There are many things that a fleet manager needs to consider when it comes to choosing the right fleet vehicles. Value, comfort, functionality, and environmental impacts are just a few of what might be factored into the decision-making process.
When looking to the future, however, more and more fleet managers are prioritising the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and beginning their transition to fully-electric fleets. This is being driven by factors including climate change and the many benefits and incentives that are available to early adopters such as tax breaks and government grants and according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), two-thirds of all new EVs bought in the UK are purchased by businesses.
Although businesses don’t need to begin their transition right now, it’s a good idea to seriously consider it. Petrol and diesel vehicles are due to be phased out in many countries over the coming decades, and this includes the UK where the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles is due to be banned in 2030.
This will eventually mean EVs will be the only option for businesses, and you don’t want to be caught out by being unprepared while your competitors steam ahead of you because they got ahead with EV adoption several years before you.
Beginning the transition now allows fleet managers to get well ahead of the inevitable and come out on top of slower competitors. In addition, using EV telematics alongside an electric vehicle transition unlocks a wide variety of benefits on top of raw long-term cost savings.
Despite the benefits, there are many challenges associated with the transition to EVs that has fleet managers feeling hesitant about making the switch. These include higher upfront costs, new maintenance requirements, and the lack of infrastructure that currently exists in the UK for recharging vehicles on the move.
Indeed, it is this last point which causes an issue known as “range anxiety” that is arguably the biggest challenge. EV owners and business operators regularly report the fear of running out of battery on the road as their biggest concern, and it’s a huge barrier to adoption. This helps to explain the gap that exists between the number of companies considering the adoption of EV fleets and the relatively small number actually doing so.
There is one solution, however, that could provide fleet managers with all the information they need to make more informed decisions: EV telematics.
Telematics isn’t a new technology; it has helped to power petrol and diesel fleets for several decades. When applied to EVs, however, it has the potential to be just as powerful, if not more powerful.
EV telematics refers to the tech-powered solutions that enable fleet managers to continuously gather data about their EV fleets. EV telematics systems use a combination of GPS, telecommunications, onboard diagnostics, vehicle technologies, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to do this, and they provide powerful insights. These can then be used to improve fleet operations by informing things like route planning, maintenance scheduling, and in the context of EVs, improve charging optimisation.
Although telematics unlocks powerful insights when used in both EV and non-EV fleets, it’s the different properties that EVs have in comparison to non-EVs that make telematics all the more crucial for EV fleets.
Due to the high efficiency, limited range, and long recharging process of EVs, for example, integrating telematics helps fleet managers get the most out of their vehicles. This is achieved through health monitoring, route optimization, range monitoring, and driver efficiency management. All vehicles that are part of an EV fleet can be analysed on a daily basis to see information like average driving range, energy consumption, and seasonal fluctuations.
Even for businesses that haven’t yet committed to making the transition to EVs, telematics is still a valuable tool for informing their transition strategies. By connecting current petrol and diesel vehicles via telematics, fleet managers can measure vehicle routes and determine whether EVs could complete the same journeys on a single charge, and which EV models would be best suited for doing so. The same information can also be used to determine which vehicles are replaced by EVs first, and which can be replaced later.
By using telematics, fleet managers can:
Businesses that adopt telematics prior to their transition to EVs can use the system to calculate the potential fuel savings of EVs over petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles. This can be used to inform decision-making and planning.
The data that’s delivered via telematics (weather, temperature, traffic conditions, elevation, etc.) can provide accurate calculations of the range left in an EV battery. This allows fleet managers to determine whether enough range remains to complete future trips or jobs, or whether it needs to return for charging and be substituted for another vehicle.
Telematics enables fleet managers to compare the battery states of several vehicles and use this information to prioritise which need to be recharged first due to their schedules.
With an EV fleet, scheduling maintenance and service work is more of a challenge because of the limited number of mechanics with the skills required to carry out work. However, the large number of sensors deployed in a typical EV will provide fleet managers with alerts of any potential issues (e.g., tyre failure, drivetrain faults) well ahead of time so that maintenance and scheduling can be planned more seamlessly.
Trakm8 is the first telematics solution on the market that has been optimised for both EVs and ICE vehicles. Read more in our Guide to Electic Vehicle Telematics.
Is your fleet ready for the transition to Electric Vehicles? Find out today by completing the free Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment tool from Trakm8.
Get in touch with our team today and we’ll learn all about your business, fleet and daily operations to decide what telematics devices would provide the most value to you.
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