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UK university fleets leading the way for EV uptake

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By Will Craig, Managing Director, LeaseFetcher

On 15th February 2013, nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah died in hospital after suffering an asthma-induced seizure. She lived just off the South Circular in Lewisham, a notoriously polluted stretch of road. 

Five years after her death, a report from Professor Stephen Holgate, an expert on air quality, highlighted a “striking association” between Ella’s many emergency hospitalisations and recorded instances of illegally high levels of air pollution. Professor Holgate’s report concluded with a chilling prediction: there was a “real prospect that without unlawful levels of air pollution, Ella would not have died.”

While Ella’s death is tragic, it is sadly not unique. Earlier this year, a new study from German researchers suggested 64,000 people a year die prematurely as a result of air pollution in the UK.

Despite strict regulations and testing, internal combustion engines (ICE) are still the main cause of air pollution. Even the newest ICE vehicles still pump out huge amounts of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter into the air.

Battery-powered electric vehicles, which produce no tailpipe emissions, are often hailed as the solution to our air pollution crisis. However, electric vehicle uptake is slow. Last year, just 2.53 percent of the cars on our roads were electric.

As hotbeds of innovation, many people expect universities to be early adopters of electric vehicle technology and drive progress from the front. And around the world, universities are taking great strides to clean up their fleets.

In April, the University of Georgia invested in 20 electric buses, eliminating 4.5 million pounds of carbon emissions annually. Florida State University is following suit, transitioning to a purely electric bus fleet. And late last year, Duke University announced its updated Climate Action Plan, which includes electrifying its buses and vehicles.

But how are UK institutions performing? Are our universities driving an all-electric revolution or persisting with ICE vehicles?

Over the past six months, we have compiled data on the fuel composition of the fleets of 110 UK universities obtained through Freedom of Information requests. 

In this report, we have highlighted five interesting findings from our research. While some points seem disheartening, others have sparked hope for positive change.

Diesel still reigns supreme.

The UK government has banned the sale of petrol and diesel cars after 2040 and there is substantial pressure to pull the date forward to 2035 or even 2030. Time is ticking to make the switch to an alternative fuel vehicle.

Most industry experts are agreed that electricity is the fuel of the future. Consequently, car manufacturers are investing heavily in electric and hybrid technology.

Volkswagen is determined to have 30 new EVs by 2025. Volvo announced it won’t sell pure-ICE cars after 2019. Ford recently invested $500M in Rivian, an electric truck-maker, who will help them develop future models. And by 2020, all new smart cars in Europe will be fully electric.

While EV adoption in the UK is increasing, diesel remains the dominant fuel type in most fleets. Across all universities investigates, diesel cars made up 69.9 percent of the fleets in 2018/19, down 1.6 percent from 2017/18.

For both 2017/18 and 2018/19, we discovered that nine percent of universities only had diesel cars in their fleets.

Our data shows that diesel is still the clear favourite fuel choice for university fleets but there are signs of a slow decrease.

Key Statistics:

  • Diesel powers 69.9% of UK university fleet vehicles.
  • 9% of the universities have an entirely diesel fleet.
  • The number of universities with no diesel cars increased by 1% since 2017.

Confidence in diesel is falling.

Our data shows that diesel is slowly falling out of favour with UK universities and the same can be said for the UK public as a whole. In fact, sales of diesel cars plummeted by 37 percent between March 2017 and March 2018, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

We carried out a supplementary survey on UK motorists to investigate public opinion on electric and diesel cars. Over 60 percent agreed that diesel cars are harmful to the environment and 60 percent feel that diesel cars also have a negative impact to the public’s health in terms of air pollution. Over half of our respondents said they are now less likely to purchase a diesel car than they were five years ago.

A similar pattern follows when we turn our attention to the university data. We can see that the number of new diesel cars bought by universities is falling.

Between 2017/18 and 2018/19, the number of diesel cars as a percentage of all fleet cars decreased by 1.4 percent.

Key Statistics:

  • Since 2017, the number of diesel cars in university fleets decreased by 1.4%.
  • 63% of people believe diesel cars are harming the environment.
  • 56% of people said they’re less likely to buy a diesel car now than they were five years ago.

Electric car uptake is growing — and fast!

While electric vehicles still make up a very small part of the UK market, uptake is accelerating.

Of our surveyed motorists, 60% said they were either likely or highly likely to purchase an electric vehicle as their next car. Over 60 said they believe electric vehicles are necessary to combat air pollution and 78 percent said that electric vehicles are better for our health.

Since 2017, there was a 6.5 percent increase in the number of electric cars in university fleets. Moreover, the number of electric cars as a percentage of the whole fleet increased from 14 percent to 14.9 percent.

While electric vehicle adoption is rising, some universities are dragging their heels. More than one-quarter of universities possessed no electric cars in any of the years examined.

The progress towards electrified fleets is slow and steady but it is progress nevertheless.

Key Statistics:

  • Since 2017, the number of electric cars in university fleets increased by 6.5%.
  • 26.3% of universities possessed no electric cars.
  • 60% of respondents are likely to purchase an electric vehicle as their next car.
  • 65% of people believe electric cars are needed to combat air pollution.
  • 78% of respondents feel that electric vehicles are better for our health.

