Citing the current socio-economic climate together with the disruption caused by the war in Ukraine as just two reasons for the current difficulties faced by manufacturers in building enough new vehicles to satiate demand, ALD has recognised that the typical vehicle rental and ownership dynamic is changing. Businesses need to keep vehicles on the road for longer than they have been accustomed to, while remaining cost efficient in operation. As a result, ALD Automotive has launched a product named TCO+. Although TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) products are not new, the company claims that its robust cost analysis and insight goes beyond anything offered by its competitors. 

While other TCO products take into account the more familiar parameters of contracted mileage and the maintenance charges forecast, together with rental or depreciation costs, they are unlikely to include VOR (Vehicle Off Road) downtime and the considerable costs this can incur. These can include hire charges for replacement vehicles, loss of revenue, driver downtime and even contract breaches from dissatisfied clients. Other, less obvious costs to a business can be the likes of expenditure ‘in converting a fleet to electric, such as the installation of workplace chargers or charge points at employees homes. 

Using a bespoke consultative approach, ALD takes into account a number of factors. Vehicle selection considers over 30 parameters including all load-carrying requirements for the operation, filtering out all those that are not compliant. TCO+ also looks at the level of manufacturers’ dealer network support in the area of operation, including where regular routes are taken and the driver’s home address. This potential support level could drastically reduce costly VOR time. In addition, historical data available to ALD allows
it to assess the performance of dealers, proactively resolving issues to the benefit of the van operator.

As early adopters to operating electric vans will testify, reducing the amount of time a van is having to be charged in the course of a working day is cost critical. TCO+ models over 20 different combinations of journey, allowing the product to take into account this downtime and the operational impact this will have. Also taken into consideration are the costs involved in any transition, such as the fitment of employee home chargers, the method and cost of reimbursing the employee for electricity used, and what happens should the charger no longer be needed. 

An option to the TCO+ product is the ProFleet Telematic feature. Analysing the daily journey profiles of drivers it can identify those where an electric van would be suitable. In addition, it can report suitable locations to install chargers, map driver locations to public charging networks and analyse optimum charging speed. 

Quoting a case where a large client wanted to identify the most suitable drivers to allocate its first electric LCV’s to, ALD worked through telematics data highlighting the prime candidates for the transition, also taking into account external factors including the length of service of the employee suggesting that any investment in a home charger would lead to a low risk of the item becoming redundant. Once vehicles were added to the fleet, telematics allows ALD to supply TCO+ data to the client on an ongoing basis so any changes can be monitored, and acted upon if necessary. The client said “Without the in-depth analysis carried out by Russ and his team I feel we’d have been taking a guess at which vehicles would be most suitable for change first. With the assistance of the ALD team we now know exactly which drivers and which pockets of the business to focus our energy on to give us the best chances of adopting electric commercial vehicles right first time.”

Highly Commended: Auto Windscreens/VisionTrack

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VisionTrack, a leading supplier of video telematic solutions has been supplying Auto Windscreens with dashcams since 2017, these being integrated with Auto Windscreens fleet telematics technology initially to improve road safety and protect drivers, also assisting with insurance claims where liability could be proven. 

Thanks to the success of this partnership, all fleet and telematics requirements have been consolidated through VisionTrack’s platform. This cloud-based service brings together all its fleet, claims and risk management operations.

This combination saw a reduction in driving incidents of 17.3% in 2021. In addition, in assisting routing, job allocation and driver behaviour the system is cited as being responsible for a 7.5% reduction in fuel usage. The reports generated have allowed the company to target coaching to drivers who may benefit from additional training, further improving safety and efficiency. Driver score league tables have encouraged healthy competition among employees.