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How IoT Can Improve Fuel Efficiency and Vehicle Health

5 minute read

Telematics can sometimes seem like a complex technology with lots of bells and whistles. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that telematics has a seemingly endless variety of solutions for companies looking to become more efficient. In reality, telematics accomplishes relatively simple goals.

One of the biggest goals for fleets is fuel efficiency and vehicle health. IoT helps cut through the noise and gets straight to the point: it can inform fleet managers exactly where fuel usage can be reduced and what vehicle parts need attention.

The technology needed to do this is not as complicated as one would think, because IoT hardware is tailored to pay attention to just these things. The data collected from them is then combined to give managers a simple overview to make informed decisions.

Fuel Efficiency

The first step to reducing fuel usage is to track how much is being used in the first place. Companies can set goals by looking at their usage and costs over time.

For example, fuel typically costs more in the summer. This is because gas can vaporize quicker and contribute to air pollution due to higher temperatures in the summer, and thus needs to be blended with components to prevent this. Companies can use fleet telematics to understand what their consumption is in summer months versus winter months and calculate if this lines up with demand.

Regardless of season, fuel is a major expense for vehicle fleets. Just one commercial truck consumes about $70,000 in fuel per year. IoT sensors can identify gas leaks for immediate correction to prevent wasted fuel, money, and negative environmental side effects.

Vehicle Health and Predictive Maintenance

Maintaining fleet health means taking preventive action in addition to reactive action. It is far more costly for companies to wait until problems are visibly occurring with vehicles than to keep them up to date with maintenance. Even with routine checks, things can still go wrong. IoT can step in and make sure maintenance is happening when it needs to, and not just when it is scheduled to.

IoT can identify immediate gas leaks, but when predictive maintenance has been in place over time, it can also reduce the probability of leaks in the first place. Predictive maintenance can also ensure that vehicles are performing optimally. Metrics such as tire and brake performance can be constantly monitored. Even simple fixes like tire pressure or disc brake adjustments keep vehicles healthier for far longer, but they can be easily forgotten. Fleet telematics makes sure all these nitty gritty details are consistently up to date.

Some vehicles are also too costly to keep repairing. IoT data can inform fleet managers which vehicles should be replaced and when it is financially optimal to do so. This way, managers can slowly phase out vehicles without having to replace too many vehicles at once.

A key part of vehicle fleet health is addressing vehicles that have persistent issues. This can also help managers uncover root causes to problems they may be seeing further down the line.

McKinsey & Company reported a case study of an environmental-services company that used telematics to significantly reduce maintenance costs. Fleet telematics, which helped save costs for more than 10,000 vehicles, pinpointed that exhaust-system failures were a large portion of overall maintenance costs.

Telematics data then uncovered that this issue was being exacerbated by driving behaviors when drivers were ignoring in-cab warnings to adjust their driving to allow diesel-particulate filters (DPFs) to regenerate. DPFs are important in diesel vehicles because they capture soot exhaust to prevent them from being released into the atmosphere. But the particulates have to be removed from the filter, too, which is called ‘regeneration’. When this doesn’t happen, the filter becomes clogged and needs repair.

Fleet managers were able to address the root of this issue directly and help coach drivers that were not improving. Telematics not only helped uncover where the DPF maintenance problem was occurring, but it also helped increase overall fleet comprehension as well.

IoT Fleet Solutions

IoT is here to help fleet managers balance a constantly-revolving list of responsibilities. Fuel efficiency and vehicle health are top priorities for a healthy fleet. IoT technology can focus on these aspects specifically, all while gathering other useful data. This allows fleet managers to focus on what matters with the confidence that vehicles are still being monitored for performance. It also gives managers insight that they may not have realized they needed before.

KORE Fleet provides simple and inclusive solutions for fleets of all sizes to get ahead of their fuel usage and achieve greater vehicle health. Solutions are not usually one-size-fits-all. Thankfully, IoT can help companies achieve their goals while also catering to their specific needs.

Download the eBook, “Getting Connected: Everything You Need to Know About IoT Fleet Management” to learn how IoT can help with the variety of tasks faced by fleet managers.

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