Universities are more willing to buy electric than individuals

Our data shows that universities are far more willing to adopt electric cars than the UK public as a whole.

In 2018, the electric cars made up just 2.53 percent of the UK automotive market. For universities, however, 14.9 percent of the entire fleet was electric. Universities are speeding ahead of general UK EV adoption by a staggering 12.37 percent.

But why the divergent figures?

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee examined the roadblocks in the way of consumers transitioning to electric vehicles.

Vehicle cost is the primary stumbling block. Unlike nations like Norway, where the government invests heavily in subsidies, the UK’s plug-in car grant was slashed in November 2018. It formerly covered 35 percent of the cost of the car.

In our opinion poll, over 70 percent of respondents said electric vehicles were only accessible to wealthy individuals. Nearly 80 percent said they would be more likely to purchase an electric vehicle if subsidies lowered ownership costs. In comparison, universities have dedicated fleet budgets and can justify higher up-front costs with long-term savings.

Battery capacity and an underdeveloped charging infrastructure are also key concerns for individuals. This investigation into charging infrastructure maps out the distance needed to travel to charging points. In rural regions in particular, consumers are generally not within a comfortable distance from charging points. 

Universities, on the other hand, are predominantly based in urban areas, which have access to public charging points. Additionally, most universities also own land or buildings, which allows them to install their own charging stations.

Key Statistics:

  • Electric cars comprised 2.53% of the UK automotive market in 2018.
  • 14.9% of university fleet vehicles were electric in 2018.
  • University electric vehicle adoption exceeds general UK consumer adoption by 12.37 percent.
  • 73% of people believe electric vehicles are only accessible by wealthier individuals.
  • 77% of respondents would purchase an electric vehicle if subsidies lowered the costs.
  • 73% of respondents believe that electric cars are best suited to urban areas.

Leading the way to electrification

In our survey, 78 percent of respondents said they think that universities should lead the way in the adoption of electric cars. But which institutions are making the greatest progress?

Based on a minimum of a 10-car fleet, we have identified the top five universities for electric vehicle adoption.

  • Kingston University: 64.3% of 14 cars.
  • Bournemouth University: 53.3% of 15 cars.
  • Manchester Metropolitan University: 51.9% of 27 cars.
  • University of Sunderland: 47.1% of 17 cars.
  • University of Kent: 44.1% of 68 cars.

These leaders demonstrate that with the right approach, UK universities can keep up the pace with their international counterparts when electrifying their fleets.

We also examined EV adoption by country. Based on having a minimum of a 20% electric fleet, we found that:

  • 49% of English universities were above the cut off.
  • 45% of Scottish universities were above the cut off.
  • No Welsh universities were above the cut off.
  • No Northern Irish universities were above the cut off.

English and Scottish Universities are clearly leading the way, with English Universities pulling slightly further ahead. These findings make sense when compared with the chargepoint distance data mentioned earlier as it highlights a significant lack of charging points in Wales.

Key Statistics:

  • Kingston University, Bournemouth University, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Sunderland, and the University of Kent have the top 5 electric vehicle adoption rates out of all 110 Universities examined.
  • English Universities have the highest EV adoption rates, with 49% of institutions with rates above 20% cut off.

Final Thoughts

Whilst the proportion of electric cars in university fleets is growing faster than diesel—and at a faster rate than the UK average—these fleets have a long way before they are fully green.

As other international institutions press forward with electrification, UK universities need to commit more firmly to switching if they are to keep up the pace.

Survey Methods and Data

Results for this poll are based on online survey responses collected on 30th April 2019 with a random sample of 100 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the UK, who drive a vehicle 3 or more times per week. The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Pollfish’s network of 570M consumers.

The data on UK university fleets was gathered by use of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All data was gathered by our in- house team of marketers and can be obtained upon request. 

Access to Data

To request a copy of our full report or a copy of the survey data, please email contact@leasefetcher.co.uk.

GUEST BLOG: Are we all driving Teslas now?

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You may have seen figures in the press recently that suggest that, after a lengthy period of relative consistency, the nation’s favourite car brands are changing. Yes, it would seem that the dawn of the electric car is finally upon us, with the Tesla Model 3 recording the third biggest number of UK registrations in August. 

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the model muscled its way into the top 3 with 2,082 units registered in that month.

Well, it’s fair to say that more than a pinch of salt is required when assessing the reasons behind such a sudden ascent.

On the face of it, the model’s growing popularity surpassed that of household models including the Ford Focus, the Vauxhall Corsa and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, with only the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Golf having more registrations in the month.

For a car that only began production in 2017, it’s an impressive effort. Furthermore, it would seem that the rise of the Model 3 has had an impressive impact on EV registrations overall, with sales of battery electric cars almost doubling year on year in the 12 months to August, from 9,000 in 2018 to 17,393 this year.

So, has the electric dream finally been realised and are we all now considering EVs for our next car? Have you got that salt handy?

As ever, it’s all about context. The current trials and tribulations faced by the motor sector have been well documented and it’s perhaps here where the real reasons for the Model 3’s impressive August SMMT figures lie.

