Just a short month ago, the race for mobility service-led innovation in cities has created a sense of urgency around the world to launch, operate and scale smart mobility services. Now, while the COVID-19 pandemic is managed by national-grade lockdowns and the public, on nearly a global level, is helping to fight the pandemic by staying at home – urban transportation is temporarily operating in limited capacity or shut down entirely in order to support flattening the pandemic curve and help prevent the spread of the virus.
However, this does not mean that plans are not still in place. According to Frost and Sullivan, in response to new mobility initiatives around the world, cities and mobility operators alike are on the course of making bold moves in advancing transport systems and introducing smart mobility services in the hope to create efficient and sustainable transportation for their communities.
This article, written by an Associate member of our Partner Network, Fleetonomy, discusses the need for sustainable mobility solutions in the future and examines how to successfully launch and manage smart electric vehicle services.
To read more articles about the future of electric vehicles, visit our blog here.
Mobility for a Sustainable Future: Launching and Managing EV-Based Smart Mobility Services
Profitable Mobility for a Sustainable Future
In late 2019, Fleetonomy announced a new partnership with Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures on a newly introduced EV-based, app-powered chauffeur service in London, Havn.
A short while after, another partnership announcement with Audi Business Innovation followed on their new premium mobility service – Bits. The service offers long-distance journeys across Southern Germany in a mix of both ICE and Electric Vehicles from a wide selection of Audi’s premium vehicles in its fleet. Following the completion of the first run of Bits as well as the continuous optimization of Havn, we’ve taken the time to prepare a brief breakdown of Fleetonomy’s key takeaways from planning, launching and optimizing OEM-driven ride-hailing services worldwide.
The World Needs More Sustainable Mobility
One of the positive outcomes of the Coronavirus pandemic in sight is that many cities have recently experienced a noticeable drop in pollution and greenhouse emissions due to population lockdowns.
One in twelve people worldwide lives in a city, and they account for close to 15% of 1.3 billion – the total global vehicle population. According to a report on Top Cities Leading Globally in Smart Mobility Solutions, increased urbanization alongside vehicle density in cities, aging infrastructure, and transportation-related emissions normally stress the urban mobility ecosystem and cause extreme pollution. As a result, the cost related to congestion and global GHG emissions alone adds up to more than $300 billion globally.
As worldwide transformations in transportation progress, automakers and smart mobility service providers are in a great position to impact the adoption of sustainable alternatives, and some are more than happy to take initiative and lead mobility services with sustainability in mind.
By reducing their riders’ carbon footprint, EV-based mobility services are able to offer a trip that would otherwise be taken by an ICE vehicle, for instance, and by doing so are able to offer a more convenient zero-emission journey for their passengers while reducing the need to drive or ride other carbon-heavy transportation options.
It was not so long ago that cities were talking about banning sales of cars powered by internal combustion engines entirely. According to Wired, Norway was reported to have planned to do so by 2025, France and the UK by 2040 and India by 2030 – in the name of environmental sensibility. However, electric mobility in that sense is a double-edged sword, because even when eliminating the toxins and CO2 that make cities unhealthy and the planet suffer, the environmental cost of mining coal to produce power to charge EV’s can vary by region – and have a direct effect on how much the transformation to EV’s actually contributes to the environment.
So, while encouraging the use of electric over ICE vehicles on the world’s roads can have a different effect on climate depending on how power is produced – EV based smart mobility models can also be an alternative for private vehicle ownership as well. Then, alongside being mindful about the environment when it comes to how they travel, people can save the costs and trouble of owning under-utilized privately held vehicles, and even help reduce road and parking congestion as well.
When looking at this from a smart mobility perspective, and once the world can go back to its usual-yet-more-cautious routine – It is very likely that cities and automakers alike will lean towards environmentally cautious programs and will continue to further introduce EV-based smart mobility services to the public.
Planning Charging Well Can Go a Long Way on Costs
Once a mobility service chooses to operate an electric vehicle-based service or a mixed fleet of EVs and ICE’s – the missing piece is the technology platform that carefully manages range-anxiety issues and charging schedules to fit with overall expenses and constraints.
“Services that include both electric and ICE vehicles have to deal with additional levels of complexity in order to run smoothly. Solving these complexities with the right technology partner is crucial to the operational and financial success of the entire mobility service.” According to Nico Gropper, Audi Business Innovation GmbH, in a statement provided to TechCrunch.
By carefully planning vehicle dispatching and driving distances, battery capacity becomes a non-issue. For instance, Fleetonomy’s platform constantly receives real-time battery level updates from all vehicles operating in the fleet and the dispatcher engine constantly ensures that each vehicle has enough juice to complete a journey. That way, routes can be planned according to battery status, estimated charging time and locations.
When managing costs related to charging in EV-based or mixed-fleet mobility services, we learned that operational costs can be controlled and reduced by making accurate choices at any given time regarding which vehicles need to be charged, when and for how long in order to optimize between fast-charging stations that could cost more than slower charging points that could cost less.
The Art of Launching a Profitable Mobility Service:Constant Data-Driven Optimization
While the global smart mobility revolution is still a work in progress, what we’ve learned so far is that launching a successful and profitable smart mobility service can be the result of careful data-driven planning and constant real-time optimization.
Services that operate efficiently according to various data sources and accurately meet their customer’s demands have a greater chance of establishing their brand as an essential and popular smart mobility service in the coming years. Any type of fleet-driven service can simplify and improve operations using advanced dispatching & scheduling technology. And, while it’s still difficult to say what the ripple effects of the COVID-19 virus will have on the economy, it is seeming that as long as the public remains at home, we can expect demand for critical home services to rise in the months to follow.
Personalizing the Mobility Experience
When examining market demands, the need for flexible on-demand mobility among today’s commuters is growing and has also become a big focus area for the automotive industry. Customers today are not only expecting their mobility to be on-demand, but they are also expecting the experience to be personalized to their needs.
In order to provide a personalized experience, Fleetonomy uses machine learning to tailor mobility services to customers’ needs. If a customer prefers a specific driver, they will be able to signal their request via app, and the dispatching engine will automatically try to find them a chauffeur whom they have given a high review to in the past. Other aspects of some journeys, such as accessibility, in-vehicle climate control, music, minimizing physical contact with the driver, and other features can be automatically tailored to each passenger’s wishes.
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