Cross-company digitization and electrification of carpool and carsharing services

The Smart eFleets project initially focuses on large waste and utility companies with electric fleets

The 21st century is all about mobility, but also about sustainability. E-mobility is the buzzword of the moment, and hardly any company can ignore it. Where previously it was “mobility at any price,” now mindfulness, environmental protection and, not least, thriftiness are also on the agenda.

Electromobility and sharing in the vehicle fleet

As always, it is initially individual players who recognize the potential of new technologies and harness them for larger economic contexts. Electromobility is no exception: As a fleet manager, deciding among the many different impulses from providers whether and, if so, which application makes sense for a company seems a Herculean task.

But for almost every fleet manager, digitization has been an issue at some point in recent years, and hardly any fleet today can manage without digital support. And rightly so. Almost all fleet management processes benefit from digital solutions, whether it’s simple and clear booking and administration, the secure and convenient handover of vehicles, or procurement, administration and claims management. Everywhere, software can relieve the burden, free up personnel resources, increase capacity utilization and thus act cost-effectively and efficiently. For most fleet managers, however, the question of electromobility goes hand in hand with high acquisition costs, uncertainty about charging capacities, charging infrastructure and availability.

The Smart eFleets research project

This is the situation that the Smart eFleets consortium wants to counter. The research project initiated by various Berlin supply and disposal companies with electric fleets is dedicated for the first time to the topics of e-mobility and digitalization in fleet management as a whole, using the example of municipal supply and disposal companies. However, the project goes even further and looks at the topic of electrification particularly in terms of sustainability and environmental protection; to achieve this, e-mobility must gain broader acceptance and more practicality:

Equipping carpools and carsharing services with electric vehicles across as much of the country as possible can make a significant contribution to reducing local emissions.

In order to overcome the inhibition threshold for companies, the economic aspect must not be ignored. That’s why Smart eFleets’ development work is deliberately focused on cross-company models that canspread costs and risks and facilitate access for interested users.

Another focus of the analysis is the way in which digitization and electrification are implemented in companies via change management. The framework conditions for corporate and personal mobility are changing significantly, and corporate strategies must be continuously adapted accordingly. Which approaches are promising, i.e., lead to a rapid and noticeable change in fleet management, will not only be presented, but also applied to third-party providers in a next step with the aim of providing assistance to other industries as well. In the best case, a better market penetration for electromobility will be achieved.

With Carano's software solution, pool vehicles can also be booked across different companies
The Smart eFleets pilot project serves as a guide for efficient cross-company fleet and charging management.

Smart eFleets in detail: Cross-company fleet management in the e-fleet

What has all sounded rather vague and theoretical so far is breaking down into concrete research subjects. The detailed view enables a deep understanding of internal and cross-company processes with the aim of applying electromobility in a resource-saving manner and with high capacity utilization.


  • What legal, contractual and statutory framework conditions are necessary so that several companies can jointly use an (electronic) fleet?
  • What might contracts between these companies and third-party vendors look like?


  • Which processes can be derived from digital fleet management and how can these processes be optimized?

Technical requirements

  • Structure of a system architecture
  • Establishment of a common booking platform with interfaces for third-party providers
  • Integration of existing digital solutions and data


  • Development of an efficient infrastructure for charging electric vehicles
  • Alternating operation according to time-of-use windows
  • Synergies with local energy supply


  • Determination
    • of the vehicle demand at peak times
    • average distances
    • Of vehicle types unsuitable for the pool
  • Multiple use through transparent availability
  • Reduction of fleet vehicles through pooling
  • increased utilization


  • Operational safety
  • Compatibility
  • Risks
  • General booking and billing platform
  • Emergency options for system
Das Forschungsprojekt Smart eFleets wird vom Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur gefördert.
Die Carsharing Software CaranoCloud von Carano liefert die IT-Grundlage für unternehmensübergreifende Buchung von E-Fahrzeugen.

Goals and results of Smart eFleets

The basic idea behind any sharing approach is to exploit synergies, save costs, optimize processes through standardization, and achieve sustainability by conserving resources. Smart eFleets develops this idea further using a pilot fleet, the collected urban vehicles from different sectors.

The vision is a kind of sharing squared, when not only the employees of one company, but several companies at once share an (electronic) car pool, which is jointly managed, booked, loaded, maintained and billed. The prerequisite for this is comprehensive digitization of fleet management and appropriate framework conditions for participants.

The starting point is the careful analysis of processes in fleet management and its optimization in order to achieve higher utilization and thus a reduction in fleet vehicles; with regard to electromobility, a joint Charging station infrastructure and the spreading of risk and acquisition costs, the inhibition threshold for companies is lowered; thus, sustainability and environmental protection can be emphasized more strongly.

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