Practical tips on using smart technology and driver engagement to promote green fleet best practice (2/2)
Vehicle fleets are a notable contributor to carbon emissions and the business community can play a pivotal role in helping to reduce them and can lead the way for the rest of society.
Companies are keen to act in a bid to become more responsible and more efficient, while authorities are increasingly introducing regulations and guidelines to help safeguard our environment.
At the same time, customers increasingly expect a responsible approach from organisations they do business with, meaning ‘green’ plays a big part of decision-making.
With wide ranging responsibilities from the purchase or specification of vehicles and green technologies to driver training and the coordination of business services, fleet managers and business owners have a critical part to play.
Although green fleet management requires good planning, it can be accomplished in ways that will help organisations realise considerable financial benefits.
In the second part of our green fleet blog, we shine a spotlight on green technology, driver training and vehicle maintenance as we continue our look at some of the practical steps businesses can take on their road to a sustainable future.
Investing in green vehicle technology
Telematics has now firmly established itself as a tried and tested route to cutting fuel usage.
Improved navigation and routing alongside real time traffic updates can enable drivers to avoid traffic and routes that are typically busy, helping to make daily schedules more efficient and reduce the overall mileage travelled.
A telematics solution will help monitor and score your team’s driving style, highlighting problem drivers quickly and effectively. Modern driver terminals can even provide predictive advice out on the road to help them adopt a more efficient driving style by easing off the gas on the approach to junctions, roundabouts and slip roads.
Eco alerts can also be set to highlight when drivers are idling with their engine switched on unnecessarily. (Idling for just 10 seconds wastes more fuel that restarting your engine).
Vehicle eco driving settings, such as adaptive cruise control, which helps drivers maintain a constant distance from the car in front, can also help to improve fuel economy.
Driver training in the spotlight
Training your drivers on how to avoid harsh braking and acceleration, sharp cornering and speeding can make a significant impact on fuel km/l (mpg) – as well as improving safety standards behind the wheel.
Available online, face-to-face or in the vehicle, driver training typically saves between 10 and 20 per cent in fuel consumption.
Furthermore, given that a ‘one-size fits all’ approach will rarely be the most appropriate, by utilising driving performance data and risk profiling intelligence from fleet technology systems, such as telematics platforms, training can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of employees.
A sustained programme that is designed to engage a mobile workforce and that addresses not only drivers’ actions and reactions, but also their emotional responses, will invariably deliver the most effective results. This may incorporate specialist ongoing coaching and feedback sessions that are delivered digitally.
By adopting a strategic approach to driving training as they plot a course towards a greener and safer fleet, businesses will be helping to position themselves as progressive and responsible employers of choice.
Committing to maintenance
Regular vehicle maintenance is vital in the battle to reduce emissions.
Clogged air filters and poorly tuned engines can improve fuel economy, while fitting the right tyres, inflated to the correct pressures, can also cut fuel consumption.
Research has found that fuel consumption can increase by as much as:
- 10 per cent with under/over inflated tyres
- 10 per cent with an out-of-tune engine
- 10 per cent with a clogged air filter
- 6 per cent with misaligned wheels
Organisations should have a strict vehicle servicing and maintenance schedule with drivers conducting routine vehicle checks to ensure issues are identified at the earliest possible opportunity. Effective companywide communication and employee engagement will ensure drivers fully appreciate why they are being asked to undertake checks.
Logs should be kept of vehicle checks so that it is clear how regularly they are being conducted. Developments in connected technology can help digitise this process and reduce the administrative burden on busy fleet departments.
Companies can also employ the help of TraXall, who can communicate and document inspections, whilst taking country-specific regulations into consideration, from an international perspective.