19 September 2019

Considering electric vehicles for your fleet?  EPOD software can help

New technologies often take time to filter through to the mass market, especially when they redefine an everyday commodity. This has certainly been true of contemporary electric vehicles, which have experienced sluggish uptake since their introduction in the late 1990s. In the UK, researchers have put this down to multiple factors, including confusion around the benefits and incentives, and a lack of choice. However, things are finally starting to change, not least in the logistics sector which is subject to evermore stringent diesel taxes and government targets intended to ensure that 40 percent of commercial vans are low emission by 2030.

The Royal Mail has been trialling electric delivery vans since 2017 and, according to the latest annual Logistics Report from the Freight Transport Association (FTA), a huge 71.4 percent of van operators intend to use electric vehicles in their fleets this year. If your business is one of them, it’s time to assess the impact of the switch to a partially or completely electric fleet.

An Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) system is essential infrastructure for electric vehicle adoption – here’s why.   

Optimise fleet range for both fuel and electric vehicles

For any logistics business relying on road transportation, vehicle range is all-important. A delivery company trades on its capacity to get goods where they need to go within a strict timeframe, so any uncertainty around how many miles a vehicle can cover is simply not an option. A recent survey of 150 fleet managers found that their main area of concern relating to electric vehicles is driving range - 80% said that ‘range anxiety’ limited their company’s electric-car uptake.

Electric vehicle range is improving all the time – the UK’s leading electric vans both have a claimed range of up to 106 miles – but even more important is the ability to optimise that range. No matter the distance your drivers can cover in electric vehicles, you need to know that they can turn each and every mile into business value, which is where the route planning element of EPOD software comes into play.   

An EPOD solution can automatically identify the most direct and/or cost-effective routes for both traditional petrol and electric vehicles, taking into account appropriate duty cycles and charging opportunities for the latter. Live vehicle mapping then ensures any unplanned route deviations are factored into an electric vehicle’s range and route, so that updates can be sent to the driver remotely and in real-time.  

Maximise battery life through live data

As you may have guessed, the key to successfully integrating electric vehicles into your fleet is ensuring the technology performs to its optimum capacity. This isn’t possible without a supporting software system that allows you to minimise inefficiencies, such as Touchstar’s new ‘Waiting Time’ analysis. This feature enables you to set maximum waiting times for your drivers to adhere to, so that an undeliverable item doesn’t lead to engine idling and wasted electric vehicle battery life.

Similarly, tracking your drivers’ habits behind the wheel through vehicle telematics can help you get maximum mileage from electric vehicles. Driving style is known to have a significant impact on electric vehicle range; the Energy Saving Trust found that, after training, drivers of electric vehicles reduced energy consumption by 16% and increased driving range by 20%. With telematics built in, an EPOD system gives you the ability to encourage your drivers to adopt energy-saving driving behaviours, such as conserving momentum and smooth acceleration.

Protect your EV fleet

Electric vehicles tend to have a high resale value, which can make them attractive to market-savvy thieves. Not only does the GPS vehicle tracking capability of EPOD software allow you to see the exact location of each vehicle in your fleet via real-time mapping, and live ETAs to each new delivery destination, it gives you an extra security measure should any of them end up in the wrong hands.

Clearly, a high-value fleet makes insurance even more essential, and EPOD can help here too. Store renewal dates in the system for automatic reminders, giving you plenty of time to secure the best deal and remain compliant. Support fleet management with EPOD software, whatever your choice of vehicle   Whether your fleet is petrol, electric, hybrid or a mixture of all three, an EPOD solution is vital for getting the best from it.

To discover the other ways Touchstar’s Electronic Proof of Delivery technology can help your business achieve better fleet management, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.