The numbers show that the market as a whole saw new registrations dip by 1.6% to 92,573 in August. However, the context to bear in mind here is that August is traditionally a quiet month for registrations as the market’s emphasis shifts to the new September number plate. However, that doesn’t account for the 1,500 fewer registrations in August compared to the same month last year.

So how is Tesla bucking the trend? Has the EV manufacturer weathered the choppy seas of negative PR, only to be welcomed onto dry land to a cacophony of positive headlines?

Not quite. Those journalists perceptive enough to understand how registrations work and the delays that have dogged the production of the Tesla Model 3 have a slightly different take. 

The model is perhaps making up for lost time. James Baggot, founder of Car Dealer Magazine, put it best when he said:

“It’s worth noting that the SMMT registration figures relate to cars registered, not sold, in the month. Most Tesla Model 3 buyers put down their deposits years ago, so this is simply Tesla finally delivering a car they promised back in 2016.

“This was effectively the first full month of deliveries for the Model 3 in the UK. It has also caused an abnormal blip in the SMMT stats – electric cars are up considerably, but it’s unlikely to be something that will continue.”

So, with current market conditions perhaps flattering the Model 3’s perceived popularity in August, we may have to wait a little longer until the electric revolution is truly upon us. And, of-course, while pure-electric sales are on the up, they only represent a tiny 1.1% minority of annual car sales. 

However, it can be said that the industry has made huge strides in 2019. Car makers are now beginning to catch up as the pressure to move away from fossil fuels continues to mount, suggesting that prices for electric cars could also begin to fall.

Jaguar’s I-Pace sports utility vehicle won the world car of the year award this year, Nissan is finally beginning to talk about its new EV cross-over following the huge success of the Leaf, BMW has high hopes for its new electric Mini, while Volkswagen has been spotted testing its all-electric ID 4 SUV, one of the first EV’s in its much talked about ID series.

With Government emission targets not going away, the pressure on the industry remains. It will be interesting to see whether Tesla can stay in the headlines, for the right reasons.  

To discover our full range of electric vehicles from Motability Dealers, Lookers, visit lookers.co.uk.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

GUEST BLOG: Incorporating smartphone-based telematics into fleet duty of care

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By Nick List, Customer Success Director, Europe, eDriving

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 all UK companies have a legal obligation to ensure their employees do not suffer any unreasonable or foreseeable harm or loss in the workplace and, as such, fleet operators have a duty to not only ensure that company-owned vehicles are safe to drive but that any work-related risks for drivers are minimised.  

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) states that: “Health and safety law applies to work activities on the road in the same way as it does to all other work activities and you should manage the risks to drivers as part of your health and safety arrangements”.

In its Driving at work: Managing work-related road safety document, the HSE defines that health and safety law applies to any employer with employees who drive, ride a motorcycle or bicycle at work, as well as self-employed people. It also applies to those using their own vehicle for a work-related journey. 

For an increasing number of fleet operators, telematics is becoming part of their risk management strategy and here Nick List, eDriving’s Customer Success Director, Europe, highlights some of the benefits of smartphone-based telematics in helping to manage driver risks and explains how this technology can help fleet operators fulfil their duty of care obligations, including among the grey fleet…

In terms of managing driver risk, what’s expected of the fleet operator? 

The HSE outlines three main requirements of managing road safety effectively: safe driver, safe vehicle and safe journey. Safe driver starts with ensuring drivers are competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe and also incorporates other requirements such as checking the validity of driving licences on recruitment and periodically, ensuring drivers are adequately trained, providing refresher training if needed, and ensuring drivers are aware of various risk factors, including fatigue. 

Safe vehicle means vehicles are fit for purpose, maintained in a safe and fit condition and also includes ergonomic considerations such as seating position and driving posture. Remember, this will extend to all vehicles being used for company business, not just those within the organisation’s fleet. 

Safe journey includes planning routes thoroughly, setting realistic work schedules with regular breaks, allowing drivers enough time to complete journeys safely and considering weather conditions when planning journeys. 

How can smartphone-based telematics be incorporated into driver risk management? 

A comprehensive driver risk management programme will be based around a solid safety culture that puts safety before anything else. This safety culture will have the support of senior leadership and will be reinforced at every opportunity. 

Smartphone-based telematics can enhance a safety culture by providing visibility to managers and drivers about actual on-road performance, enabling risk intervention to be targeted accordingly. Smartphone-based telematics programmes can help to reinforce an organisation’s safety messaging through gamification features that engage and encourage drivers, keep informal safety conversations going and, crucially, provide the actual training that drivers require based upon their own individual driving style.  

What are the advantages of smartphone-based telematics over traditional in-vehicle telematics? 

Telematics can identify harsh manoeuvres such as harsh acceleration, braking and cornering; as well as speeding by posted speed limit. And while traditional, in-vehicle “black box” style telematics cannot measure driver distraction, smartphone-based telematics can. This can include any type of phone use including calls, texts, internet use and even moving the phone to view a notification. For organisations that have a “no phone usage” policy, smartphone telematics can therefore be used as an effective audit tool. 

