Why vehicle data is relevant for electric fleet operations

Why vehicle data is relevant for electric fleet operations

In the world of digitalization, vehicle data is becoming increasingly important. Why is vehicle data relevant for fleet management? What contribution does it make to the challenging electrification of the vehicle fleet? And what role does intelligent charging management play in this?

We will answer these questions in this article and take a closer look at how the operation of the electric fleet can be optimized with the right vehicle data.

What is vehicle telematics?

Telematics is made up of the terms telecommunications and information technology, and links these areas together. The technology is used to record and transmit vehicle data.

There are a variety of telematics systems, such as black box telematics devices, app-based telematics devices for the smartphone or OBD2 port telematics devices.

Vehicle manufacturers can also offer their own telematics software. If manufacturers do not offer these, companies can rely on hardware devices, such as an OBD2 port telematics device.

OBD is short for on-board diagnostics and describes a vehicle diagnostic system integrated into the car, which is an international standard for all vehicles. OBD2 is the second generation of an on-board diagnostic system that can read, monitor and process all the vehicle's ECUs - it is the gateway to the vehicle's health. The OBD2 port is usually located under the steering wheel and is familiar from workshop visits, for example, to read out faults in the car.

An OBD2 telematics plug is inserted accordingly into the OBD2 port and connected to the OBD interface in the vehicle. However, the code to be read out varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Why is vehicle data important for the electric fleet?

Telematics collects relevant data from the vehicle that is indispensable for the operation of an electric fleet, such as the state of charge (SoC) or the energy required for each journey.

Vehicle data is highly relevant for fleet management. They come into play when fleet decision makers need to make informed decisions about charging electric vehicles.

  • Vehicle availability and range are critical factors in the operation of electric vehicles. With visibility into vehicle data, the combination of fleet and charging management can make more targeted decisions about how and when to charge vehicles.
  • Meeting deadlines, low energy consumption costs, and maximizing battery and vehicle life also play a significant role in fleet management. These goals are blindly pursued without this data, to no avail.
  • During the charging process, charging stations and electric vehicles are electrically connected, but do not exchange any information. Thus, no vehicle data is forwarded to the charging stations, so no targeted charging can be carried out. In the future, such communication can be done according to ISO 15118, so that the state of charge of the electric vehicle (SoC) can be read out.

ISO 15118 is an international standard that is intended to regulate bidirectional communication between electric vehicles and charging stations. Both the vehicle and the charging station must support the standard. ISO 15118 specifically supports Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and automatic authorization and payment of the charging process (Plug & Charge). Authorization via an RFID card can be omitted at this point. The vehicle automatically identifies and authorizes itself at the charging station, which then starts the charging process.

Read more about bidirectional charging here.

With the right data, electric fleet operation can be optimized

Having the right data available is key to efficient electric vehicle operation in any fleet.

If the fleet is to be electrified, the biggest concerns are that

  • Vehicles not being fully charged when needed or sufficiently charged for the next tour or customer appointment. Especially if the vehicles deviate from their original route and there are last-minute changes.
  • Due to the increased power demand from the electric vehicles, the grid connection at the company location is overloaded and an expensive expansion of the existing grid connection has to take place. This must be avoided while maintaining the high availability of the vehicles.
vehicle data

What is OCPP?

OCPP stands for Open Charge Point Protocol and describes a standard that regulates communication between charging stations and a backend. The backend can then perform billing or, to a limited extent, charge management.

What is Modbus?

Modbus is a communication protocol used to transfer information between two or more devices via serial or proprietary connections.

OCPP and Modbus are both open protocols, which means that manufacturers can integrate it into their products without having to pay license fees. The difference here is standardization: OCPP is intended to be the standard for controlling charging stations, while Modbus communication varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

What is an API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface and describes a programming interface with which applications can communicate with each other. It is provided directly by the manufacturer.

How an intelligent charging management system like IO-ELON works

An intelligent charging management system like IO-ELON uses vehicle data to create new charging profiles and 24h charging forecasts for the fleet vehicles.

The vehicle data is either transmitted

  • via the OBD2 telematics module developed by IO-Dynamics itself or
  • via the API of the vehicle manufacturer

to the cloud. The algorithm uses the vehicle data to decide how and when to charge the vehicles.

In addition to the vehicle data, the charging and energy management algorithm also takes into account the energy consumption of the building and the energy consumption of an installed PV system (if present). A charging schedule for the electric fleet for the next 24 hours is then created.

The charging commands are passed on to the charging stations accordingly. The charging stations therefore do not communicate directly with the vehicles, so they do not necessarily have to be intelligent and have ISO 15118, for example, as the charging infrastructure communicates via the charging management system.

The fleet management system thus ensures that

  • all vehicles are used optimally and can start on time for planned routes or customer appointments
  • the vehicles are sufficiently charged for planned routes
  • the total energy costs are kept as low as possible and the network connection is optimally utilized.

Vehicle data can be used to manage a vehicle fleet efficiently. An intelligent charging management system ensures that electric vehicles are optimally charged and reliably operated.

If you would like to learn more about how our intelligent charging and energy management system can be used to manage your electric fleet or would like to see a demo, feel free to send us a message via our contact form

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