When commercial fleet managers consider switching to electric vehicles (EVs), they need to analyze their current vehicles, the tasks they perform, and whether electric vehicles could do the same.
This analysis requires data, and the most complete and accurate data comes from vehicles connected to a platform that allows it to be collected and reported.
“There are so many variables when you enter the world of EVs,” Erin’s CaveDirector of Product Management at Verizon Login, said PYMNTS. “Everyone is talking about electric vehicles, but really getting them out in the field, making them useful and making sure you’re optimizing your fleet for their use is really a big challenge.”
Use data to determine options
In April, Verizon Connect announced a partnership with Sawatch Laboratories in which the two companies will carry out this type of analysis for fleets of more than 10 vehicles.
When customers opt in to this service, Verizon Connect will use the data it collects about the customer’s vehicles through additional hardware as part of its Reveal fleet management solution. The company will pass this through an application programming interface (API) to Sawatch Labs, which will analyze it and help the fleet develop its EV strategy.
The analysis of an existing fleet equipped with an internal combustion engine (ICE) begins by examining elements such as the number of vehicles in the fleet, the types of vehicles used and the age of these vehicles. The older a vehicle is, the more likely it is to be replaced with something new.
The next step includes data that can be collected through telematics. This includes how long the vehicle operates each day, the number of miles driven, the types of roads it is used on and the weight of the loads it carries. This data will help determine if an EV could do the same job and how often it should be recharged.
“It’s really important to understand: can an electric vehicle even serve these routes?” Cave said.
Consideration of electric vehicles is the #1 question for fleets
A final step in the decision-making process takes into account factors other than those that can be gathered from the vehicles. This includes the cost of electric vehicles, the cost of charging an electric vehicle as opposed to refueling an ICE vehicle, the cost of vehicle wear and tear, the location of charging stations near the where the vehicles would operate and – with the supply of vehicles constrained by current supply chain issues – the availability of electric vehicles suitable for the job.
“Fleets are really trying to figure out, ‘What can I do now, what can I do next year and beyond, how much is it going to cost and what is the return on investment?’” said Cellar. .
A large and growing number of fleets are considering switching to electric vehicles. The trend was ongoing as they strived to meet environmental targets and gain efficiencies, but it has accelerated over the past year due to soaring fuel prices.
“EV is probably the #1 question we get from our customers,” Cave said. “Just in terms of what’s to come, EV is at the top of the list. They know it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight – they can’t just change all of their vehicles – but they know that they absolutely have to think about it and focus on it.