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Telematics and the Energy Transition

02 September 2022

electric vehicleCLS is shaping the future of electric fleet management by adapting its services and support for companies going through the energy transition.

Since its inception, fleet telematics has been constantly evolving and expanding to include ever more features, from geolocation to connected tachographs for analysing driver activity times, to the uploading of technical data on things like fuel consumption and driver behaviour. Onboard units are now connected to drivers’ smartphones and tablets, TPMS sensors, temperature probes, load sensors etc.

This enhanced functionality has enabled new data analysis and vehicle/route tracking services to be added to fleet management portals, creating major savings for companies in terms of fuel, human resources, tyres, maintenance and so on, while also improving fleet performance.

Telematics is currently adapting to the latest challenge of the energy transition, and in particular to the market launch of electric vehicles. And CLS is seeing companies commit to the energy transition in each of its market segments, from waste collection to multimodal logistics to humanitarian aid, as Jean-Christophe Lagrange, Head of Solutions & Innovation at CLS’s Mobilities Business Unit, explains.

“The trend is growing day by day, with ever more companies shifting to sustainable mobility and embarking on the electrification or hybridization of their fleets. The humanitarian market has introduced new Car Policies in favour of cleaner, greener, more environmentally friendly fleets, while NGOs and all of the UN’s European headquarters are already equipped with electric cars for staff to get around locally. The waste collection sector is introducing electric and hydrogen-powered refuse trucks, cleaning and utility vehicles, waste vacuum trucks and trikes. Our customers expect us to accompany them on the telematics front and to provide the same level of service for their electric fleets as we do for diesel.”

Going Electric: What’s the Difference?

While fleet electrification meets the key challenge of reducing emissions, it is not always easy for companies to understand and involves driving and operational changes that telematics may help to assess and manage.

On the driving side, it’s all about measuring electricity rather than fuel consumption, and monitoring braking (which on certain vehicles helps to recharge the batteries) plus sudden accelerations (which on the contrary quickly reduce driving range). This data must then be adapted to such features as the eco-driving tools.

To do this, telematics systems must gather battery, contact time, engine temperature and door status data in real time, as well as data from equipment like the onboard cameras, sensors and probes. This enables the onboard computer or driver app to adapt the route by choosing, for instance, flat roads over steep inclines which use more energy. The driver can receive notifications and alerts on how long they have left before needing to recharge the batteries and how this will impact their current round.

On the vehicle management side, software platforms must gather data on energy consumption to determine remaining driving range and recalculate routes and rounds taking into account the location of charging points and the time required. Route planning algorithms must adapt accordingly to identify efficient route plans that are as precise as those for combustion vehicles.

Managers can receive energy consumption reports for their entire fleet, predict battery duration, plan recharging times and locations, and display areas of vehicle overconsumption on a map.

Telematics also facilitates fleet auditing, in order to determine the suitability of migrating from combustion vehicles to an electric fleet and to lay out a plan of action.

More info about our multimodal logistics’ solutions

Electric charging stationThe CLS Approach

CLS’s Ecomobiliteam has spent several months monitoring all developments related to fleet electrification in order to clearly identify customers’ emerging needs. Jean-Christophe explains: “Telematics must enable operators to manage their energy consumption and to analyse routes within driving range while taking into account certain constraints, such as ambient temperature which impacts battery autonomy.

CLS aims to use vehicle data collection to focus its services on fleet auditing and companies’ needs. Telematics must facilitate the adoption and use of these vehicles that drive so differently, entailing for example the creation of customized driver training programmes. Local authorities will also need to consider installing charging stations on a case-by-case basis, while optimizing waste collection routes. Various constraints may prevent charging points from being installed at depots.”

CLS’s expertise and route optimization database for combustion vehicles will enable it to adapt its services to electric fleets and predict the extra cost to customers of installing electric charging stations. “Our data will enable us to map out charging points for each vehicle and offer consulting services to any town or city,” adds Jean-Christophe.

In the long term, beyond its key role of connecting electric vehicles, CLS will probably be able to create management, tracking and remote diagnostics services for new vehicles like electric trikes, mopeds and drones! As Jean-Christophe concludes: “Electrification opens up the possibility of major innovations and the development of new services that will enable CLS to best partner all of its customers towards the energy transition.”

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