The data connectivity provided by electric trucks will mean a bigger revolution for fleet management than the vehicles themselves, r2c Online is forecasting.

The commercial vehicle compliance and maintenance software specialist, which has 85,000 users across 33,000 fleets, said that the ability to gather information in real time would provide “massive” operational advantages.

Tim Meadows, MD at r2c Online, said: “Electric trucks are a very exciting development but essentially, the approach to safety and maintenance dictated by their form of power is not too dissimilar to existing vehicles, if currently more specialist.

“However, what they will definitely bring is a much higher degree of connectivity than we have seen in the past and this will have a direct impact on how fleet management is approached in all kinds of potentially very productive ways.

“The technology to offer this degree of connectivity has been around for a while but it is really with electric trucks that we are going to see it adopted on a widespread basis, especially as the supporting infrastructure grows, we believe."

He added: “The information we’ll be able to gather will cover all of the major areas that affect operational fleet management – safety, maintenance, range, payload and more. Interrogating that data correctly with the right systems and producing effective reporting will mean much better informed decisions can be made.

“Ultimately, it’s an approach that will allow fleet operators to become highly proactive. For example, you may be made aware that a part will fail before it happens because a sensor on the truck tells you, so the issue can be resolved before it becomes a problem.

“You’ll also be able to see the exact range of electric trucks out on the road, so that you’ll know which will have enough charge to reach a location and can make a decision from your desk about which to choose for the run you need. There are all kinds of possibilities.”

The added level of data connectivity could also open up opportunities around Mobility as a Service (MaaS) making practices such as backloading much more practical.

“There are some signs of a shift occurring where fleet managers are thinking less about operating trucks and more about operating transport space and, of course, that prompts questions of how to make better use of that space?

“If you’re sending a fully laden truck from Birmingham to Leeds but know that it will be empty on the way back, then connectivity opens up some really exciting MaaS options when it comes to offering that unused space to people who need it.

“At the moment, we’re looking at many different ways to make use of all this information in our software products. It’s probably going to be a little while before we see connected electric trucks around in large numbers but we want to be ready to make use of their possibilities for our fleet customers as soon as they become available.”