Preparing for electrification of fleet vehicles

TTI’s director of Transportation Business Unit marketing, Gabe Osorio, analyzes transport electrification trends that manufacturers will want to follow throughout 2022.

TTI’s director of Transportation Business Unit marketing, Gabe Osorio

About three per cent of US vehicles are part of a fleet but fleet technology trends can have an outsized impact on the entire transportation sector due to regulations and scale of operations, according to a 2021 Rocky Mountain Institute report. Over 80 per cent of fleet managers surveyed said they have already begun electrifying their fleets, and electric vehicles are expected to make up 10 to 15 per cent of commercial and passenger fleets by 2030, according to Duke Energy.

This trend was evident at Work Truck Week 2022 Indianapolis, Indiana. The amount of electrification in fleet and work trucks was astounding. Many OEMs featured all-electric medium-sized commercial vehicles and last-mile delivery trucks.

New market entries include the Ford Lightning, the new all-electric Chevrolet Silverado and Xos, a manufacturer of fully-electric, zero-emission commercial vehicles used by FedEx.

Another trend is vehicle electronification. With the ongoing rollout of 5G internet and the increasing adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity, more fleet and delivery vehicles are being equipped with technology that enables fleet tracking, autonomous driving and communication.

These connected vehicle technologies require many new electronic components and subsystems, plus the adoption of new technologies similar to those found in passenger vehicles. This includes advanced driver-assistance systems, safety capabilities, lidar detection and more.

Additionally, cameras are being added to vehicles in greater numbers. Instead of just one or two backup cameras, vehicles are being equipped with optical sensors, eye-tracking technology and safety checks for autonomous systems. In commercial trucks, cameras are used to monitor the cargo and ensure its delivery, or to monitor the quality of service from drivers for security and safety. Cameras are also increasingly aiding or replacing mirrors to provide wide-angle turn assistance and other benefits.

New trucks and fleet vehicles are increasingly being designed with digital vehicle dash clusters that display speedometers, mileage, gas levels and other instrumentation instead of traditional analog gauges. With the addition of lidar, additional fleet management technologies can be interfaced with via the dashboard cluster.

Connected vehicle technology also enables communication capabilities within a fleet to track shipments in real time through GPS monitoring and data transfer. With electric vehicles, new sensors and intelligent systems can also track and monitor vehicle components such as battery health and maintenance status in real-time.

Now is an exciting time to see the next generation of transportation as it’s being designed using these new ideas and incorporating cutting-edge technology—all of which increases the demand for electronic components.

To successfully adopt the next generation of connected vehicle technology, it’s important for manufacturers to partner with a distributor who can help them understand the available components, new product instructions and the best way to maintain their supply chain as demand for these specialized electronic components increases.