The role and benefits of telematics in the electronic car industry

Hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV), and all-electric vehicles (EV) are gaining momentum nowadays due to the public’s increasing concerns about the environment and their demand for energy independence. Apart from the increasing demand, governments are supporting the sale of electric vehicles with subsidies, exemption from registration fees, road taxes, and parking fees.

These practices are among the reasons why we can see the augmentation of EV sales all around the globe. The US is going crazy about EVs, as from 2017 to 2018 the number of registered vehicles doubled from 100.000, while they are expecting to sell 350.000 in 2020, and 1.1 million in 2025, says a report by ISH Markit. However, the Chinese market surpassed the US in 2016 as the largest market in terms of the number of plug-in vehicles in use and had 2.3 million registered vehicles at the end of 2018.

At this point for many people, it might seem odd to think about EVs as part of a fleet (mainly due to EVs’ limited travel range - typically 40-200 km), although we are rapidly moving in the direction of making fleets greener. The path towards an environmentally-friendly fleet is facilitated by telematics solutions, as they help fleet operators and managers to compare the purchase and maintenance costs of electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, to monitor upkeep costs, and to plan optimal travel routes, above else.


What are the advantages of having electric vehicles for fleet operators?

1. Lower maintenance costs

Before doubling down on electronic fleet vehicles, operators need to analyze the change from different perspectives. The higher purchase price of EV (compared to internal combustion engine vehicles) stops most fleet operators from making the transition. However, they also need to consider that the maintenance costs of a greener fleet costs less, regarding the “fuel” and repair prices, which in the long run decreases the total expenditures of the business.

Nonetheless, we need to highlight that whether it is financially worth it for the fleet operator to transition to EV, considering all conditions, comes down to proper prior planning.

As Webfleet says: “You need to find and choose the right vehicles, estimate your charging requirements, assess the most affordable options for financing, build your internal charging infrastructure, plan changes to the layout of your site (and, potentially, your employees’ homes) to accommodate the new vehicles and, if required, apply for the necessary permits. Choose poorly at this point and you might end up with vehicles that are not fit for purpose, infrastructure that can’t support your work schedule, and a bad return on investment.”

But don’t worry, it is not as complicated as it seems for the first glimpse, as vehicle telematics solutions are able to support you during this process. We are going to talk about this a little bit later in this article.


2. Decreasing harmful CO2 emission

The main goal behind the development and usage of electric cars is to rid cities from smog, and high CO2 levels to increase the health and living conditions of citizens, and to slow down global warming. If you are a fleet operator who cares about the future of the globe and want to do something about it, transitioning to EVs can be a great solution. Although, we advise you to check the sources of energy production in your area, because coal-based power plants won’t necessarily make your fleet greener, considering the vehicles’ full lifecycle.


3. Branding opportunity

The growing environmental consciousness of the public results in an increasing demand for green logistics solutions. Customers are more and more prone to take into consideration the full lifecycle of products, like the location of production, production process, transfer from the factory to the retailer, and to consumer, or packaging. This is why operating an EV fleet can be a winning branding opportunity for the business. An organization, who not only cares about its bottom line but the impact it has on the surroundings as well, can appeal to a wider audience.


4. Future-proofing the business

Amsterdam, London and Paris have already announced future bans on diesel vehicles in the cities as a possible solution to keep their air cleaner. It is expected that more and more local governments are going to follow their lead in the future. These practices can cause major headaches for fleet operators with destinations within the premises of these cities, although they can be resolved with a fleet consisting of electric vehicles.


How does telematics help in transitioning to electric vehicles?

Turning your ICE fleet into electric can seem like an agonizing process when you lack sufficient data to make the decision. Luckily, telematics solutions are widely available today that enable fleet operators and managers to evaluate their situation and to work out a step-by-step transition plan enjoying the benefits EVs bring to their organization.

Let’s see how telematics help to bridge this challenge.


1. Identifying vehicles that can be replaced by EVs

The good news is that you don’t have to replace all of your ICE vehicles at once. The change to EV can be gradual, with the help of telematics solutions. They help calculate the routes where replacement is possible without having to stop for charging or even calculate the charging points the driver needs to stop by to complete the route.

Secondly, telematics solutions are able to collect real-time data about driver behaviour, which can also be a determining factor when considering this leap. As individual driving styles have an influence on the electricity usage of EVs, digging deep in these data can identify which ICE vehicles can be rolled out first to enjoy all advantages of electric vehicles without causing a disturbance in the fluidity of logistics. Or as an alternative, you can provide fuel-efficient driving training to those drivers, whose driving style consumes the most “fuel”.


2. Calculating route and charging points

As mentioned before, electric engines have a limited travel distance after recharging, which might press fleet operators to look for alternative routes to complete the trade. The data collected by telematics devices aid fleet managers to identify public or corporate charge points on route to top up the batteries.


3. Establishing charging priorities and maintenance schedule

Operating an EV fleet with a limited number of charging options within your station takes some skills, but you can turn to telematics data to establish a charging schedule for your vehicles. Drawing up a charging priority list based on operational schedules helps you to maximize the efficiency of your business and drivers. You can also maximize the usage of your fleet with this solution because telematics data also shows you the length of time a vehicle is idle, meaning new, untapped business opportunities for the enterprise.

Apart from charging schedules, telematics devices send data and notifications about the risk of failure, or time of habitual maintenance, which diminishes the risk of roadside accidents, or ad hoc, unforeseen maintenance costs.


4. Monitoring recharge costs

One of the biggest expenditures of fleet operators is keeping their vehicles on the move with sufficient fuel levels, or adequately charged electric batteries. Keeping track of recharging options and prices is possible with telematics, thus enabling operators to find other, alternative public or corporate charging points to keep costs under control.


What types of EVs Inventure solutions support?

The telematics solutions of Inventure Automotive support a wide range of electric car models, including the new Tesla Model S too. Considering the customers’ demand, we are constantly adding new models to the supported vehicles list to satisfy their necessities.


Conclusion

Taking all aspects into consideration, electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry as there is a growing demand from consumers due to the cars’ smaller impact on the environment. Electric vehicles are also great solutions for those fleet operators, who are looking to make their fleet greener with the possibility of decreasing harmful CO2 emissions and to cut costs in the long run due to lower operation costs.

Telematics solutions are able to support fleet operators on the journey of changing their ICE vehicle to electric by providing real-time, reliable data. This data can be analyzed from different standpoints, like looking for alternative routes, calculating charging points, keeping track of charging costs, or establishing a step-by-step transition plan.

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