The Power of EV Telematics: Data-Driven Fleet Management


There are many things fleet managers think about before adding a new type of vehicle to their fleet. Among the factors are value, functionality, and environmental impact. However, if you’re transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs), there’s also a technological change to consider: EV telematics.

Telematics has been a powerful tool in the fleet manager’s toolbelt for decades. But now, applied to EVs, there’s new data that has the potential to be even more valuable. Let’s take a deeper look into telematics and how companies can leverage EV-specific data to address vehicle maintenance, range, and recharging.

What Is Telematics?

Oxford Languages defines telematics as a branch of information technology that deals with the long-distance transmission of computerized information. But most people know telematics as a way to monitor cars, trucks, and equipment using the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Modern telematics is much more than a GPS tracker; it’s a computerized system using onboard diagnostics to gather data such as vehicle acceleration, speed, braking, mileage, and more. This information is sent to the cloud via cellular signals, where a telematics provider can interpret the raw data and load it into their software platform. Many platforms have powerful analytics that offer insight into business operations.

Every fleet manager has a different goal for telematics. However, there are six core areas of interest, according to telematics provider Geotab:

  1. Productivity: Feeding data into dispatching and routing tools to optimize travel and planned stops

  2. Safety: Tracking driver behavior and decision making, locating stolen vehicles, or creating collision alerts
  3. Fleet optimization: Streamlining preventive and predictive maintenance by monitoring hours of service and diagnostics
  4. Compliance: Creating automatic logs for hours of service, vehicle inspection reports, and other documents for regulatory compliance
  5. Integration: Connecting with additional systems, such as onboard camera tech and customer management software  
  6. Sustainability: Supporting electric and traditional fleet operations to minimize environmental impact

Telematics for EVs differs somewhat from internal combustion engine vehicles as there are unique metrics to help manage charging operations proactively.

How to Leverage Telematics for EV Fleets

Handling the telematics for an electrified fleet can be a novel experience. “There’s so many variables when you get into the world of EVs,” says Erin Cave, director of product management at Verizon Connect. “Everyone’s talking about EVs but really getting down to getting them in the field, getting them useful, and making sure that you’re optimizing your fleet for the use of them is really a big challenge.”

Here are a few examples of EV telematics data and how they apply to fleet management:

  • Battery State of Charge (SOC): An EV’s SOC, or the percentage of battery charge remaining, can be used to determine how far a vehicle can go on its current charge and whether it has enough power to finish its route.
  • Charging Status: Real-time charging status verifies if a vehicle is plugged in and charged when needed. And if it isn’t, a fleet manager can take steps to make sure it gets plugged in.
  • Battery Temperature: Some telematics systems monitor EV battery temperature, an indicator of battery health. This info helps with scheduling proactive vehicle maintenance and battery replacement.
  • Energy Consumption: Energy consumption data aids route planning. It’s about knowing when (and where) to charge an EV so that a vehicle can drive as far as possible for the lowest cost.
  • Regenerative Braking: EVs can send energy back to the battery when the driver hits the brakes, a feature called regenerative braking. Telematics can track the recovered energy, which helps with vehicle efficiency monitoring and driver coaching.
  • Charging Station Availability: For planning longer routes, EV telematics systems can give information on charging station locations and availability.

PowerFlex: Energy Management With EV Telematics

Helping you get more value from EV telematics is PowerFlex’s clean energy management platform, PowerFlex Axcess™, which can display telematics info alongside real-time insights for EV charging (and other Distributed Energy Resources, such as solar and storage).

“It’s about having a holistic view of what’s happening with your fleet. If you don’t have your telematics integrated with us, you’re only getting half of the picture.” — Craig Smith, Product Manager, PowerFlex

One of the biggest advantages of the PowerFlex platform is that it is entirely agnostic; we can partner with your preferred telematics provider to integrate telematics data into PowerFlex Axcess. The data used includes:

  • State of Charge  
  • Charging Status  
  • GPS (optional)

Via PowerFlex Axcess, fleet managers gain a unified view of telematics and EV charging system information in a single interface. The platform displays all the essential details for electrified fleet vehicles, making for faster, better decisions about your specific charging operations.

About PowerFlex

PowerFlex is a national provider of smart EV charging infrastructure. In addition to charging, PowerFlex offers solar, battery energy storage, and microgrid systems, as well as PowerFlex X™, a suite of hardware and software tools for managing, controlling, and optimizing all of your onsite energy resources.