Touted for their easy availability, petrol and diesel became viable options to refuel vehicles over the past couple of decades. However, with the realization of the extent of damage to the environment by emissions, it seems that the end of the era for petrol/diesel engines has arrived. What has emerged, as a sustainable option today, is electric vehicles (EVs) which further promote the green revolution by minimizing carbon emissions.
As organizations and society at large are emphasizing on zero carbon emissions and taking efforts towards it, we are also seeing increased efforts by the Government of India. With an aim to make India an electric vehicle nation and to further position the country as a leader in the EV industry globally, the Indian government recently launched a number of initiatives like – FAME- I & II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles), PLI SCHEME, and Battery Swapping Policy, Special Electric Mobility Zone, Tax Reduction on EVs. All such initiatives have helped the EV’s in gaining prominence.
It is apparent that EVs come with a bunch of benefits. The use of electricity makes these vehicles a cheaper option as compared to vehicles that run on fossil fuels. EVs significantly lower the overall emission of harmful gasses, which reduces the risk of environmental damage and risk to public health. Since combustion engines run on fossil fuels they incur more cost of maintenance, unlike EVs. Factors like these will support phenomenal growth for the automotive industry in the coming years.
A survey by MarketsandMarkets claimed that the electric vehicle market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 21.7 percent by the end of this decade. Over time, in order to spur green revolution as part of their corporate social responsibility and to further save costs incurred on fuel as well as wear and tear of combustion engines, businesses are increasingly promoting and implementing the use of EVs in commercial deliveries.
How greener pastures turn into a rocky road without Telematics
Although the charm of EVs is taking the commercial fleet sector by storm, there are some considerable challenges that might impact the journey of these vehicles. Some of the major challenges include temperature issues, range anxiety, load management on vehicles, and improper road infrastructure.
Using telematics in EV fleets can be key here for managers to address such challenges efficiently. Telematics in application combines GPS and data generated by On-Board Diagnostics to form meaningful information that can be used by fleet managers to track vehicles; predict aspects like fuel, speed, idling, tire and vehicle condition, battery consumption, route status and identify nearby charging stations. Fleet managers access the data generated through telematics through IoT and Clouds.
Telematics has become essential for better deployment of EV Fleets. The global fleet telematics market accounted for USD 7.45 billion in the year 2020 and is estimated to be USD 44.68 billion at a CAGR of 19.8 percent by the end of the year 2030. Although sometimes the price factor may be a deterrent for organizations to incorporate telematics, there might be repercussions. Here is how avoiding the use of telematics might wreck your EVs:
- Temperature Issues: Temperature plays a formidable role in the output of electric vehicles. While driving in cold weather, the performance of EV fleets might deteriorate as a result of slow chemical reactions taking place within the batteries. This results in increased energy consumption from batteries in order to reach the location on time. On the contrary, extremely hot weather conditions can result in batteries catching fire. In such cases, it becomes difficult for fleet managers to assess the ideal temperature for the efficient performance of the EV fleets.
- Range Anxiety: Range anxiety refers to the fear of battery drainage and lack of charging infrastructure while the driver is completing deliveries. Adoption and awareness of EVs are still in the infant stage in India. Unlike petrol/diesel vehicles, there are not many refueling stations for EVs. Additionally, it becomes difficult for both fleet managers and drivers to locate charging stations and calculate whether the fleet will be able to reach the charging station before the battery runs out.
- Load Management: It is true that EVs have higher mobility that can exceptionally increase the productivity of your business compared to vehicles that run on fossil fuels. However, the mobility of EVs greatly depends on the load. Many times, fleet managers fail to analyze the ideal load capacity of the fleets which severely impacts the battery life of EV fleets.
- Improper Road Infrastructure: Improper road infrastructure can severely impact the condition of EVs. While planning routes for delivery, fleet managers do not have access to the current status of roads, which increases the rate of wear and tear of the vehicle. This further increases the risk to the driver’s life, which every organization would want to avoid
It might seem easier to resolve and overcome each of these challenges in an individual capacity, however, these challenges are interconnected to each other. And Telematics has the power to deploy capabilities that can not only resolve these problems but also empower EVs for a better tomorrow.
