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Cenex explains how fleets can prepare for UK CAZs

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Following Cenex’s launch of the CLEAR Capture data collection and emissions performance tool, Luke Redfern, project manager at Cenex, explains how it works and the benefits for fleets.

How real-world data capture can help fleets prepare for UK Clean Air Zones

How real-world data capture can help fleets prepare for UK Clean Air Zones

As cities across Europe announce plans to ban diesel engines from city centres and the UK introduces ‘Clean Air Zones’, low-emission vehicle procurement is a popular topic of conversation among fleet managers today. However, too few fleets have the information available to them to make smart decisions about investing in low-emission fleets that will comply with future urban air-quality regulations.

UK policy means vehicles are subject to stricter emission standards, so assessing the cost and performance of low-emission vehicles is a necessary part of modern-day fleet procurement in order to avoid the legislative penalties of operating high-emission vehicles. However, electric vehicles are still very new to the market. So how can fleets assess which technologies will best serve their unique and varied usage needs, and be confident that their investments will deliver the necessary emission reductions and total cost of ownership to meet financial and regulatory standards?

Cenex believes the answers lie in real-world data capture and assessment, and has worked with data from industry experts Emissions Analytics to develop CLEAR Capture, a data collection and emissions performance tool to help fleet managers make informed future procurement decisions, all based on real-world performance data.

How does it work?

Real-world data is critical to making the right assessment of a fleet’s future procurement decisions, and by that we mean both the input data and the comparator-vehicle data. Many argue that monitoring every vehicle in the fleet is the key to gaining an understanding of the fleet’s operational profile; however, it is unrealistic to expect to install telemetry devices on every operational vehicle due to budget constraints, and fleet managers report that paper-based systems are often incomplete or unreliable. In order to avoid intrusive data collection methods that are difficult and costly to install, Cenex’s CLEAR Capture tool uses simple plug-in technology that operates through the cigarette lighter or an OBD port.

CLEAR Capture helps fleets gather more actionable data by creating specific vehicle segmentation groups based on journey type and driving style. Segmenting vehicles by those that make regular stops, urban delivery versus long haul, and load type will allow fleet managers to specifically analyse the full range of their procurement needs by using representative vehicles rather than a general overview of the entire fleet. This is ideal for light-touch reviews to consider the low-emission options that might be suitable.

With accurate input data on a fleet’s current actual operational payload, journey styles and unique SMR schedules, operators can create more accurate total cost of ownership models when comparing their existing vehicle performances against ULEVs.

How can fleets use the real-world comparisons?

Once the accuracy of the fleet’s own data is secured, it should be compared against real-world testing data for low-emission alternatives, not a manufacturer’s stated performance data. Until recently, new vehicles were assessed using Euro standards as a proxy measure for expected reductions in pollutant emissions, with a downward trend predicted with each older vehicle being replaced. But these assumptions have been strongly challenged, with new data showing that the laboratory compliance required for Euro standards doesn’t carry over into the real world. A study of real-world performance by Emissions Analytics found that 97% of the diesel cars made since 2011 exceeded NOx safety limits.

The upcoming EU6d emission regulation will implement real driving emissions (RDE) for measuring regulated pollutants, and this represents a massive step forward for vehicle-efficiency reporting; relying on manufacturers’ data can often produce wildly optimistic estimates of total cost of ownership (TCO), as these lab-tested measures tend to significantly underestimate energy consumption compared to real-world driving patterns.

CLEAR Capture benchmarks a fleet’s usage data with aggregated data on duty cycles, which allows the energy consumption (and range) of an electric vehicle to be more accurately forecast. The result is a more accurate and complete view of the costs and emission reduction potential that alternative low-emission vehicles can offer a fleet looking to achieve ambitious goals.

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