9 mar 22

How telematics is helping a 300-strong van fleet switch to electric

Oxford Direct Services, which operates Oxford City Council’s fleet of more than 300 vans, is using telematics to identify the diesel vehicles most suitable for switching to electric models.

The company provides infrastructure maintenance to houses, parks, highways, streets and waste disposal and needs to be confident that electric light commercial vehicles can meet its range requirements in real world conditions.

Owain Pearce, Transport Manager at Oxford Direct Services, said: “The published ranges of EVs, based on dynamometer testing, can often be lower in 'real world' conditions, with load, temperature, terrain and driving behaviour all affecting performance.”

Zero Emission Zone

Oxford Direct Services operates in the city of Oxford, which has introduced Britain’s first Zero Emission Zone.

The company has already bought 50 electric vehicles for its inner city fleet, including cars, vans, an electric refuse vehicle, a JCB, a sweeper and two tippers.

Its goal is to replace at least 25% of its petrol and diesel fleet with electric models by 2023, with further targets planned for the next few years.

Telematics data

To pinpoint the most appropriate vehicles to transition to battery power, Oxford Direct Services is analysing Webfleet telematics data in its fleet reporting database.

“With Webfleet reporting, we can see what daily 'real world' mileages are being achieved by both ICE and electric vehicles, along with criteria ranging from road types to standstill times, signposting vehicles' true EV potential, total cost of ownership and emissions savings,” said Pearce.

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Charging strategy

The telematics data is also helping the company to plan for the most cost-effective electric vehicle charging strategy.

Tina Mould, Capital Programme Project Manager, Oxford City Council, said: “Drivers returning to our depots at the end of the day might be prone to plug-in immediately - but 4pm to 7pm is usually the most expensive time to charge. Webfleet is helping us to educate our team and to predict how many charge points will be needed in the future.”

The fleet is already using telematics data from its first electric vehicles to track real time battery levels and remaining driving ranges.

Pre-emptive maintenance

In addition, every vehicle fitted with telematics is being scrutinised for pre-emptive maintenance alerts, while driver behaviour is being monitored in a bid to reduce fuel usage and CO2 emissions.

“Real time alerts will highlight incidents such as harsh cornering, braking or speeding, while simple traffic light coding will tell us which drivers we need to offer extra support and training,” said Pearce.

“Some of our vans are used by several different drivers in one day. With Webfleet, each driver has to log on and off allowing us to carefully monitor driving behaviour across the team.”

Energy Superhub Oxford

Oxford is hosting a pioneering project, called Energy Superhub Oxford, to create a network of rapid electric vehicle chargers, connected to the National Grid’s high voltage electricity transmission network, to recharge big vehicle fleets. The centrepiece of the city’s network is a charging station with 10 Fastned chargers of up to 300kW; 12 Tesla chargers of 250kW; and 18 x Wenea Energy AC chargers of 7-22 kW. The project has also installed charging points at several Oxford City Council depots to charge the council’s electric vehicles.


Images: Webfleet







Authored by: Jonathan Manning