Vehicle Modeling is No Longer just for the OEMs

 In Case Studies, Inside FleetCarma

vehicle modeling Replacing a fleet vehicle with a hybrid or electric can provide many benefits including fuel savings, emissions reductions, higher driver satisfaction, and a greener image. The selection process may include implementing pilot vehicles or rentals to determine the functionality of a replacement. This process can be costly, time consuming, and sometimes impossible with heavy-duty vehicles that carry large price tags. Vehicle modeling as a tool can help organizations save time and money when writing vehicle spec documents to go to tender.

In a fleet management context, vehicle modeling is the process of using computer based models of vehicles being considered for the fleet to determine their operational costs.  Multiple vehicles can be assessed without purchasing any vehicles up front.

This technique has been used by vehicle OEMs for years to determine and achieve their vehicle design requirements. In this process, OEMs rapidly simulate the performance of hundreds of their vehicle designs in a computer to determine the optimal powertrain configuration that meets the market demands. In the fleet management space, this has quickly become a technique to evaluate which new vehicles are the best for each fleet application.

Here is a good example of how vehicle modeling can benefit a fleet. In this case, we present how a municipality evaluated hybrid buses for their transit fleet.

After logging diesel buses currently operating on their transit routes the data was fed into the computer version of hybrid buses for simulation. The results showed the maximum savings on one particular route was 75L/100km and the minimum was 3L/100km. The variation in savings is normal and quite common because operational benefits depend greatly on the route selected for the hybrid. The dollar values associated with these fuel savings are presented below:

Hybrid Premium Recovery Periods Based on Route Selection (Hybrid Buses)

Max Savings (75L/100km)

Min Savings (3L/100km)

Savings per 100km

$ 93.00

$ 3.72

Savings per day

$ 232.50

$ 9.30

Days to Recover Premium



Years to Recover Premium



Payback Period

2 years 1 month

51 years 7 months

Amount Saved/Lost (12yrs)

$ 843,533

$ (134,266)

The savings (or losses) presented in the above table illustrate why some fleets have great success implementing hybrid vehicles while others struggle to gain the savings they expected across their fleet operations. Fleet operators using vehicle modeling can make informed decisions prior to purchase and even prior to piloting vehicles. This gives them the needed ability to set realistic expectations and allows them to leverage vehicle monitoring data that they are often required to collect anyway.

You can learn more about vehicle modeling and simulation by reading, 5 reasons vehicle modeling has become a must have fleet tool.

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