Most fleet managers understand that electric vehicles (EVs) are here to stay and will play an increasingly important role in how organisations move people from A to B. They are a proven way to reduce fleet emissions, and when utilised properly, an excellent opportunity to reduce fleet running costs. But to ensure you reap the benefits EVs are capable of, it’s important that you have a way to accurately measure EV utilisation. In short, electric vehicle tracking should be a serious consideration alongside your EV deployment.
Why electric vehicle tracking is essential
Vehicle tracking has become an integral part of any fleet management operation. Not only does it give you the peace of mind of knowing where your assets are, but it also opens the door to a wealth of utilisation data that can inform your decision-making. Electric vehicle tracking has then become an extension of this concept, but it offers several additional benefits, including identifying EV suitability, maximising EV utilisation, reducing the administration of EVs, and supporting your chosen charging strategy.
Identifying EV suitability
The first question facing a fleet when looking at adopting EVs is how many to bring on board. Often, managers are guided by anecdotal evidence about which roles are suitable for an EV replacement. These decisions are generally framed around range and vehicle suitability (4WD, etc.). If you have telematics deployed for your conventional vehicles, you will be able to use the tracking data to gain real-world insights into actual use profiles and make your decisions accordingly.
This is a good start, but if your tracking solution isn’t also compatible with the EVs you’re adopting, your new vehicles will essentially ‘drop off the radar.’
By having electric vehicle tracking in place, you can refine your EV adoption parameters; taking into consideration how the first tranche of EVs is being utilised and using that information to plan further deployments.
Maximising EV utilisation with electric vehicle tracking
Range anxiety is one of the most common reasons given for choosing a conventional vehicle over an EV. This reluctance to take a chance on an EV is completely understandable if vehicle users are unfamiliar with the technology. If the petrol vehicle is down to a quarter tank, no problem: a five-minute pit stop at any petrol station will sort you out. On the other hand, running out of charge in an EV is viewed as a major inconvenience.
Electric vehicle tracking addresses this issue by allowing managers and end-users the ability to monitor the real-time battery levels of all your EVs. It provides information on the battery level and the current range. This information can be supplied to a user’s computer or via an app on their phone so they know their chosen vehicle has sufficient charge for a trip even before they head to the car park.
This level of battery information is also a game changer for fleet managers, as it provides a centralised view of all EVs in the fleet and their status. If any EVs are running low on juice, they can be prioritised so future users aren’t inconvenienced. In this way, electric vehicle tracking brings agility to fleet EV management to maximise their use and remove unwanted roadblocks.
Reduced admin and a unified management experience
Most modern EVs will come with a level of telematics already installed and referred to as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) telematics. Unfortunately, OEM telematics are generally specific to a model or brand of EV and will not offer a unified management process across different brands. Some software suppliers are building apps to address this, but you will need to check before choosing your EVs. Even with a third-party app to bring all OEM telematics under a single management process, you will still be faced with a doubling of management workload because your conventional vehicles are being tracked by different, and often more capable technology.
The best option is to bring in an electric vehicle tracking solution that is also capable of tracking your remaining conventional vehicles. This will provide a unified system that delivers the tracking capabilities you are familiar with to your entire fleet. Plus, this continuity is available without compromising on the specific insights you want to successfully manage EVs. Just clicking on the EV Tab in the fleet management or vehicle booking program will bring up the battery information that’s important to EV management alongside all the tracking data you’re used to seeing with a conventional tracking solution.
As your appetite for more EVs grows this dual capability will support a seamless transition, opening a pathway for greater EV adoption without the necessity for additional systems or an extra layer of admin.
Electric vehicle tracking supports your EV charging strategy
The real-time battery information an electric vehicle tracking solution provides will also highlight if an EV is currently on a charger. Combine this knowledge with awareness of that EV’s current battery level and you have the tools to maximise your investment in charging infrastructure. Seeing that a vehicle occupying a charger has a nearly full battery while another EV has an almost empty battery highlights that these vehicles need to be swapped over.
It can also inform how many chargers you may choose to deploy at your head office and remote sites. The conventional wisdom of a 1-to-1 charger ratio with all EVs plugged in at the end of the day will likely prove to be an unnecessary cost if you can proactively manage vehicle charging throughout the day. Research shows that most fleets find a 1-to-4 ratio adequate for operational requirements.
Supporting operational goals
Electric vehicle tracking also helps manage risky driver behaviours, such as speeding. With a unified tracking system, you’re able to confidently address any infringements and measure the performance of all drivers equally.
Another operational goal that will be front-of-mind is measuring the outcomes of your EV investment. While it’s all well and good to know that you can achieve fuel savings of up to 70% and a reduction in maintenance costs of up to 40%, you need a way to track your fleet’s progress. By integrating electric vehicle tracking with a comprehensive reporting suite, you’ll be able to measure progress across key criteria from emissions reduction to operational savings. Being able to identify the highest-emitting vehicles and assess their suitability for EV replacement is an excellent way to tip the balance towards a more sustainable (and cheaper to run) fleet.
Future-proofing your EV investment
Electric vehicle tracking also plays a necessary component in the variety of EV management solutions being brought to market. Already, vehicle booking solutions can use electric vehicle tracking to alert a booker if their chosen vehicle is below an average trip threshold, which may impact their upcoming trip. This capability opens the door to journey management, with charging stations included in a navigation map together with suggested recharging stops based on that EV’s current battery level and range.
Enrolling EVs in your fleet’s servicing schedules will be simplified and streamlined by using electric vehicle tracking to track the necessary mileage, etc. and then include these service milestones in your operational calendar.
Smartrak and electric vehicle tracking
We’ve been busy building the tools that will help organisations transition to more sustainable fleets. Nextrak, our next-generation electric vehicle tracking solution streamlines and eliminates the hassle of managing a fleet of EVs. If you’re ready to switch to an EV fleet, get in touch with us today to discover how electric vehicle tracking can help you.