Gruppe von Menschen auf einem Fuhrparkgelände

Multicompany digitization and electrification of carpool and carsharing services

The 21st century is all about mobility, though sustainability is not far behind. E-mobility is the buzzword of the day, which few companies can afford to ignore. Where the motto used to be “mobility at any price,” the agenda now includes mindfulness, environmental protection and, not least, economy.

Electric mobility and carsharing in the fleet

As usual, it is individual players who initially recognize the potential of new technologies and harness it for larger economic contexts. Electric mobility is no exception. As a fleet manager, deciding among the many different ideas promoted by providers whether and which applications make sense seems a Herculean task.

But for almost every fleet manager, digitization has been the burning issue at some point in recent years. There’s hardly a fleet today that can function without digital support. And rightly so. Almost all fleet management processes benefit from digital solutions, whether it’s simple and easy-to-understand booking and administration, secure and convenient handover of vehicles or procurement, administration and claims management. Everywhere you look, software can relieve the burden, free up personnel resources, increase capacity utilization. The end result is cost efficacy and efficiency. In most fleet managers’ view, electric mobility is tied to high acquisition costs, charging capacity uncertainties, charging infrastructure and availability.

The Smart eFleets research project

This situation is what the Smart eFleets consortium aims to counter. The project, initiated by various Berlin utility and waste disposal companies with electric fleets and then using them as example, is dedicated to e-mobility and fleet management digitalization. The project, however, goes one step further and looks at electrification, particularly in terms of sustainability and environmental protection. To this end, e-mobility must gain broader acceptance and greater practicability. Equipping carpools and carsharing services with electric vehicles as comprehensively as possible can make a huge impact on reducing emissions. The economic aspect must be tackled if the psychological barrier of companies is to be overcome. This is why the Smart eFleets project focuses on multicompany models that allow costs and risks to be spread out while facilitating user access.

Another focus of the analysis is on the way digitization and electrification are implemented in companies using change management. The parameters for operational and personal mobility are constantly evolving, and corporate strategies need to adapt accordingly. What approaches are most promising in this respect, i.e., leading to rapid and noticeable changes in fleet management, are to be outlined and applied to third-party providers in a next step with the aim of providing assistance to other industries. In the best case, better market penetration for electric mobility will be achieved.

Smart eFleets Fahrzeuge auf dem Euref-Campus

Smart eFleets in detail: Multicompany fleet management in e-fleets

What used to sound so vague and theoretical is being broken down into concrete research topics. The detailed investigation strives to achieve a profound understanding of internal and multicompany processes and aims to apply e-mobility in a resource-conserving way along with high utilization.

Framework conditions

  • What legal, contractual and regulatory frameworks must be in place before various companies can jointly use an (electric) fleet?
  • What agreements between these companies and third-party providers might look like?

Processes

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

Technical requirements

  • Establish a system architecture
  • Set up of a common booking platform with interfaces for third-party providers
  • Integrate existing digital solutions and data

Implementation

  • Develop an efficient infrastructure for charging electric vehicles
  • Alternate operation according to time-of-use windows
  • Synergetic cooperation with local energy supplier

Efficiency

  • Investigate
    • Multiple use through transparent availability
    • Reduce fleet vehicles through pooling
    • Increased utilization

    Models

    • Operational reliability
    • Compatibility
    • Risks
    • Risks
      General booking and billing platform
    • Contingency options for system failures
Flotte von Smart efleets auf dem Testgelände

Goals and results of Smart eFleets

The basic idea of any sharing approach is to exploit synergies, save costs, optimize processes through standardization, while maintaining sustainability by conserving resources. Smart eFleets is pushing this idea further by experimenting on a pilot fleet composed of urban vehicles from a variety of industries. The vision is a sharing concept raised to a power of two, whereby not only the employees of one company but several companies share an (electronic) carpool that is jointly managed, booked, charged, maintained and billed. The prerequisite for this is comprehensive digitization of fleet management and appropriate parameters. It starts with a painstaking analysis of fleet management processes and their optimization so as to achieve higher utilization with a smaller combined fleet. In terms of electromobility, a shared infrastructure of charging stations and the spreading out of risk and acquisition costs lowers the psychological barrier for companies. To this end, sustainability and environmental protection might be more heavily emphasized.

Learn more about corporate carsharing and how system-supported carpooling can optimize your fleet costs.