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Supply chains critical to educate fleet masses about electric vehicles

By Tomas Edwards, CMO, Daloop

Sustainability is a heavily discussed topic right now, with individuals and businesses seeking to have less impact on the environment as they become more aware of the increasing threats to our planet.

One of the clearest moves toward a more sustainable environment is the purchase of an Electric Vehicle (EV).  EV sales are continuing to rise alongside correlating proposals over infrastructure and manufacturing developments. With sales of new combustion-engine vehicles set to end in 2030 and the UK government’s latest proposal to legislate that 50% of automakers’ sales must be electric by 2028, the trend is clear.

However, anxieties over the transition remain ever-present in conversations that I have with fleet managers, drivers and in some of the more negative articles I’ve read.

The switch to EV is happening

The transition away from combustion engines is set to become mainstream. Recent surveys show that investment in EVs continues to rise with more EVs purchased in March 2022 alone than in the whole of 2019.

Alongside this impressive statistic, the trends indicate that increasing numbers of businesses and people are planning on making the switch. According to research from BP, 43% of managers and 41% of drivers expect to make the switch to EVs within two years. Survey results in May from major tyre manufacturer, Bridgestone, revealed that 67% of motorists intend to switch. Of that figure, 47% want to change to an EV to save on fuel bills, while 56% are sold by the environmental benefits. This is interesting and highlights the conscious effort being made to reduce carbon emissions and improve sustainability.

This is happening not only on an individual level but also across the vehicle industry. Over the past year, we have seen Ford, Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi all making commitments to massively invest in EV production. It is the same for luxury carmakers, with Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, and Jaguar-Land Rover all announcing pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Anxieties persist

Despite these positive statistics, anxieties remain around the EV transition process but some of these problems are simply out of most businesses’ and governmental control. Take for example, the issues surrounding global supply chains. Volkswagen announced earlier this month that they will deliver no new EVs to customers in Europe and the US for the rest of 2022 due to sell-out of battery-powered models, citing issues within supply chains as primary cause.

Away from supply chain issues, unfortunately, and broadly reflecting the same issues facing individuals, general anxieties around fleet electrification amongst businesses persist. The main concerns regularly discussed relate to the driving range of EVs and whether necessary infrastructure will be in place to support transport decarbonization. This is where education needs to occur, because such worries can only exist if you believe that the roadside on-demand fuel supplymodel will be replicated come 2030 and beyond.   It won’t.  Charging facilities will be found at home, at work, at leisure and retail sites – anywhere where vehicles are parked for the necessary length of time. That being the case, charge will be obtained before it’s necessary and road-side facilities will be used en-route for seldom taken longer journeys.

Regardless, the UK government’s promise to increase the number of electric charge points by more than ten times to 300,000 by 2030 was broadly welcomed across the industry.

This announcement included new standards and legislation which means EV operators will have to provide real-time data for customers to check the status of charge points, and apps for customers to find the nearest available charger. Enterprises clearly have a role to play in supporting this proposal. To reduce EV charging anxiety, it is imperative that the infrastructure to support the EV transition is in place.

This is where companies like Daloop, with our data-driven mobility management software, can deliver clear benefits to fleets and businesses and alleviate concerns that some may have about EV charging and range anxiety. The software that fleet managers and businesses use to manage their EV operations is just as essential in keeping their vehicles on the road as the charge points themselves. With the correct, data-driven approach, the EV transition can be a seamless and valuable choice for any individual or business without compromising on either efficiency or costs.

Invest in our planet

Sustainability and ‘saving our planet’ is clearly one of the top drivers for switching to EVs and, in April, we had the annual World Earth awareness day.  This provided an opportunity for us all to reflect on our impact on climate change and assess what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. The theme this year was “invest in our planet”. Evidently a key investment individuals and businesses are making to reduce their carbon footprint is with the purchasing of an EV. This remains an important step, especially as the transport sector has continuously been a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions across the globe.

Aside from the environmental factor, it also makes economic sense. Research from Compare the Market found that driving an electric car for a year cost almost £600 less than a petrol equivalent after recent fuel price increases. Moreover, for businesses’ by using the right software fleet managers can safeguard journey routes and ensure that EV fleets are maintained and operated efficiently.