Telematics: A guard rail for EV Fleets
Shifting from a petrol/diesel model to an electric model in fleet management is itself a progressive start to support the net zero emissions initiative. Here is how the incorporation of telematics further unlocks a variety of benefits for your organization:
- Transparent Tracking: Telematics gives operators the advantage of tracking electric vehicles through GPS. The tracking is done via protocols like Wi-Fi, LTE, CDMA and 5G which can be viewed on digital maps. Telematics can help in the real-time tracking of vehicles without relying on drivers for updates. This ensures transparency and enables fleet managers to focus on other critical areas to fulfill the delivery on time.
- Lowers Maintenance Costs: With telematics, fleet managers get access to all necessary information about the health of vehicles such as pressure on tires, battery life, engine conditions, braking, and acceleration system. With access to this information, actions can be taken in time which increases the life of assets and helps in avoiding unnecessary maintenance costs.
- Better Navigation: Telematics can considerably improve the estimated time of arrival by planning the safest and shortest route. Since route planning is done in real-time by assessing aspects like road and traffic conditions, there is a lesser chance of disruptions while completing deliveries. Telematics can further save time by giving alerts on traffic conditions so that drivers can plan an alternate route to deliver on due time.
- Charging Methods: Batteries in EVs are at a higher risk of damage, especially due to improper charging. Telematics can increase the battery life by giving regular instructions on how battery conditions can be improved. These applications go the extra mile to timely inform fleet managers about EV vehicle service.
Driving Behavior: By analyzing data gathered through On-Board Diagnostic systems, fleet managers can immediately anticipate improper driving. This reduces the risk of accidents and damage to goods being carried and helps in taking necessary actions against negligent drivers on time.
With this, it is evident why telematics has grown in importance for EV Fleets. Telematics play a key role at every level of the delivery cycle by analyzing the real-time data of electric vehicles as well as data gathered from past deliveries.
AI as a savior in telematics
According to a report by Statista, telematics generates an average of 25 gigabytes of data per hour which is equivalent to nearly 30 hours of HD playback video. With piles of data being generated through telematics, it becomes difficult for IT teams to analyze it and convert it into meaningful information. Additionally, many companies plan to use telematics applications but due to the unavailability of estimated manpower and skills, they often underutilize the data. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) can help. By training AI models to examine data, managers can automate data analytics in fleet management.
Over the last couple of years, the role of artificial intelligence has increased. Today, companies across sectors are implementing artificial intelligence models to ease operations. These models can significantly help in reducing costs and risk of negligence and improve return on investment. With AI-powered telematics applications, companies can access the right data at the right time. AI models further help companies in translating unstructured and unorganized data into actionable insights. This gives them the ability to not only spot irregularities in the mechanics of electric vehicles, but also allow them to operate at maximum potential.
eBikeGo, an electric mobility company, recently announced the launch of its telematics system, ‘EBG-matics.’ The system uses AI/ML models to analyze the behavior of drivers and vehicles to increase vehicle efficiency. The company uses data generated from telematics in providing better loans and insurance on vehicles according to their condition. The company further informed that it will soon use EBG-matics as a standard on all of its vehicles to predict the health of vehicles.
After examining the potential of the electric mobility ecosystem, the central government announced subsidies for the manufacturing of EV engines, which will only increase the momentum of EV vehicles in India. Although telematics in EV fleets is still in its nascent stage in the Indian economy, we will soon witness industry-altering technological innovations that will lead to the emergence of India as a global leader in the autotech industry.
Director of Autonomous Mobility
Siddhartha Bal is the Director of Autonomous Mobility at iMerit. His team has annotated over 100 million images for computer vision projects and is considered expert in developing unique solutions for solving some of the most complex use cases in the industry. He works with clients to create an end-to-end solution, ensuring projects run with operational efficiency and produce the high-quality data required.
Published in Telematics Wire