The truck has been the backbone of construction since the Model T days. Mobility, durability, and reliability are the keys to the vehicle’s value and, as the fleet of vehicles grows in number and age, methods of managing those units becomes more important. Fleet management has taken on new meaning as technology such as telematics and GPS replace driver’s logbook for data collection. Some companies are at the leading edge of developing methods to use these technologies, and adoption is gaining worldwide.
ResearchAndMarkets.com has released a report, Fleet Management in Europe – 14th Edition, which shows the impact of trucking and fleet management technologies. Official statistics indicate 38.6 million commercial vehicles were in use in the European Union in 2016. The 6.2 million medium and heavy trucks accounted for more than 75% of all inland transports, forming a 250 billion industry.
All major truck manufacturers in the European market offer OEM (original-equipment manufacturer) telematics solutions as a part of their product portfolio. Scania rolled out the Scania Communicator as standard on all European markets and includes a 10-year basic service subscription. All medium and heavy-duty trucks from Daimler contain the Fleetboard vehicle computer as standard. Volvo offers Dynafleet as standard in Europe. New MAN trucks are now equipped with RIO as standard replacing MAN TeleMatics. DAF launched its new optional DAF Connect that has been developed in-house in September 2016.
According to another ResearchAndMarkets.com report, the number of active fleet-management systems deployed in commercial vehicle fleets in North America was 9.5 million in Q4-2018. This number is expected to reach 20.8 million by 2023. In Latin America, the number of active fleet management systems is expected to increase from 3.4 million in Q4-2018, to 6.9 million in 2023.
Consolidation is starting to change the market as well. EnVue Telematics, for example, has partnered with Samsara. Samsara products in the telematics industry focus on fleet safety, operational efficiency, and driver safety. They leverage the ability to capture data from fleet management operations with technology such as high-bandwidth wireless networks and inexpensive radios, sensors, and cameras.
While using technology such as telematics improves fleet management, another aspect of controlling costs in fleet operation is starting to create a buzz: electric vehicles. Heavy duty electric trucks can help improve the work environment for drivers and construction workers thanks to low noise level and zero exhaust emissions during operation. The latter will have a significant and positive effect on air quality in cities with many ongoing construction projects.
Volvo Trucks is planning for electric heavy-duty trucks for construction by having selected customers in Europe pilot a small number of future electric vehicles. More extensive commercialization will follow. The speed of electrification will depend on several factors: an extensive expansion of the charging infrastructure is needed, and regional power networks must be able to deliver enough transfer capacity in the long term. In parallel with increased electrification of the transport sector, ongoing improvement of the efficiency of combustion engines will continue to play a key role for long haul truck transport for many years to come.
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