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Construction: The Telematic Advantages of Electrification

This is Part 3 of a blog series dedicated to the major drivers and enablers for electrification within the construction industry.

Part 1: Environmental Protection Drives Electrification
Part 2: Indoor Equipment Operation

Data and analytics have always informed decision-making. However, recent trends in the sophistication of data and collection methods have opened new opportunities to identify business drivers and efficiencies. Electrification is no exception.

When it comes to construction machinery and fleets, electrification provides new opportunities for easily collecting and acting on telematics. This information helps expand management perspectives from individual units to entire fleets, optimize operations, and maximize equipment return on investment (ROI).

What is Telematics?

Broadly, telematics refers to the on-board collection of vehicular and machine data and its transmission to a central system. Telematic data is often analyzed and reviewed to identify inefficiencies and predict equipment failures. It also provides numerous tracking and functionality benefits. Successful fleet managers rely on connecting vehicle performance to defined KPIs and deliverables via telematics.

Analysis by Berg Insight estimates that 22.5 million European fleet vehicles will provide telematic data by 2025.1 North American counterparts are projected to reach 31 million fleet vehicles by the same year—split between 23.6 million in Canada and the US and 7.9 million in Latin America.2

With electrification, telematics extends to batteries and chargers. This provides management with direct insight regarding the power systems upon which machinery, vehicles, and other battery-driven equipment rely.

Battery Charger Telematic Data

Depending on the sophistication of a battery’s charger, recorded metrics may include:

  • Voltage
  • Usage consistency
  • Cycles
  • Cumulative faults
  • Cumulative alarms

The most sophisticated battery chargers also allow adjustable charging profiles and send error notifications (e.g., miswiring, poor condition). These “smart” chargers can integrate with other machine components and fleet management software via secure CAN bus protocols to provide real-time data.

Charger-provided telematics simplifies both scheduling and maintenance. Fleet managers can ensure that vehicles and machinery operate optimally and are fully charged before sending them out into the field. Furthermore, failure flag indicators inform management of potential malfunctions to support timely servicing and prevent on-the-job breakdowns.

While electrification offers insulation from fuel price fluctuations, some of the most substantial cost benefits are the drastic reductions in breakdowns, extensive maintenance, and planning inefficiencies. Not only is there more data to act on, but fewer components in electric vehicles and machinery also result in fewer malfunction points and maintenance cycles to track. Additionally, optimized maintenance reclaims bandwidth for fleet technicians.

Management and Maintenance Efficiencies

Gathering data on batteries’ state of charge (SOC) and state of health (SOH) before recent telematic advancements proved highly inefficient. Without simplified collection and transmission, fleet management personnel must check each battery individually. This manual process involves:3

  • Traveling to job sites
  • Accessing the battery
  • Ensuring the vehicle’s output is zero (i.e., quiescent current)
  • Measuring battery voltage

Furthermore, manual SOC and SOH checks only capture a “snapshot;” the process must be repeated regularly and logged for the data to provide actionable insight. Multiplied over an entire fleet of machinery, this process is insupportable.

The Value of Charger-Provided Telematics

Original equipment manufacturers should consider electrification for the additional value it provides via telematics. This data optimizes operations and reduces maintenance costs and labor demand. As a result, electrifying vehicles and machinery achieves highly competitive market differentiators and purchase incentives for firms.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about electrification drivers in the construction industry, visit the landing page below.

Read more about application & technology trends in construction equipment

Written By:

Simran Sharma

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