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The digital route to e-mobility

Beverley Wise, Regional Director UK & Ireland for Webfleet Solutions, considers the latest green transport research and explores our digital journey to e-mobility.

Sustainability has become the top priority for UK commercial fleets, and it is easy to understand why.

According to recent research by Bridgestone and Webfleet Solutions, carbon reduction has been revealed as a business priority for 45 per cent of fleet decision-makers, even topping driver safety, cited by 37 per cent of those surveyed.

Strategic action is being spurred, at least in part, by regulation, but decarbonisation is also offering great opportunities to marry the indubitable raison d’être of businesses to make money with changes that can protect the planet – the zeitgeist of our time.

A surge in electric van registrations over recent months reflects our research findings. E-LCV take-up increased by 53 per cent in the year to April 2022, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), and they now represent one in every 24 new vans hitting UK roads.

Although the electrification of long-haul road transport presents greater technical challenges, OEMs from Daimler and MAN to Scania and Volvo, have committed to extensive R&D to overcome these.

As things stand, electric vans and trucks do remain more expensive to lease or purchase up front than their fossil-fuelled equivalents, but the significance of total cost of ownership (TCO) calculations in fleet budgeting has become increasingly evident. TCO can already favour eLCVs, with significant savings possible in everyday running costs, while parity for electric trucks is anticipated within just three years.


To help accelerate our transport decarbonisation journey, digital transformation is continuing apace. Indeed, we found that the automation of fleet processes is considered a priority by 42 per cent of decision-makers, with almost two-fifths (39%) of LCV fleets and 29% of HGV fleets believing that their current tech is insufficient for managing their carbon footprint.

For many operators, telematics platforms are taking centre stage. Four in ten (41 per cent) LCV fleets, and more than a third of HGV fleets (35 per cent) plan to introduce the technology over the next 12 months.

For traditional ICE fleets, by combining reporting intelligence – everything from vehicle location, routing, scheduling and driver behaviour scores to mpg and idling time, maintenance and fuel card information – fuel wastage and trends impacting carbon efficiency can be more easily identified and tackled.

Telematics-generated insights from systems such as WEBFLEET will also play a vital role in helping ease the electric transition and supporting the on-going operation of electric vehicles (EVs) – minimising cost and optimising performance.

From day one, planning reports provide visibility over the typical mileage and journeys undertaken by drivers, signalling which vehicles to switch to EV alternatives.

Operationally, data can then provide the intelligence needed to ensure EVs are fully charged when they need to be and are utilised to minimise downtime. Not only will it enable the monitoring of real time battery levels and remaining driving ranges, but systems can allow fleets to compare vehicles’ energy performance, identify inefficiencies and navigate drivers to the closest charging stations.

Furthermore, they’ll ensure charging takes place when tariffs are most favourable and just before drivers embark on journeys.

Although three in five (60 per cent) fleets believe greater financial support and guidance is needed from government as we collectively strive for a net zero transport sector, there is every cause for optimism.

Both van and HGV operators predict they’ll be fully carbon neutral within nine years. As EV battery range, vehicle choice and charging infrastructure improves – alongside an ever-growing ecosystem of dedicated solutions such as WEBFLEET – a new e-mobility future is honing into sharp focus.


Published On: 19/05/2022 16:00:55


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