Sustainable Fleet Management Practices

May 7, 2024
For fleet operators, improving sustainability is becoming an increasingly important goal. Reducing emissions and fuel consumption not only helps the environment, but it can also lead to significant cost savings. One powerful tool for boosting fleet sustainability is leveraging data from connected vehicles.

Connected vehicles are those with built-in technology that allows them to transmit data over wireless networks. This data can provide invaluable insights into vehicle usage, driving patterns, maintenance needs, and more. By tapping into this information, fleet managers can make smarter decisions to cut emissions and operate more efficiently.

Optimising Routes and Reducing Idling 

Two major contributors to excessive emissions and fuel waste are inefficient routes and excessive idling of vehicles. Connected vehicle data shines a light on these areas. GPS tracking shows exactly where vehicles travel and how much time they spend idling, such as waiting to make deliveries.

With this data, fleet managers can analyse routes and revise them to be as direct as possible, reducing unnecessary mileage. They can also pinpoint locations and times when vehicles are idling excessively and take steps to minimise this, such as rerouting or rescheduling stops.

Encouraging Eco-Driving Habits 

The way a vehicle is driven has a major impact on its fuel efficiency and emissions output. Connected vehicle data monitors driving behaviours like harsh braking, rapid acceleration, and excessive speeding. This data allows coaching drivers on eco-driving techniques like:

Progressive acceleration and braking - Rapidly accelerating and braking requires more fuel and creates more emissions than gradual, progressive techniques. Harsh acceleration and braking can be identified, allowing managers to provide targeted coaching. For example, the accelerometer and speed data may show a driver went from 0 to 60 mph in just 5 seconds, burning an excessive amount of fuel in the process. Similarly, hard braking events where the vehicle rapidly decelerated can be flagged.

Maintaining reasonable speed - Maintaining reasonable speed - Fuel consumption increases exponentially at higher speeds due to aerodynamic drag. Vehicle data shows maximum speeds reached, allowing managers to see which drivers are chronically driving over the speed limit. At 50 mph, fuel efficiency may only be reduced by about 15% compared to 30 mph. But at 70 mph, the reduction is over 25%. Excessive speeding amplifies fuel use and emissions substantially.

Avoiding excessive idling - An idling vehicle gets 0 miles per gallon, yet it's common for drivers to leave engines running unnecessarily when stopped. Connected vehicles can measure and report total idling time and idling incidents over a certain duration like 3 minutes. Some conservative estimates suggest that an idling vehicle burns about 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour. Over the course of a year, that can equate to hundreds of gallons of completely wasted fuel for a single vehicle.

Providing drivers with feedback on their driving patterns, possibly even with gamification elements, can cultivate more eco-friendly driving styles across the fleet. 

Predictive Vehicle Maintenance 

By tracking vehicle performance data, vehicle systems can detect early signs that maintenance may be needed, like increasing emissions levels. Instead of waiting for a problem to worsen, maintenance can be scheduled proactively.

Keeping vehicles in top operating condition is critical for fuel efficiency and minimising emissions. Predictive analytics allows maintenance to be planned and performed in a timely, preventative manner.

Facilitating Electrification of Fleets

As electric vehicles (EVs) become more prevalent, connected vehicle data is essential for managing an electrified fleet. Data on battery health, charging patterns, and energy usage allows fleet managers to optimise charging schedules and routes to improve the efficiency of EVs. This is particularly important as the range of EVs and the availability of charging infrastructure continue to be significant considerations.

Regulatory Compliance and Reporting

As environmental regulations become stricter, car data helps fleets comply with local, national, and international standards. The precise tracking and reporting capabilities allow companies to stay ahead of regulatory requirements, avoiding penalties and demonstrating compliance through accurate, data-driven reports.

As sustainability objectives become more imperative, connected vehicle technology provides a powerful set of tools for fleet greening. Many companies are already adopting new solutions for these sustainability benefits. However, there is still work to do in further developing and integrating the technologies into fleet operations. As these innovations progress, the future looks greener for sustainable fleet management.

Our team of experts is always happy to help you improve your fleet sustainability, feel free to get in touch with us here.

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