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The critical role of ICE-age decarbonisation and EV-enhancing tech

Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - 06:17
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Decarbonisation is high on the agenda for businesses as the UK government works towards its 2050 Net Zero target. For those who own or operate fleets, reducing emissions is key to meeting ESG, CSR and associated decarbonisation goals.

The transport industry has a carbon footprint larger than any other sector in the UK. Data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy shows that the sector produced 27% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019 – with HGVs and vans contributing over a third of this. The pressure is therefore very much on for businesses with fleets to take action, and to make a positive difference.

Lightfoot logoFleet electrification is often seen as the answer here. Indeed, the likes of BT, Royal Mail and Tesco have all committed to convert their fleets to EVs by 2030. But there are problems. Large-scale EV adoption comes with challenges: supply chain issues, limited and delayed EV production due to world events, skills shortages and a lack of infrastructure to name a few.

So, what can be done in the meanwhile? How can businesses hit their decarbonisation targets given that doing nothing is not an option?

This is where technology that addresses the way vehicles are driven is so important, as it provides a deliverable solution pre-EV, cutting fuel bills and emissions at source. It’s where Lightfoot comes in; bringing businesses a way to make their existing ICE fleets more sustainable and efficient, while they wait for the delivery of EVs, which are currently delayed by 12-18 months.

Whist making a positive environmental contribution in the interim, Lightfoot also delivers excellent EV capabilities; so, when businesses do make the switch from ICE to EVs, their drivers will be pre-conditions to a style of driving that ensures optimum EV performance.

This is made possible as Lightfoot works on the simple premise that better driving delivers greater efficiency. In the case of ICE vehicles, if they’re being driven smoothly and safely, less fuel is burnt, and carbon emissions are therefore reduced. It’s an immediate, deliverable and cost-saving solution – whereby a fleet of ICE vehicles can see CO2 and fuel reductions of up to 15% – with real-time reporting and the concept of driver-reward at its core. It also delivers for EVs too, as smoother driving enhances range by 15%+, and gives greater certainty over range consistency. More on that later.

Connected to the vehicle’s onboard computer, the Lightfoot dashboard-mounted device keeps the driver in the sweet-spot of their engine using ‘in the moment’, nudge psychology, developed with the University of Bath. This coaches drivers, and nips fuel-sapping and risky driving styles in the bud, utlising audio and visual prompts. Paired with end of journey scores that encourage drivers to achieve an Elite Driver score of 85 or above – at which point they can enter draws to win prizes ranging from consumer tech to cash – Lightfoot gives drivers good reason to be safer, smoother, and more mindful on the roads.

It’s a method that contrasts with conventional telematics, whereby fleet managers receive after the event driver data to target poor performing drivers in an approach which is broadly ineffective.

Lightfoot flips this relationship on its head, creating a solution that allows the driver to self-manage and self-moderate, encouraged by the incentive of rewards. The results are undeniable, with driver engagement levels at 60%+ compared to telematics which struggles to get above 5%.

That’s important as we move toward electric fleets, as it brings together all the standard benefits of Lightfoot – fewer accidents, reduced maintenance requirements, increased and consistent vehicle range – with a host of EV specific features too, including charging reminders, Driver Home Energy Reimbursements and enhanced battery life.

For most fleets charging infrastructure is a challenge. Home charging seems to be the most cost and time-efficient approach, but there are issues, particularly when it comes to reimbursement. How do you know which vehicle the energy went into? Was it the work vehicle, a personal vehicle, or even a friend’s car?

upside down carLightfoot’s fleet management solution overcomes this. It knows the precise charge state of the battery before and after charging, records the exact amount of energy delivered and whether the vehicle was recharged at the employee’s home, at work, or at a public charger. That eliminates the possibility of charge fraud and provides all necessary data for fleet managers to verify claims.

As a result, driver expense claims are just an app tap away, saving paperwork for both the driver and fleet manager.

That’s one problem solved, but how do you avoid forgetful chargers? Well, that’s where the Lightfoot smart phone app delivers, sending reminders to drivers should they forget to plug their vehicle in, and pre-set charge limit alerts to prevent battery degradation.  Set alongside prize draws for good charging discipline, that removes the risk of low or uncharged vehicles, and reduced battery lifetimes.

Whether you have an ICE fleet, or an emerging EV fleet, driver-focused technology is undoubtedly the key to delivering a decarbonisation strategy that will help your business hit the fast lane on the road to Net Zero. The time to act is now.

Author: Paul Hollick, Managing Director, Lightfoot

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