Keep it simple and smart
What is the most efficient way of integrating electric vehicles into my fleet? How can I reduce the costs of installing and connecting a charging infrastructure? These questions are being studied by a consortium of research partners in the eMobility-Scout project, which deals with the conceptualization, implementation and testing of a cloud-based IT solution for operating electric vehicles and sharing private charging infrastructures.
E-mobility offers companies huge potential to improve efficiency, save costs, and implement new business models. But in practice, integrating electric vehicles into a company’s fleet is not as straightforward as it might seem. The eMobility-Scout project addresses this challenge by developing and testing e-mobility solutions based on the pragmatic motto “keep it simple and smart.” It focuses on the integration of electric vehicles into existing fleets: a gradual approach that will make it easier for companies to adopt e-mobility.
User-friendly and cost-effective
“The eMobility-Scout project takes a holistic view when developing and testing e-mobility solutions for diverse applications in commercial fleets, taking into account the logistical, economic and ecological aspects,” explains Julien Ostermann, the manager in charge of the project at Fraunhofer IAO. Other project partners include Carano Software Solutions GmbH (consortium manager), TU Dresden, BVG Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, and in-integrierte Informationssysteme GmbH.
Field tests are currently being conducted by project partner BVG, with a focus on driver mobility and e-mobility fleet management. Berlin’s public transport company currently operates a total of 100 electric vehicles and has its own charging infrastructure. These tests have already revealed some interesting findings. “We discovered that by introducing a bus pooling shuttle service, we could reduce the number of vehicles in operation at any one time by up to 25 percent,” reports Heinrich Coenen, project manager in BVG’s central business development department. “The smart planning functions offered by eMobility-Scout enable us to implement the bus pooling service efficiently using vehicles from our operational fleet without having to worry about battery charge levels.”
Adaptable to any fleet: the eFleet-Cockpit
Flexible deployment schedules based on real-time data transmitted by the vehicles and the charging stations are the key to efficient fleet operation. The result of these considerations is an eFleet-Cockpit, which provides companies with a real-time overview of their electric vehicle (EV) fleet, the battery charge level of each vehicle, and the energy flows within their operating environment. The eFleet-Cockpit is an IT solution based on a mobility platform that provides companies with an easy-to-use means of managing their diverse EV fleets and operating them cost-effectively. Moreover, it is especially suited for use in heterogenous fleet operations. In addition to its EV fleet management functions, it also supports the creation or conversion of commercial fleets using electric vehicles. A built-in analysis tool enables operators to define the optimum size and composition of their fleet, the best type of charging infrastructure and number of charging stations, and the number of operational vehicles needed to assure a reliable service.
Three golden rules for successful EV fleet operation
- Reduce complexity for the user: eMobility-Scout combines all relevant functionalities, from vehicle and charging-station management to smart energy management, in a single software solution.
- Treat vehicles as an integral part of the energy system: eMobility-Scout integrates the EV fleet into the local operator’s overall energy management system.
- Look for hidden opportunities: eMobility-Scout’s concept of digitalized fleet management enables operators to identify previously unrecognized potential to make savings realizable by reducing or restructuring their fleet, and thus permitting a continuous reevaluation of the opportunities offered by electrification.