5 best practices for fleet managers to stay relevant in the near future
While environmental zones mandating the reduction of carbon emissions in European urban centers began in 1996, we’re now seeing a groundswell of cities progressing through “low emission” to “zero emissions.”
Low-emission zones (LEZ) have typically targeted older and larger vehicles, namely diesel- and gas-powered trucks. But with 60% of European living in or near city centers, the impact of continued air pollution shows a dramatic impact on health. Data from the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer reveals that chronic exposure to polluted air is linked to everything from cancer to type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
It is cities that are pushing the environmental boundaries of how to limit carbon emissions. For example, Oxford recently voted to become one of Great Britain’s first cities to implement a Zero-Emission Zone (ZEZ) with the goals to:
- Reduce toxic air pollution levels
- Help tackle the climate emergency
- Improve the health of residents, workers and visitors
Fleet managers face many challenges with staying current with the rapidly changing mobility landscape. Consider these five fleet industry trends as you prepare for and embrace organizational change to thrive in a low- and zero-emissions world.
- Sustainable mobility is here to stay.
The LEZs across European cities are just the beginning. While many cities have implemented low-emission controls, even more (Lisbon is a fine example) are marching toward zero emissions.
And the pressure is coming from industry — automakers like Volvo and General Motors have vowed to stop making fossil fueled-vehicles within the next 10 years — as well as government. The European Union 2030 Climate Target Plan locks in greenhouse-gas reductions en route to the bloc’s goal to be climate neutral by 2050.
Fleet managers who haven’t begun to consider their transition to electric and hybrid vehicles are already behind.
- The charging infrastructure is fundamental to EV fleet management.
Going from traditional vehicles to electric is much more than deciding which vehicles to get. The charging infrastructure to keep those vehicles on the road is equally important.
There are many charging options and configurations, whether it’s your own charging stations, integrating public charging points, or using at-home charging systems for your employees.
Fleet managers must prepare for future charging needs in addition to the immediate requirements. And they need a technology infrastructure that will accommodate the facility limitations for power load as well as managing external charging points.
- In-vehicle data rewards better decision-making.
Access to data within fleet vehicles must be available in real time, giving managers the power to see where improvements can be made or action taken to meet a customer’s changing need.
For example, visibility into charging status would enable a fleet manager to extend a customer-service professional to take on a new request while the rep is still in the field, resulting in a more satisfied customer and reducing costs of sending a separate driver and vehicle back out.
And IoT data analytics from the vehicle can also be used to reward driver behaviors that reduce wear-and-tear, lowering maintenance costs while bolstering driver safety standards.
The key is the ability to see vehicle data in real time, not having to wait until a report runs at week or month’s end. The analytics inform business decisions that can have an immediate effect.
- Insights into fleet costs and emissions synch with organizational objectives.
A fleet-management system based on transparent data analysis will provide visibility into real-time costs and environment impacts.
Using a data-led approach, you can see the impact on fleet cost as well as emissions. Fleet managers can see the results of route changes, of changing a vehicle from an internal combustion engine car to an electric car, or of how they adjust the fuel usage of a hybrid vehicle for more electric vs. gas.
Reporting and trend analysis provides the flexibility for “what if” scenario modelling as well. All this supports the organizational goals to control and/or reduce mobility costs while also tracking environmental objectives.
- Lay the groundwork for future mobility opportunities.
Fleet management is changing every day, with new fuel and battery technologies creating opportunities for alternative fuels and vehicle use. As legislative changes occur, especially in urban centers, fleet managers must also prepare for new modes of transportation.
So-called micromobility options such as bicycles, ebikes, electric pedal-assisted bikes, electric scooters and even electric skateboards have typically been for personal usage, but as city centers develop zero-emissions programs, there are more micro vehicles for hire. Fleet managers can integrate those vehicles into charging systems and route planning.
With the foundation of data-driven mobility, fleet managers can be prepared to meet sustainability goals wherever their business takes them, while controlling costs and reducing their carbon footprint.