Because smartphone-based telematics uses smartphone technology, there is no end to the features available. eDriving’s programme, Mentor by eDrivingSM, not only measures driver risk and helps to remedy it via in-app training but it also incorporates additional features to help fleet operators manage their duty of care including First Notice of Loss (FNOL), which allows drivers to report an “event” (Collision, Incident, Crash or Licence Endorsement) from within the app. It also offers vehicle inspection reports, guiding drivers through their daily walk-around vehicle checks, with key fault alerts being automatically notified to the leasing company.

How can driver strengths/ weaknesses be identified? 

Smartphone-based telematics can help both drivers and managers see how a driver performs on each and every “at-work” journey. Going a little further, driver scoring provides an at-a-glance measure of how a driver’s performance changes over time; helping both drivers and managers to measure improvement and promptly identify areas for intervention. 

How can smartphone-based telematics help fleet operators to manage driver risk in the grey fleet? 

A unique feature of smartphone-based telematics is that it requires no installation and moves with the driver and their mobile phone. It therefore works in exactly the same way whether the driver is in a company-owned vehicle or a personal vehicle, facilitating a standard measure of driver risk across an organisation’s whole fleet, regardless of vehicle type, ownership or location. 

What action can managers take based on telematics insights/ driver scores? 

One of the mistakes commonly made by fleet operators is to provide driver training when someone begins employment and then pretty much leave the driver to it after that. Some organisations may go a little further and provide refresher training, but this is often only on an annual basis and not always risk-based for the driver. Without the need to encroach on a driver’s privacy in terms of where they are driving, smartphone-based telematics and driver scoring can give managers an almost real-time insight into a driver’s level of risk and helps managers see which drivers require additional training, and of what nature. 

Driver training can then be tailored specifically to address a driver’s specific development needs, and this can be delivered in numerous ways. One method we use at eDriving – via our Mentor programme – is to deliver interactive micro-training modules directly to the smartphone app, based on the behaviours identified. So, for example, if a driver’s braking is identified as an issue, the driver will receive a short in-app video training module to encourage smoother braking.

Managers have complete visibility of training assignments and completions; and drivers that continue to under-perform are identified to the manager for further support and intervention, which might include in-car training or professional coaching. 

How can fleets help cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero?

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The UK government has an ambition to, by the year 2050, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero.  If this target is met then it could see the UK hailed as the globe’s cleanest country.

As of October 2018, around 500 million tonnes of CO2 were being emitted throughout the nation on an annual basis. Guidance from the Committee on Climate Change has been formally sought by the government about how and when the UK could bring this number down to zero though, with the move prompted from the release of a UN report which warned that CO2 emissions must be entirely stopped if dangerous climate disruption is to be avoided.

Claire Perry, the UK’s climate minister, pointed out to BBC News: “The report was a really stark and sober piece of work — a good piece of work. Now we know what the goal is, and we know what some of the levers are.

“But for me, the constant question is: what is the cost and who’s going to bear that, both in the UK and in the global economy. The question is: what does government need to do, where can the private sector come in, and what technologies will come through?”   

In this article, Vindis, a VW dealership, has showcased the scale of this challenge, by detailing just some of the things that will need to change across the nation to hit the target…

Opt for fuel-efficient vehicles

The UK government has already acted to try and make our roads cleaner, by announcing that new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned across the nation from 2040. 

While we may be a couple of decades away from seeing this ban come into force, it appears that an increasing number of British motorists are already exploring what’s available when it comes to alternative-fuel vehicles e.g. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) powered vehicles. 

In fact, Next Green Car has reported that the number of new registrations of plug-in cars jumped from just 3,500 in 2013 to over 195,000 as of the end of January 2019. Furthermore, figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders highlighted that electric car sales across the UK has shifted from only close to 500 being registered each month in the early part of 2014 to an average of 5,000 per month throughout 2018.

The infrastructure in place to handle more alternative-fuel vehicles being on British roads is certainly improving as well, thanks to both sustained government and private investment. While the UK’s network of electric vehicle charging points was recorded in at just a few hundred units as of 2011, there had been more than 5,800 charging locations, 9,800 charging devices and 16,700 connectors installed by June 2018.

We may still be quite a while away from seeing all vehicles on the roads of the UK being run on alternative fuels — the latest vehicle data from the SMMT stated that the car registrations market share for January 2019 was 64.08 per cent petrol, 29.08 per cent diesel and 6.84 per cent alternative-fuel vehicles, for example — but it appears that things are at least moving in the right direction.

Start using low-carbon fuels more

Another helping hand that the UK could benefit from if it is to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero is for more people and businesses to start using more low-carbon fuels. It appears the nation is already assisting in this area.

In figures compiled by Imperial College London and reported on by The Guardian, the capacity of renewable energy in the UK surpassed that of fossil fuels for the first time. With the amount of renewable capacity trebling in the same five-year period that fossil fuels decreased by one-third, the capacity of biomass, hydropower, solar and wind power hit 41.9 gigawatts and the capacity of gas, coal and oil-fired power plants recorded in at 41.2 gigawatts between July and September. 

