07 August 2017

Help for Road Haulage Operators Who Fear the Switch to Electric Trucks  

How to Prove the Case for Amps over Diesel Will Work for You

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Shipping News Feature UK – Road haulage operators can be an innovative bunch, but not when there is a risk to business, and this, quite rightly, is exactly how the switch to electric vehicles is perceived by many truck operators which have relied on diesel powered lorries and vans for generations. Now however there may be a simple way to calculate what percentage of a fleet may safely make the change without encountering that obvious fear of literally running out of juice when still away from base.

Fleet Innovations, headquartered in Kidderminster, was founded in 2010 with the object of providing companies with information relevant to their business and has developed a couple of easy to use systems to make life a lot simpler. Besides the PeakMiles dongle which routinely records all business miles and creates a record of expenses acceptable to HMRC, the company now markets the CleanCar system, again a device which, when plugged into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket, measures the precise details of every journey undertaken.

This information, based on GPS input, illustrates whether a change to Ultra Low Emission Driving makes sense or not. This video explains in some detail how the system works and results can be compared so that users can understand not only if electrically powered vehicles would suit them but, if so, what manufacturer’s models would be most apt for the task in hand.

Currently of course the system is suited best to both cars and vans but doubtless, as ever larger trucks are developed, the usefulness of such data collection devices will increase. Alex Baker, CEO of Fleet Innovations, takes an obvious delight in explaining just how the CleanCar system works, emphasising its usefulness for owners of LCV’s and saying:

“We take a very small GPS device, about the size of a cigar, and place it in the cigarette lighter socket of the vehicle. Once in place, it will track all your journeys, and once those journeys are tracked, they’re sent via a sim card to our portal. We normally collect about a month’s worth of data, and we’re then able to say: 1) Are you suitable for an electric vehicle? 2) Which electric vehicles are best suited, and 3) Will you actually save any money by making the switch from petrol/diesel to an electric vehicle?”

CleanCar has so far been trialled by around fifty fleets and details of a major success are given on the video of a 3 month trial at BAE Systems which resulted in the company installing 26 charging stations to power up a fleet of 60 electric vans in a move estimated to save the company around £120,000 per annum whilst improving its environmental credentials.

Alex Baker was keen to emphasise that his company is not in the business of selling vehicles, merely ensuring that clients make the right choice for them. He point out that much of the published information is erroneous, with electric vehicles considered slow to charge and having a minimal range whilst hybrids are hyped up as having the ability to achieve phenomenal mpg figures. He concludes:

“We’re trying to bring some reality back to it, really, because PHEVs aren’t right for everyone. If you’re flying up and down the motorway all the time, you’ll never get any benefit, and you’re better off with a petrol/diesel equivalent. But there’s also going to be a lot of drivers, who could be very, very suitable for a full electric vehicle, and could benefit massively.”

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