With the government setting clear commitments for all new HGVs to be zero-emission by 2040 and all car and van sales similarly needing to hit 100% zero-emission by 2035. EVs are now one of the most important investments that can be made to achieve global net-zero by the mid-century.

Your potential to reduce carbon emissions

This year, to support Earth Day 2022, Daloop launched a new online platform: Daloop.Earth. This platform provides business owners with an accurate, visual reflection of their potential to reduce global carbon emissions. The platform uses a simple calculation to illustrate the potential impact of a business’s fleet transition and quantifies emissions for focus and action as we all begin to make efforts toward a more sustainable transport industry.

Kar-go hits the road as UK’s first autonomous delivery vehicle

The UK’s first autonomous delivery vehicle has hit the roads – giving a glimpse into how technology is set to transform the parcel delivery industry.

Kar-go, a self-driving delivery bot built by Academy of Robotics, uses artificial intelligence and a specially developed package management system to provide contact-free delivery.

Its vision system means the electric vehicle is capable of delivering in both city-centres and suburban and rural locations.

Capable of covering 60 miles fully loaded on a single charge, the Kar-go’s makers claim this type of electric delivery bot could dramatically reduce the environmental impact of parcel deliveries.

In a landmark first journey, the machine successfully transported medical supplies from a pharmacy to a care home in Hounslow, Greater London.

In accordance with current legislation, there was a safety driver on-board Kar-go who could take over at any time, while an additional layer of safety is provided by its nearby Command Hub.

Academy of Robotics says the successful delivery shows how driverless vehicles could eventually become a common site on the streets delivering parcels across the UK.

William Sachiti, the founder of Academy of Robotics, said: “Kar-go’s first deliveries represent a key milestone for the wider automotive industry.

“We have been working closely with DfT’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), BSI, TFL and our partners at Eurovia UK to ensure that safety is at the heart of everything we do and we are grateful for the support we have received.

“What makes Kar-go magical for me is that we applied artificial intelligence and robotics in a useful and good way.

“The technology is there when it is needed and out of the way when it isn’t.

“As complex as Kar-go is, its function is very simple. To me that is good and that is an AI assisted future I would want to live in.”

Kar-go has been designed as a green alternative to diesel delivery vans, which will enable logistics companies and retailers to keep delivery costs down, while providing a more convenient customer experience by delivering on demand.

It focuses on the small, shoe-boxed sized parcels, where delivery costs, which can account for a third of the cart value, put increasing pressure on margins for both retailers and logistics companies.

The vehicle will be able to drive itself to and from the sender and recipient’s address and will hand-over the parcel autonomously using its on-board robotics.

Beginning with semi-autonomous deliveries, the level of autonomy will be gradually increased.

From the Command Hub, Academy of Robotics have instant, secure access to remote monitoring and supervision of the vehicle while it is in autonomous mode.

All elements of the vehicle’s operation from the cameras to the software logs and the vehicle’s position can be monitored and controlled remotely.

Kar-go uses artificial intelligence (AI) to navigate itself and perform many of its functions, with the specialist form of AI developed and patented in the UK by Academy of Robotics.

It uses algorithms based on evolution which can learn and ‘self-optimise’ in real-time to make the best decisions and ensure that multiple fail-safe layers are in place.

Academy of Robotics received funding from UK Research and Innovation as part of the Government’s modern industrial strategy to help scale up their technology and will begin setting up further deliveries in London and the surrounding area before the end of the year.

They are working closely with Eurovia UK, which maintains and improves much of the UK’s road network to look at how the technology can also be used to improve monitoring and management of our roads.

According to the DfT’s Road to Zero report, 33 per cent of the Nitrogen Oxide emissions from road transport were from vans, and emissions from cars and vans are reportedly causing around almost 10,000 early deaths annually.

The debut on UK roads has been welcomed by the Department for Transport. Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: “Autonomous delivery vehicles, such as Kar-go, can offer safer and speedier delivery of medical supplies to those who need it the most.

“The UK is well-placed as a science superpower to lead the world in this area and I’m delighted to support projects that drive green innovation, promote a clean transport future and help the economy.”