Dr Iain Staffell carried out the research for Imperial College London, pointing out: “Britain’s power system is slowly but surely walking away from fossil fuels, and [the quarter between July and September] saw a major milestone on the journey.”

Earlier in 2018, a record was also set in that the UK managed to be powered without coal for three days in a row (the official time stood at 76 consecutive hours). This was before a report from Imperial College London which was commissioned by Drax suggested that coal supplied only 1.3 per cent of Britain’s entire use of electricity during the second quarter of 2018 — furnaces based at coal-fired power stations throughout the country were completely unused for 12 days in June last year too.

Better insulate homes

According to a BBC News article from February 2017, the UK was needing to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent between the date that the piece was published and 2050. What’s more, a third of those carbon emissions had been recorded from heating draughty buildings across the nation. 

However, experts from the Green Building Council — a group of leading construction firms — stated in a report sent to Parliament that 25 million existing homes will not currently meet the insulation standards being enforced in the mid-century and will need to be refurbished to the highest standards. According to calculations, these findings mean that the rate of refurbishment stood at a rate of 1.4 homes needing to be worked on every minute as of the beginning of 2017.

There are many benefits, other than just cutting carbon emissions, to conducting this work. The Green Building Council’s head Julie Hirigoyen explains: “People will have warmer homes and lower bills; they will live longer, happier lives; we will be able to address climate change and carbon emissions.

“We will also be creating many thousands of jobs and exporting our best skills in innovation.”

The UK’s ambition to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 definitely does sound like a challenge. Fortunately, some of the examples covered in this article does at least suggest that efforts are being made to ensure the nation reaches its goal.

Sources:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45856377

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/target-zero-uk-aims-to-cut-all-emissions-by-2050-bddfcwmd6

https://www.nextgreencar.com/electric-cars/statistics/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/06/uk-renewable-energy-capacity-surpasses-fossil-fuels-for-first-time

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/24/uk-power-generation-coal-free-gas-renewables-nuclear

https://www.newstatesman.com/spotlight/energy/2018/08/coal-supplied-just-one-cent-britains-electricity-summer

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/scottish-power-wind-energy-renewable-drax-gas-station-climate-change-a8585961.html

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/661933/tsgb-2017-report-summaries.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/apr/26/carpooling-commuting-car-share-liftshare-uber

The key innovations driving today’s mobile workforce into the future

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By Derek Bryan (pictured), Vice President EMEA, Verizon Connect

In a hyper competitive market, enterprises across every sector are looking for any advantage to get ahead of the competition and meet customers’ expectations. Innovation has become central to success, particularly for enterprises that rely on a mobile workforce. 

Mobile workforce management has come a long way since the days of simply tracking location over GPS, now it can be used to help connect organisational silos, boost operational efficiency, improve safety and deliver better customer service. In this piece, I will look at the technologies that are driving the mobile workforce into the future and how will they help operations and fleet managers.

Data processing enables further automation

Computer processing through algorithms or machine learning, and data storage advances have opened up possibilities that seemed unimaginable even just a few years ago. For example, an autonomous vehicle collects and analyses more than a terabyte of data in real time, each day. This ability to collect, analyse and process reams of data has spawned on demand services enable us to watch TV, stream music, order a taxi, or book a hotel room on our phones or online almost instantly – and it has increased expectations of what should be possible for both consumers and mobile workers.

With additional processing power, managers can look at multiple data sources to gain bigger samples or correlate different data sets to provide more detailed information. At the same time, greater processing creates new ways to make extra data easier for people to understand and even automate tasks. This will advance even further as the industry harnesses the ability to collect more contextually relevant data from a combination of devices such as vehicle, mobile devices and other internet enabled sensors. 

Mobile workers could soon expect a frictionless experience, where they no longer need to manually input data or provide an update a manager while performing a task, while managers will automatically gain valuable insights to improve decision making. For example, imagine you had a worker in the field who was installing a satellite dish for a customer. If the installation was taking longer than expected, contextual data collection and analysis would be able to determine this automatically and assign their next job to another field service worker or communicate an accurate expected arrival time to the next customer – all without intervention from the worker, or manager.

Vehicles gain more computing power

Much has been made of potential of the autonomous vehicle. While their widespread adoption may be some time off, the computing power of non-autonomous vehicles is growing significantly. Vehicles are now capable of reporting more information to managers than ever before. From engine diagnostic details such as temperature, oil or fuel levels, and wear and tear on parts, to things inside the vehicle such as seatbelt use, number of passengers to even what was on the radio. 

This enables more effective management of vehicles. Managers can foresee any potential engine troubles, and schedule vehicle maintenance before they occur. Or they could gain other insights that could help employee safety or wellbeing and improve customer satisfaction. For example, if a vehicle’s engine is not switched on it’s a fairly safe bet, the driver may be delayed – which can be automatically communicated to customers or other workers. Or if the vehicle’s heater is constantly on, managers could provide better uniforms to help drivers stay warm, avoid getting sick and reduce fuel consumption.

