Why connectivity is “essential” for Arval’s future mobility
Arval was an early adopter of telematics, and now it reaps the benefits of its experience. Because more connectivity means more flexibility, and that’s what today’s customers want. Grégoire Chové, Managing Director of Arval Europe, guides us through Arval’s telematics journey.
Didn’t Arval have a very specific reason to get into telematics?
“Indeed. We at Arval started using telematics back in 2013 in Italy to reduce the level of vehicle theft, which was especially prevalent in some regions of the country. The project was so successful that we expanded it to the entire country the next year. This was the start of a journey of discovery for us.”
“We gradually discovered all the good things that telematics can bring, also in terms of capturing vehicle information and acting on it to improve fleet performance. Now all of our vehicles in Italy are connected. And many more in other markets as well.”
What are some of the things you learned?
“As soon as you start managing data, you’re dealing with issues of data compliance and privacy, and the constraints imposed by GDPR. That’s why Arval never analyses data down to driver level – except if there is a valid legitimate purpose or a service subscribed by the client.”
How do your customers benefit from your insights?
“Our consulting teams offer suggestions, for example in terms of energy usage or accident rates, based on the behaviour of anonymised sub-populations. The recommendations we offer help our customers optimise cost, lower CO2 emissions, and increase safety, comfort and satisfaction.”
Telematics is not just about doing things better, also about doing things differently. Can you talk a bit about that?
“It all gets interesting when you start cross-referencing and mixing data from the vehicle with external or historical sources. Weather info can help clarify the circumstances of an accident, for instance. Or comparing engine data to previous info can help us warn drivers against imminent breakdowns.”
Is it possible to quantify the benefits of connectivity?
“Telematics and connectivity have changed fleet management from a reactive into a proactive business, and that’s nothing short of revolutionary. It has raised awareness about the importance of driving style, and it has led to real cost optimisations, especially in terms of repair and downtime management, but also in fuel usage. It’s hard to put a figure on it, but just for accident rate, I’d say that connectivity can lead to a reduction by at least 10%.”
What’s still ahead on your journey of discovery?
“Connectivity creates new opportunities, which we’re indeed still developing and discovering. With a connected car, you can arrange to auto-pay for your street parking. Refueling your vehicle or recharging your EV becomes easier, with connected payment methods. A voicebot connected to Arval services can guide you to the nearest service station. Connectivity even goes beyond the car, by linking the driver to a MaaS application. In short, it makes the whole ecosystem much richer.”
Can you give us an idea of Arval’s ambitions in terms of connectivity?
“Right now, Arval has about 400,000 connected vehicles. By 2025, it’s our ambition to raise that figure to 1.5 million, out of a total fleet of 2 million. That’s because we’re convinced that connected cars will be an essential part of the future diversification of the mobility busines.”
Picture copyright: Arval, 2021.