Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co. is expanding its offering of fleet management tools to provide electric vehicle data, charging reports, and web-based pre-conditioning, plus new features that can help secure vehicles and help enhance driver performance.
Ford Commercial Solutions is offering the tools through app and web-based interfaces. The features will be available to E-Transit customers when the new vehicle launches in fall 2021.
“Knowledge is power, and Ford is empowering commercial businesses by giving them the information they need to get the most out of their electric vehicles,” says Julius Marchwicki, COO of Ford Commercial Solutions. “Our new connected services and telematics-based offerings from Ford don’t just help fleets optimize the performance of their fleet and help improve the performance of their drivers, they help ensure businesses can stay focused on providing great service to their customers.”
The new tools will allow fleet operators to monitor the performance of individual vans, manage energy usage, and gain key insights into their performance. Using electric-vehicle specific data such as kilowatt hour consumption, charge speed, distance to empty, and more, managers can better understand how they’re operating in real time in order to help optimize running costs and uptime.
The features also enable remote cabin pre-conditioning so fleet operators can optimize cabin temperature while the E-Transit is plugged in to optimize battery efficiency. Alerts notify managers if a vehicle isn’t plugged in when it’s scheduled to be, while other tools let them remotely manage transactions for public charging and receive reporting to support reimbursement for employees who charge at home.
One of the new tools is in-vehicle, real-time driver coaching through SYNC 4 voice assistant. When drivers exceeds a speed limit, rapidly accelerates, brakes harshly, leaves the engine running while parked, or fails to fasten a seatbelt, they will receive an in-car audio message asking them to correct their behavior.
“We’ve heard directly from our customers how important driver coaching systems are to them,” Marchwicki says. “By integrating this service directly into our vehicles, businesses can better promote safe driving behavior, optimize energy usage on their vehicles, and reduce wear and tear without installing extra hardware.”
Additionally, Ford Telematics will enable customers to secure and remotely monitor their vehicles after hours. Alerts will notify fleet operators if a vehicle is potentially being stolen, if it’s used without authorization, if it’s being towed, or if it has been damaged while parked. If any of these events occur, GPS tracking allows managers to see the location of their vehicles when they are turned off.
Ford is also offering integrated Driver ID, giving managers an easy way to associate specific drivers with vehicles. By allowing drivers to enter a driver-specific code into the SYNC screen, fleet managers get an accurate record of which driver is using which vehicle and analyze driver-specific performance metrics.
The features build on Ford Telematics’ existing offerings, which include GPS tracking and geofencing capabilities, vehicle health alerts, fuel and energy consumption data, and more.
Beyond these new telematics-based services, Ford Commercial Solutions offers Ford Data Services, which provides manufacturer-grade data from vehicles for integration with proprietary software or existing authorized telematics providers without the need for third-party plug-in devices.