The power of voice

The rapid take-up of voice recognition technology shows how far the software has come. While it used to be rather unreliable, voice dictation is beginning to replace typing in online queries. Twenty percent of mobile queries were made via voice in 2016, while accuracy is now about 95 percent. Improved voice recognition is a powerful tool for the mobile worker, enabling hands free input of data, activation of tasks and communication with managers. It means that mobile workers can do their job more effectively, without having to take their eyes of the task at hand. This is especially useful in the fleet space – creating a better, safer field working experience.

Communication from field to office becomes more visual

Years ago, the concept of streaming films, TV or live sporting events in high definition over the internet didn’t seem possible. But through improved connectivity and video compression technology, we can create more visually led communications between mobile workers and the office. Visual sensors between the office and the mobile worker can enable more effective service – enabling remote diagnostic detection or instruction from a manager. For example, an engineer working on a site could use video to remotely consult with someone office to find an appropriate solution, rather than having to leave the site or send another worker out.

Concluding thoughts

Mobile and field-working will continue to be improved by the technology. The best deployment of tech will reduce the burden on staff, rather than adding to the workload. For workers technology will make life easier, requiring less intervention and creating a frictionless process for reporting back to the office. For managers, technology will give increased visibility on how their field workers are performing. There is seemingly no limit to what data can be collected correlated and analysed to help to improve how the organisation is run, making it safer, more profitable and more enjoyable.

GUEST BLOG: 5 ways to ensure a fleet stays safe on the roads

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By Rebecca, Technician at Dronsfields

If you manage numerous vehicles as a part of your business, you’ll understand the importance of ensuring their functionality and safety – as well as the safety of their drivers!

Here, I’ll explain how to easily keep your fleet safe and running as it should by offering up a few choice tips. By employing these practices, you’ll also keep your costs down and save yourself a lot of hassle.

  1. Make Sure Your Whole Fleet is Regularly Serviced

This sounds a lot more difficult than it actually is. There’s no need to arrange to have every single vehicle checked and tweaked separately – this is very time consuming and can really rack up the costs. 

A better approach is to invest in fleet servicing – something offered by some specialist garages and mechanics which means that all of your vehicles are managed in one group. This only requires one set of paperwork (making life much easier for you!). All units will be checked together, so you won’t have to worry about remembering when each one is due in for a service.

2. Invest in Visibility and Communication Methods

There are systems available that will allow you to track your vehicles’ locations, check for hazards such as roadworks and poor traffic conditions and to see how far each vehicle has to travel for the next job (on the off chance that you can assign it to someone a little closer to reduce wear and tear or fuel consumption).

This method will also help you to stay updated if any of your drivers get into any difficulty, so you can arrange for them to be assisted.

3. Use Telematics to Track Performance and Maintenance

The above features and more can be obtained as part of a telematics system. This is software that can be automated to whatever extent you require in order to help you manage the running of your vehicles.

An additional benefit of telematics is that you can log when your vehicles have last been serviced, and they’ll also tell you when they need maintaining in order to avoid breakdowns and elements of wear and tear becoming exacerbated.

4. Ensure Your Drivers are Fully Trained

It’s a good idea to make sure that your drivers are as knowledgeable about safe driving practices as possible. The software mentioned above can help you to keep an eye on the speeds at which they tend to drive, their fuel consumption and much more besides. However, speaking to them directly about how they as a team can improve their performance will also go a long way towards keeping them safe and ensuring that your fleet stays in good condition.

5. Make Sure Your Fleet is Properly Insured

Fully comprehensive cover is always the best choice for your vehicles – but it’s also possible to arrange fleet cover to ensure that all of your vehicles are insured as a group. Whatever combination of sizes, types and makes you utilise, insuring them all under one plan means there’s no danger of forgetting to renew – plus, it makes the process much more efficient.

So, in conclusion, you should opt for fleet maintenance and fleet insurance as a priority. Furthermore, it’s important to keep on top of driver training – plus, you may wish to invest in telematics and advanced communication software for a little something extra.

Image by Santa3 from Pixabay

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: GPSi drives accuracy for UK fleets with RoadScout and FleetConnect

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GPSi is committed to data accuracy to ensure fleet decisions are based on real insight, not on estimates or averages.

Its RoadScout telematics device captures data every second to mitigate the errors resulting from sparse data sampling.

Vehicle and driver data is presented via FleetConnect; providing insight on the performance of individuals, teams or the entire business, and highlighting trends in driving behavior as they happen, every second.  

“RoadScout already connects vehicles in some of the world’s most challenging environments.”, commented Graeme Sandieson of GPSi UK. “We are confident RoadScout and FleetConnect, will also help UK customers make the right decisions.” 

For further information: www.gpsinnovations.co.uk

Changing driver behaviour through telematics: First step, safety culture

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By Nick List, Customer Success Director, Europe at eDriving

Telematics solutions are fast becoming commonplace among fleets. No longer valued only for their “track and trace” capabilities, telematics solutions are now able to provide a vast array of behavioural insights to help fleet managers improve driver safety and wellbeing. 

Fleet managers have the ability to see real-time driver safety performance and promptly identify trends, both positive and negative. However, for behaviour-based telematics to measurably impact on work-related road risk, it’s important for an organisation to already have a solid safety culture in place. 

