News and Insights

Part 1: Enabling Data Insight through Software Solutions

The Importance of Data to Fleet Electrification

This is one in a series of blog posts exploring the role of data in fleet electrification.

Data presents an opportunity for commercial fleet operators willing to embrace electrification

Compared to a traditional ICE fleet, the significantly increased complexity of an electrified fleet – or indeed a mixed ICE/ EV fleet whilst on the transition journey – is often cited as a barrier to adoption.

Beyond TCO Analysis

Whilst data underlying TCO calculations takes us part way, it does not describe challenges like site connection power capacity or the positive customer PR (ESG), operational or additional financial opportunity benefits available to be realised through vehicle & charger agnostic scoping, design, provisioning and consequent real-time operational management.

This highlights a fundamental issue: fleet electrification is much more than the limited data set that underlies TCO. The wider challenge – and opportunity – cuts across energy, chargers, vehicles, site energy requirements, site energy generation assets, task schedules, order and stock management, through to performance, cost and emissions reporting.

Moreover, it cuts across different time horizons: the transition plan phase; the pilot phase; the roll-out phase; right the way through to transitioned steady state/ replacement cycle. The ideal world solution is real-time data insights providing the means to iterate future planning based on fleet performance and forecast activity so as to refine the speed and nature of EV adoption.

Defining your “EV data universe”

With so many enterprise (and potentially proprietary) systems driving underlying functions, overseen by a multitude of stakeholders who have hitherto had no direct impact on fleet decisions, how can a company make sense of all the relevant and (now) interdependent datapoints?

The answer is that a successful EV transition that maximises opportunity benefits – particularly for large, complex fleet operations – is not possible without software that enables enterprise-wide orchestration. Larger enterprises used to developing their own software solutions are unlikely to have the knowledge and reach to develop their own software solution and integration roadmap in this instance.

On 23 March 2023 Reuters and GE published their joint report Digital Energy Report 2023: Without software, the energy transition is going nowhere | GE Digital with the proposition that “Digital technologies, and the software behind them, are key to delivering the intelligence and the flexibility that low-carbon energy systems of both today and tomorrow will require.”

Based on a blind survey of 600 industry professionals on the importance of digital technologies in the energy transition, the report states:

“[And] while it will take decades to modernize our physical infrastructure, software that tangibly accelerates progress is here today. Software can collect and synthesize disparate sources of data – both internal and external – for the purpose of real-time visibility into the status of operations. It can apply AI/ ML for insights and industry expertise for strategic recommendations. Software can orchestrate entire fleets to balance demand with emissions.

The energy transition requires big, systems-of systems thinking. Addressing reliability or uptime alone and at a single plant or site is not enough. Fixing a point problem with a point solution doesn’t account for the enterprise-wide orchestration required to make marked gains in decarbonization.”

These findings translate directly to the broader challenge of fleet electrification. To make asset intensive companies more efficient – for improved operational efficiency, ROI and customer satisfaction – a software solution that creates an integrated technology universe organising separate constellations of data points is essential.

Building the EV Data Universe

The software solution, as well as the implementation, requires industry expertise across energy, commercial vehicles, fleet operations and software/ hardware engineering. A clear understanding of business use cases will ensure the suitability and resilience of the solution. It also requires high level sponsorship from within the organisation to empower project input from key stakeholders during the solution design and software solution implementation phases.

In the complex EV world of stakeholder, systems and operational interdependencies, an integrated enterprise management software solution is essential to making sense of the sea of data needed to operate an EV fleet effectively and optimally with maximum uptime, thereby helping organisations to realise operational, management and infrastructure efficiencies.