usage, dwell times and match EVs to their intended usage,” continued Goffer. “Of a fleet of 100 vehicles, we might recommend that 10 are viable to switch to EV today. A further 25% might be almost ready, but the customer might be better off waiting for enhancements to battery technology or new vehicle launches. This isn’t something you do once – data analysis is valuable every quarter as the industry and fleet requirements evolve. This enables customers to choose the right EVs for today, understand where to focus in the future and phase a gradual transition over three, four or five years.”
One of the greatest barriers to EV adoption is the necessary charging infrastructure investment. Teletrac Navman claim that choosing and deploying an optimised charging network is as important as selecting the right vehicles. As well as providing a detailed breakdown of the total cost of ownership over a five-year period, its platform also lays out a suggested infrastructure depending on charger cost, vehicle selection and usage, where they’re parked overnight, journey styles and dwell times.
“From an EV fleet execution perspective, infrastructure is the biggest challenge,” said Goffer. “The EV Readiness tool is able to make recommendations on chargers and go a step further, with an operational company acting as consultants to support the entire process. Combining vehicle data with a deep understanding assists businesses with buying the right chargers for their vehicles and intended use patterns. It’s a critical part of ensuring a business remains viable with an EV fleet.”
Goffer tells us that, once data is collected, the entire process can take only a few hours and considers all available and emerging technologies, from powertrain to infrastructure. You don’t need to be an EV expert or keen technologist to match the right EVs to your current vehicles’ usage patterns. However, the key to accelerating future EV fleet adoption, he explained, is a holistic approach.
“Government policy around initiatives and incentives for local authorities to support fleet transition through regional infrastructure development is entwined with what we’re doing – helping businesses to make the right decision at the right time,” he concluded. “We need a data-driven approach across business and government to ensure a joined-up method. The speed of the process is where we can help. No two to three-month consultation, we can run data analysis and tell businesses how to make their move to EVs right now. Fleets have already adopted the EV Readiness tool and we are speaking to a number of organisations about how we may be able to help them – not just fleet customers, but those with a vested interest in the National Grid and who manage UK road networks. They can all benefit from insight into how EVs impact the vehicles on the road and how they’re driven.”