A commitment to safety

Organisations that introduce telematics as their “driver safety solution” without first having a solid safety culture are less likely to experience a long-term reduction in collisions and incidents. By a solid safety culture, I mean having in place policies, procedures, risk assessments, training, and most importantly, effective two-way communication between the driver and their immediate manager; all in the wider context of an organisation-wide commitment to safety, including senior leadership.

Without policies that detail what is reasonably expected of drivers in terms of their behaviour – in relation to speeding, distraction, braking, cornering, for example – how do drivers know that they need to improve? And, even with telematics data, how do drivers know what behaviours they are aiming for? 

Don’t underestimate the role that line managers play in your safety culture or the influence they have on your organisation’s safety operational balance (i.e. maintaining the same level of importance for safety as for operations). As well as providing ongoing training to drivers, it’s equally important to train managers so that they too fully understand the influence they have in helping keep drivers safe as well as recognising how best to engage with drivers. 

Interpreting telematics data

The output from telematics can be overwhelming. That’s another reason why a solid safety culture is so important. If you know what your organisation is aiming toward, you can use telematics data to guide drivers towards your safety goals. Most telematics providers will issue manager reports that give insights into driving behaviours such as speed versus posted speed limit, braking, acceleration and cornering. At eDriving, our smartphone telematics programme, Mentor by eDrivingSM, also provides feedback on phone manipulation, whether that be a phone call (handheld or hands-free), text, accessing social media or even just moving the phone to view a notification. 

It’s important that the data supplied by your telematics provider is useful and relevant to your organisation, and that you are supported in acting on this data. eDriving’s Mentor programme does this automatically, prescribing micro training modules within the smartphone app, tailored to the driving behaviours that have been identified; including distraction, speeding, scanning, braking etc. In addition, Mentor’s manager dashboard can automatically identify the 10% of drivers most at-risk in any given month and assign Manager-Driver OnetoOnes®to discuss and develop action plans for improvement. 

Effective regular communication

Communication with drivers is fundamental… Consider this: a driver has telematics installed and regularly triggers warnings about their driving behaviour, If their manager does nothing about these warnings it won’t take long for a driver to realise that they can simply ignore them. Without analysis and discussion, risky driving behaviour will never be changed. 

Again, that brings us back to the importance of a solid safety culture. Drivers need to be aware of the interventions that will occur should they fail to meet the organisation’s safe driving requirements. And don’t forget to address how good driving behaviours will be rewarded as that’s equally important. 

Formal communication (as in the case of Manager-Driver OnetoOnes) will ideally be supported by regular informal communication, whether that be in the form of face-to-face chats, driver emails, newsletters, team discussions or posters. Feedback, feedback and more feedback goes a long way to maintaining a strong safety culture over time. 

Transparency for drivers

One of the biggest concerns drivers have about telematics is their privacy. But, a solid safety culture addresses privacy concerns at the outset. And, the subsequent introduction of telematics will only serve to reinforce your mission of ensuring drivers make it home safely every day, rather than triggering concerns. If your whole organisation is aware of your commitment to safety, drivers are more likely to view telematics in a positive light. Enabling them to see how they’re performing and areas in which they can improve will further boost their engagement. 

eDriving’s Mentor programme has full transparency for drivers and acts like a fitness coach in that it prescribes drivers with their own personal validated driving score that is recalculated after every trip and accompanied by feedback related to specific driving behaviours including acceleration, braking, cornering, distraction and speeding. Drivers can immediately see areas in which they could do better and can even join colleagues in competing for the best scores using the gamification feature, “Circles”. 

To summarise, if you’re considering a new telematics programme, or assessing the effectiveness of an existing one, first look to your safety culture. Could it be strengthened? If so, it’s worth investing your time in creating a solid foundation before focusing your efforts on telematics solutions. Yes, behaviour-based telematics can be a valuable tool for reducing collision and claim rates, but only when deployed into a company culture that truly puts safety first. 

Nick List is eDriving’s Customer Success Director for Europe. 

About eDriving

eDriving helps organisations to reduce collisions, injuries, licence endorsements and total cost of ownership through a patented closed-loop driver behaviour-based safety programme that reduces collisions by up to 67%. The risk management partner of choice for many of the world’s largest and safest fleets, eDriving has served over one million drivers in 45 languages and 96 countries over its 23 years in the industry and has been recognised through 70+ client and partner awards.

eDriving will be exhibiting at Safety & Health Expo in London from 18-20 June and presenting a panel discussion on Using a Closed-Loop Approach to Measure, Manage & Reduce Driver Risk at 2:00-2:30 p.m. on 19 June in the Operational Excellence Theatre. More information.

Visit www.edriving.com.

Mentor by eDriving identifies and helps improve fleet driver behaviour

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eDriving’s fleet management software helps to reduce collisions, injuries, licence endorsements and total cost of ownership through a patented closed-loop driver behaviour-based safety programme.

Having worked with fleets for almost 25 years, eDrivingSM has identified the key components required to achieve a crash-free culture®– and they comprise a closed-loop approach to driver safety that has helped eDriving’s clients successfully reduce collisions by up to 67%.

