Telematics even more important with EVs than ICE fleets, Geotab warns
17 June 2021
Author: Sean Keywood
Telematics is even more important for fleets running EVs than it is for those running petrol or diesel cars.
That's according to Tamas Halbrucker, solutions engineer for telematics firm Geotab.
Speaking during Geotab's online event Mobility Connect: The Drive to Sustainability, Halbrucker explained that the differing attributes of EVs compared with ICE vehicles made it even more essential for managers to have access to telematics data to understand their operation.
He said: "EVs have different properties than conventional vehicles, so it is crucial to utilise their capabilities as much as possible.
"Telematics and management by measurement is even more important when it comes to electric vehicles, due to their high efficiency, limited range, and longer recharging process. Integrating these vehicles into the telematics system allows fleets to utilise them efficiently."
Halbrucker explained that, with EV registrations in Europe proving higher among fleets than consumers, there was a clear demand and interest in fleet electrification, but he cautioned that this was not a simple process.
He said: "100% electric fleets are an exception. Most of the fleets are starting from 0%, introducing EVs and gradually increasing their number until you reach an optimum.
"This optimum will also be likely below 100% for most of them, as EVs are not the best choice for all tasks. They have different properties, different strengths, and different weaknesses compared to conventional vehicles.
"The strengths mostly outnumber the weaknesses, but fleet electrification projects need to be carefully planned and executed to guarantee success."
Halbrucker said that Geotab's electric vehicle suitability assessment was an example of how telematics data could be used to help electrifying fleets.
He said: "Telematics and good data can support fleet managers over the whole journey of going, operating and scaling electric. When fleet managers consider introducing EVs to their fleet, the main questions are always about 'Which vehicles should I consider?'.
"By analysing telematics data from the existing fleet, the guesswork can be taken out of the equation. All vehicles can be analysed on a daily basis to see the average driving range, consumption, and seasonality."
Halbrucker added that there were some specific difficulties in getting data from EVs which fleets needed to be aware of.
He said: "Successful EV adoption requires good data. Telematics data can be an asset in all stages of the vehicle electrification journey. But since EVs don't follow mandatory data standards, getting relevant data out of EVs is not an easy task.
"It is vital that the telematics system supports a wide range of different makes and models, and is able to get rich EV data like charging status and state of charge from those vehicles."
Another speaker on the event, Mercedes-Benz Connectivity Services CEO Sten Rauch, said that from a manufacturer's point of view, they were aware of the need to cater for the needs of fleets with EVs when it came to charging.
He said: "Many vehicles are used in a B2B context, so commercial [vehicles] or as company cars, be it PHEV or pure EV. Therefore, it's not only that you are able to charge, you need also to be able to pay for charging, and it should be paid by the company in many cases and not only by the driver.
"You really need to make sure that you do not only think about the technology in the vehicle - you need to enable the whole ecosystem."