The reality of electric vehicle telematics

 In Fleet Management

The Telematics ecosystem is expected to grow at an exponential rate in the coming years. While Telematics remains an infant technology, it’s current applications has allowed fleet operators to make substantial savings, making Telematics a must for business.

What is Telematics?

Telematics is a method of recording vehicle data. The combination of GPS tracking and a centralized on-board system, allows the technology to record comprehensive vehicle behavior data, from fuel measurements to idling trends.

In simple terms, Telematics records vehicle data and communicates the data to a centralized system for review, where data-driven decision making can occur. Importantly, when associated with vehicle fleets, Telematics supervisors a group of vehicles simultaneously.

The diagram below splits Telematics monitoring capabilities into four main sections; productivity, safety, fleet optimization, and compliance. The final section ‘expandability’ highlights areas that will further expand the technology, this is discussed in further detail later in the article.

What Telematics Can Do

Source: Geotab 2018

Telematics can monitor a variety of vehicle behaviors that include, driving style, time left idle, braking, mileage, and fuel consumption. Predictive maintenance, engine faults, temperature monitoring, and GHG emissions. And, specific to electric vehicles, state of battery health. Capabilities also include compliance activities such as the creation of electronic logs, in line with the US ELD compliance mandate. Notably, the potential doesn’t stop there.

Case Studies

Various industries have integrated Telematics into their fleets. Courier and delivery companies, transport logistics, sales, construction, public transit, waste management, and utilities have all made significant steps in technology adoption.

For example, UPS operates over 9,100 delivery vehicles on a daily basis. According to their latest Sustainability Report, Telematics has played a crucial role in reducing operating expenses. In 2017, the introduction of Intelligent Route Planning led to annual reductions of 100 million fewer millions traveled, in turn, dramatically decreasing fleet GHG emissions. The initiative realized $10 million in operational savings and an estimated $400 million in total.

Until recently, Toromont CAT was a victim of increasing fleet costs, a problem which many fleets struggle to control. They required a remedy to improve maintenance management, routing, and increasing overall transparency to customers. Telematics was not only able to tackle the immediate problems, but also shed light on legacy issues such as safety management, and fuel efficiency. In the first year of operation, the company dropped fuel expenditures by 4%, despite increasing the fleet size by 18%. Other highlights include sharing vehicle trouble codes with maintenance providers to improve preventative measures. Furthermore, reduce the idle time from 40% to a mere 4% creating an overall much more efficient fleet.

Pepsi Co enabled Telematics to over 14,000 vehicles within its fleet to collect fundamental metrics, such as engine use, idle time, and route mapping. A pilot study with a smaller group of trucks shown that a 48 percent reduction in idle-time was achievable, demonstrating that potential savings could offset the costs of Telematics. According to Pepsi, utilizing data has driven productivity by reducing idle time and fuel consumption, which is a priority in the company’s global sustainability plan.

The three examples demonstrate the potential of Telematics. However, their cases are by no means isolated. A wide variety of fleet operators have experienced the benefits of Telematics, and in many cases, the benefits already outweigh the cost of the technology.
FleetCarma’s Telematics Solution

FleetCarma offers a comprehensive fleet management software designed to support conventional and electric vehicle (EV) fleets. Integration of the all-in-one platform has demonstrated the ability to increase fuel efficiency, reduce operating costs, improve safety, and optimize fleet capacity.

As highlighted, fleets are under increasing pressure to reduce costs; the platform provides easy access to real-time data that will help you quickly identify where efficiencies are possible, while at the same time make productivity gains. For example, trip-by-trip data will help identify periods of stationary activity, and therefore promptly make efficiency improvements. For EV’s, monitoring charging patterns can help evaluate times of charging, and the impact on fuel costs.

Furthermore, gone with the times of paper logs and vehicle faults, the system keeps digital records of any diagnostic codes, this means that fleet managers can stay up-to-date with fleet health, put in place regular preventative maintenance schedules, and help make notable maintenance savings.

Big Data and the Future of Telematics

The expectation is that Telematics will become an integral part of any and every fleet in operation. The cause of this change will be for several reasons. However, the most prominent purpose will be Telematics ability to decrease operating costs significantly.

Similarly, the technology is always improving, and will soon be an integral part of the vehicle. A noteworthy trend in fleet management is that OEMs are incorporating Telematics technology into the vehicle build. Expect this trend to continue as Ernst & Young predicts that 88 percent of all new cars globally will have integrated telematics by 2025.

Another core driver is the introduction of autonomous vehicles (AVs), and particularly the creation of a connected transport network. The connectivity will catapult the benefits of Telematics into new territory, not only will fleet managers be able to make intelligent decisions from a more in-depth analysis of driver behavior, OEMs and other sectors are also likely to benefit. For instance, the Telematics will help OEMs better understand customer habits that may influence marketing strategies, and insurance providers will be able to forecast the risk profile of drivers more effectively.
Final Thoughts

The success of Telematics and its ability to make an impact will increasingly revolve around data management and useful interpretation. Telematics is by no means widespread within fleet management. However, the sheer scale of current and potential savings is incredibly encouraging. The inevitability of a more connected transport network will only create even more efficiencies in transport and other ancillary sectors.

For more information on FleetCarma’s Telematics system please visit: https://www.fleetcarma.com/platform/fleet-management/

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