The company’s patented programme, Mentor by eDrivingSM, provides behavioural insights and actionable intelligence to help organisations build a holistic view of driver risk within a company-wide crash-free culture. 

The Mentor platform integrates data from telematics, collisions, incidents, and licence checks to provide a complete 360-degree view of driver risk. It also provides managers with tools to reduce risk and sustain driver behaviour improvements over time. The result is reduced collisions, injuries, licence endorsements and total cost of ownership. And, most importantly, the assurance that drivers return home safely to their loved ones at the end of each day. 

Broad appeal across industries and vehicle-types

At the heart of the MentorSMprogram is an innovative telematics-based app that uses smartphone sensors to collect and analyse driver behaviours most predictive of risk including acceleration, braking, cornering, speeding, and uniquely, distraction. 

As a result of eDriving’s partnership with predictive analytics and data science pioneer, FICO®, drivers are awarded an individual score that enables both drivers and managers to see positive and negative trends in performance. Poised to become the industry standard for safe driving, the FICO® Safe Driving Score has been validated to predict the likelihood of a driver being involved in a crash or incident.  

Mentor’s gamification features, such as Circles(personal groups for sharing scores), promote engagement and friendly competition among drivers, while its unique closed-loop training makes it the only safe driving programme that goes beyond scoring to focus on improving performance. Short, engaging training modules are automatically prescribed in-app for users to view any time, any place, employing a customised continuous improvement model for lasting risk reduction. 

Because Mentor requires no hardware installation, it has broad appeal across types of drivers, vehicles (motorcycles/two-wheelers, cars, trucks, and vans), applications (service, sales, and delivery fleets of all sizes), and location (currently available in 14 languages with both right-hand drive and left-hand drive training modules).

For more information email: fleet@edriving.com or visit: www.edriving.com

What does the future of electric vehicles look like?

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What can we expect from our electric automobiles? Well, the concept of the electric car may have been around for over 100 years, but it’s only now that it is becoming a driving force in the car industry. With so many technological advances, cars are rapidly changing, with fully autonomous cars set to be rolled out by 2020. Lookers, who provide Mercedes Benz Serviceplans, take a further look… 

How possible is an all – electric future?

Last year, there was an 27% increase in purchasing electric cars compared to the previous year.  However, if the government is to reach its target of three out of five cars being electric in just over 10 years, it’s argued that more must be done to make this a reality. 

An all-electric future is likely to happen in the near future. Ministers were informed earlier this year that most new cars would have to be electric by 2030

In fact, the buzzword was ‘electrification’ at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. This meant that every car of a certain brand will be available in an electric version. While there are currently models, such as the smart caravailable under its umbrella, Mercedes, parent company, Daimler, announced at the German event that they too would have electric versions of its own fleet by 2022. There’s plenty available! 

However, this didn’t necessarily mean that they would be a fully electric battery-powered vehicle, as the term could also refer to hybrid models. 

Why are electric cars so popular?

Electric cars need a lot less maintenance care, as they have 10-times fewer moving parts to cars powered by diesel or petrol. Also, the prices are steadily coming down, making the initial outlay a lot less hefty. Another perk is that since electricity is a renewable energy, there will always be power available to utilise.

Why is an electric future becoming increasingly likely to happen? 

Protecting the environment has become a worldwide issue – and rightly so. Whether it’s cutting back on unnecessary plastic usage, or cutting back on emissions, creating a greener environment is at the forefront of our plans. 

Electric motors are widely seen as a way for us to improve the quality of our air and meet climate goals, and the production of new diesel and petrol cars is planned to cease by 2040. It has been proposed that these vehicles will be off the roads altogether 10 years later. With emission charges already in place in London, other major motorways, including the M4 and M32, are expected to start holding pollution taxes by 2020, meaning that you’ll need to switch to electric cars to avoid these costs.

Purchasing an electric car can personally save you money in the long term and Go Ultra Low also claims that a full charge could cost as little as £3, meaning it may cost approximately 3p per mile. 

What is being done to help with this?

It was reported in February last year that there were approximately 12,000 electric car charging points across the UK. By July this year, that figure had risen to over 17,000 across 6,000 locations, according to ZapMap

Worldwide, there are over two million ports, but for the public to go fully electric, this number will have to dramatically increase. Not only that, but there will have to be a lot more batteries produced, and the power to charge them would have to be generated somewhere.This highlights that EV charger installationis now a big part of the action plans for power companies as they bid to provide a low-carbon connection gateway.

It’s clear that, one day, there will be an all-electric future. Whether it happens in the time frame proposed, we will just have to wait and see!

Sources

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41268513

http://uk.businessinsider.com/google-apple-tesla-race-to-develop-driverless-cars-by-2020-2016-7?r=US&IR=T

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42709763

www.alphr.com/cars/1008121/electric-and-hybrid-car-sales-hit-record-numbers-in-2017

https://www.goultralow.com/category/ownership/savings/

https://news.sky.com/story/petrol-and-diesel-cars-banned-from-uk-roads-by-2040-10962075