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Managing Electric-Vehicle Fleets Smartly with Fleet Tracking Technology

By Verizon ConnectOctober 14, 2020

Electric vehicle (EV) adoption is accelerating in the fleet industry. Jim Mele, a commercial vehicle analyst for Wards Intelligence, predicts that 2020 is just the start of an uptick in EV adoption in a number of industry applications. This is being driven by factors such as environmental emissions regulations, Mele explains. “I expect to see a more wholesale use of electric vehicles in the medium duty truck side. We're beginning to see zero emissions regulations in regions. Those are the only trucks that meet zero emissions.”

According to a survey of fleet managers by Automotive Fleet, 90% believe electric vehicles are the inevitable future of commercial fleets, and 32% responded that they believe fleets will be one-quarter electric within five years. 50% believe that it will happen in 10 years.(1)

Given that EVs promise to deliver an array of operational and cost benefits to fleets, the accelerating fleet electrification in the industry is not surprising. When it comes to reasons for EV adoption, 44% of fleet managers say it’s to reduce fuel costs, 44% say it’s to reduce maintenance costs and 37% say it’s to reduce environmental footprint. Let's take a closer look at these and other benefits fleets can gain from embracing EVs.  

The wide-ranging benefits of an EV fleet

For fleets, budgets have historically been tight, and cost savings has always been a priority—and in the face of recent 2020 global events, the need to tighten margins and gain efficiencies has never been greater.

In fact, "94% of fleet managers say COVID-19 will impact operations more than any single event in the past decade."(1) What’s interesting, however, is that 96% of those with EVs in their fleets feel already prepared to weather a recession, compared to only 72% of non-EV owners. (1)

The benefits that EVs can offer are likely behind this high percentage. Here are just a few.

Reduced maintenance and associated costs

Nearly 85% of EV owners report that traditional vehicles cost more to maintain than electric vehicles.1 According to Automotive Fleet, "The average internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle has around 1,500 moving parts in the vehicle drivetrain alone, with extracting energy and presenting an opportunity for ongoing maintenance, wear and tear. Conversely, most electric motors have as few as 20 moving parts in the drivetrain…Fewer moving parts equates to greater efficiency, both in energy use and maintenance."(2)

Electric vehicles also don’t require many of the things that require an ongoing cycle of maintenance, such as oil, transmission fluid and spark plugs, and contribute to an overall lower total cost of ownership. (2)

Know more about the benefits of GPS Tracking for your fleet operations.

Reduced dependence on fuel

The price of fuel fluctuates nearly weekly, depending on factors such as political conflicts, natural disasters, plant shutdowns and more. It remains a costly and unpredictable line item for fleet owners—one that can change rapidly, but nevertheless is necessary. Last year, gasoline prices were projected to increase at an average rate of $2.00 per barrel, or a 4% year-over-year increase. (2) Although global events have slowed this projected increase, it’s still possible that price changes can happen at any time.

On the other hand, according to Automotive Fleet, "New renewable energy and continued decline in capital cost of renewable energy, combined with low natural gas prices and increased use of natural gas to generate electricity, are the primary reasons the future cost of electricity is projected to remain flat in the immediate future." (2) Given this, fleets that embrace EVs are likely to realize cost savings by switching to electric, eliminating the need for traditional fuels. This helps fleets ensure essential services and operations are not adversely affected by any rapid rises in fuel prices or issues with fuel supply.

Greater energy efficiency and reduced emissions

Electric fleets can help reduce greenhouse gas and carbon emissions and support more sustainable practices aimed at slowing climate change. In fact, EV conversion of energy is more than five times more efficient when compared to a vehicle with an internal combustion engine, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2)

Given that today’s organizations are competing in a more sustainability-conscious marketplace, EVs help demonstrate a commitment to operating with greener products and services, while at the same time conserving energy and reducing operating costs. 

Improved EV charging infrastructure reduces range anxiety

It would be remiss to talk about EV adoption without mentioning range anxiety, the threat of running out of EV battery charge far from civilization. Luckily, the network of publicly available EV chargers continues to grow apace across the United States. In July 2020 the US department of Energy showed approximately 26,000 public charging stations with level 2 and DC fast charging outlets available. An abundance of chargers is helping address this range anxiety, and helping make electric power a more attractive way to fuel vehicles, from passenger cars to school buses and delivery trucks.

How the right technology helps you run a smart EV fleet

Reaping more benefit from the addition of EVs to a fleet requires the right automated technology to help managers and owners improve productivity. Mele notes, "Anything that keeps the vehicle in service longer impacts productivity. Anything that helps drivers spend the most time they can on the road and not doing other things that aren't moving down the road or their primary job impacts productivity."

Automated fleet tracking technology is essential to efficient, cost-effective business operations. Both traditional fleet vehicles and EVs require a platform that allows managers to track the specifics around each vehicle type. For instance, fleet operators need the ability to easily identify EVs among their mixed fleet when viewing location data. They also need visibility into the charging status of each vehicle in order to properly route, schedule and complete jobs, as well as battery temperature and range status.   

Reveal EV Support enables fleets to easily manage and monitor their electric vehicles by offering visibility into differentiating vehicle types, EV charging status, battery temperature, range and location. It functions as the single source of truth for vehicle status and locations pertaining to mixed fleets.  

Key features include:

  • The ability to select 'Battery Electric Vehicle' fuel type within the Reveal platform to quickly and easily distinguish EVs from other fleet vehicles
  • New icons that allow for quick identification of EVs on Reveal Live Map, Reports and Alerts
  • The ability to “know on the go” with the mobile Spotlight app that acts as a window into vehicle and asset location and status.

Sources:

1 - https://www.automotive-fleet.com/359822/survey-90-of-fleet-managers-believe-evs-are-inevitable-future-of-commercial-fleet

2 - https://www.automotive-fleet.com/342585/the-future-of-electric-vehicles-in-fleet


Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.


Tags: Productivity & Efficiency, Vehicle Maintenance

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