The development will bring a previously unavailable level of transparency to how short term hire cars and vans are being used in real world conditions, says Tim Meadows, chief commercial officer.
“There is real potential for products that deliver connected vehicle data to short term rental operators. With the number of connected vehicles rapidly increasing, daily rental companies can clearly see the possibilities presented by this kind of information.
“Really, the benefits for them fall into two areas. Firstly, while they are operating the vehicle, wide-ranging data can be gathered at the point of on-hire and off-hire, highlighting any need for action. For example, recording the fuel level at the start and end of the rental will help to accurately charge the customer for any discrepancy, with minimal intervention from on-site staff. This could enable a completely contactless rental experience in the majority of cases.
“The other is around the maintenance and remarketing of the vehicle, with in-built connectivity enabling a wide array of diagnostic information to be analysed. An understanding of the real-time health of vehicles will enable rental fleet managers to optimise their service, maintenance and repair regimes and then, at the end of the vehicle’s life, this information can be used to build up an extremely comprehensive usage and maintenance history. This information could prove decisive in maximising residual values.”
Tim said that there would also be advantages resulting from the ways in which the connected vehicle data could be used to interface with a variety of platforms.
“Several major daily rental companies use our 1link Hire Network product which allows fleets to make rental bookings online. When connected car data indicates that maintenance or repair is needed, this information could be sent directly to our 1link Service Network platform for the work to be booked. Also, at disposal time, all lifetime data could imported into 1link Disposal Network to create a comprehensive remarketing profile for the vehicle.
“There is massive potential within this kind of integration for much slicker, more efficient and effective processes, maximising the impact of any solution based on connected vehicle data.”
Tim added that epyx was looking at different kinds of solutions based on connected vehicle data and was currently starting trials with customers that would serve as a proof of concept.
“With our two decades-plus experience of delivering data to fleets, our expertise will ensure that connected vehicle information is presented to different groups of potential users – such as daily rental companies – in a manner that we know fits their operational model.”