What are Telematics & How Can My Municipality Make Use of Them?

Posted: November 08, 2017
Tagged As: Electric Vehicles, Fleet Management, GHG Emissions, Technology

A safe, efficient, and well-maintained fleet is a common objective among municipal staff. Ensuring vehicles are performing at their best saves staff time, improves service levels, and saves taxpayer dollars. A telematics system uses data collected from the vehicles to aid in this task, and is a worthwhile investment for your municipality.

What are Telematics?

The most basic telematics systems use GPS trackers to monitor vehicle location, speed, idle time, and a few other simple metrics. This allows fleet managers to always know where vehicles are, potentially resulting in more efficient route planning or improved response time for service requests. GPS systems can also provide limited driver feedback, coaching staff to avoid idling or hard acceleration and braking events. The systems can also be set up with location-based alerts if needed.

More advanced systems tap into the vehicle’s computer systems to provide additional valuable data.  This can include a host of metrics, including fuel economy, engine temperature, odometer readings, seat belt status, tire pressure (if equipped), power take off (PTO) activation, and diagnostic codes. This additional information is extremely helpful for maintenance and safety purposes. Drivers no longer need to report odometer readings, as the fleet manager can remotely monitor this data. Alerts can notify drivers of the vehicle’s scheduled maintenance, when tire pressure is low, or when the vehicle generates a diagnostic error code.

Telematics for Electric Vehicles

Due to the emerging nature of electric vehicles, incorporating these features with Electric Vehicles (EVs) is a challenge. LAS’ Fleet Management Service partner, FleetCarma, has developed the unique ability to collect data from EVs, creating additional benefits around fleet utilization and smart charging.  The data collected by the FleetCarma telematics modules can determine if an EV would be a suitable alternative to a conventional gasoline vehicle based on a comparison of total lifecycle costs of each vehicle.

Telematics can positively influence driver behaviour.  Employees are able to look at the vehicle fleet and see which vehicles have the greatest charge. Staff who take their work EV home at night could be eligible for compensation for the electricity consumed while charging since the software has the ability to track charging patterns. Telematics software can increase the distance driven on electric power by employing the data to educate drivers on efficient driving techniques.  

Working with data to make better decisions is becoming increasingly common for municipalities, and is proving to be a great way for fleet managers to ensure their vehicles are running smoothly.  The data provided can optimize maintenance, improve safety, and help decision makers make informed decisions when it comes time to replace the vehicle. If vehicle telematics is something your municipality may be interested in, contact Tanner Watt to learn more.
 
For additional information, check out FleetCarma’s Ultimate Guide to Fleet Telematics.

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