EV Fleet – what basically is your platform and what does it offer its customers?
EV Platform Cloud is an IT platform, an enterprise-class information system, created to design, implement digital management models for fleets of electric-powered commercial vehicles and charging infrastructure. Its main functionality is modeling and testing, implementation and management of transport processes in fleets consisting of zero-emission vehicles. It is a multi-module solution with the option of full business analysis addressed to middle and senior managers in transport and logistics organizations responsible for fleet management.
Thanks to the data generated from the vehicles, EV Platform Cloud allows for full predictive analytics, as well as real-time visualization of fleet parameters. Analytics is one of the services (Analytics as a Service) that we are developing and currently testing with customers. It will be available to our customers in the second half of the year as a subscription. EV Platform Cloud is also the operating system for the zero-emission vehicles produced for our customers and made available in the Fleet as a Service model.
The first vehicle, a data generator, that we built last year for the platform is our technology demonstrator, SmartVan IoT (www.smartvan.tech). We are currently deploying two more vehicles in our test fleet. We are building a diversified fleet from a small scooter to a mid-range electric truck. Our SmartVan IoT got the main prize in the competition implemented by Eurologistics magazine as an innovative product for transport, logistics and manufacturing. The award was presented on December 8, 2021.
Launched from January 2022 in the form of a subscription, the Fleet as a Service based on the second generation of EV Platform Cloud allows the implementation of zero-emission vehicles, provides access to charging infrastructure for the price of a monthly subscription. The customer does not bear high initial costs of implementing zero-emission vehicles in his organization. Each customer gets access to the platform, and thus to data from their vehicles, built by one of EV Fleet’s subsidiaries.
Did you develop all this infrastructure yourselves?
Yes – the platform is an original project of our company. It is also an integrator of solutions available on the market. A bit like a marketplace. Our assumption is that we create on our own only dedicated solutions, necessary for our clients at the stage of digitalization of transport processes. One of them is currently tested in our technology demonstrator application that allows to identify, record and position transported objects in the cargo space of vehicles built by us.
In connection with such advanced projects related to digitalization of such an important branch of economy as urban transport, we have started cooperation with Google Cloud and National Cloud Operator. We have been selected as one of a dozen companies for the first acceleration program organized by the Polish company Google Cloud. We are in the process of building our platform infrastructure on our partner’s cloud resources. It gives us the possibility to develop globally much faster, and our customers the possibility to secure and manage their data through another Data as a Service designed by my team.
As a result, we’re able to provide end-to-end solutions to customers who often don’t have the resources to build their own digital solutions and quickly scale their zero-emission fleet business. The world is changing before our eyes. Thanks to us, solutions related to digital transformation in the area of urban transport and logistics are becoming a reality. On the basis of EV Platform Cloud we are building another innovative solution, which we want to finance within one of the EU grants, that is EIC Accelerator.
What’s more – last year we were listed by SpeedUp Energy Innovation as one of 38 young Polish companies working in energy technologies, in the field of electromobility. We have been classified in the scope of – optimization software. Actually, the platform has a big role to play also in the area of CO2 reduction and sustainable development.
How can the carbon footprint of urban transport and logistics, for example, be reduced through fleet consultancy? What exactly can be optimized here?
This is actually a very important element in the implementation of zero-emission fleets consisting solely of commercial vehicles (means of transport) in the transport industry, and especially in agglomeration transport. Nearly 2 years ago we developed our own consulting process, which we have successfully used in the implementation of fleet projects for several large customers in the country. Currently, based on this process, we are implementing further strategies and management models for a dedicated fleet consisting of zero-emission vehicles.
We have subjected our process to certification. We are ISO 29990 certified in the areas of training, professional consulting and implementation in the transport and logistics industry. We are a group of industry experts. I am currently working on three major implementations in the area of zero-emission transportation.
Can we reduce the carbon footprint of urban transport and logistics? Of course we can. There are at least a dozen parameters that allow us to optimise the zero-emission fleet and thus the transport and city logistics model, which have an impact on this footprint. All our vehicles are equipped with photovoltaic systems designed by our R&D department, which we implement in our vehicles. The solution is able to annually produce over 1000 kWh of energy, which is mainly used to power additional devices installed in vehicles, such as a refrigeration unit, refrigerated container.
Currently, we are the only company on the Polish market to be so heavily involved in designing this type of solution for transport. It is actually already a typical box solution. We have developed them for two types of Mercedes-Benz vehicles – eVito and eSprinter. More are in the pipeline.
Optimization is not only hardware solutions, it is above all optimization based on the data generated by our vehicles. It is also about skills, such as the driver’s driving technique. We have a lot of our own experience and knowledge in this area. Using our technology demonstrator, SmartVan IoT we explored this area while preparing for last year’s SmartVan Challenge 2021.
I personally drove several thousand miles in this vehicle in preparation for the challenge, which was to break the record for vehicle range on a single charge. I managed to drive 201.5 km. The description can be found at www.smartvan.tech and the commentary in the video available on our YT channel. Conclusion is one – driver with skills and knowledge can drive up to 30% more kilometers with electric vehicle. That’s another kWh saved.
We know how to measure how much the carbon footprint of urban transport and logistics will be reduced by. As a technology company, we want to have a big impact on reducing it. Especially that the solutions we build are mainly dedicated to the area of urban transport and logistics, which has a huge impact on the comfort of living in cities – electric vehicles are very quiet and do not emit pollution locally.
The so-called last kilometer or mile delivery is, according to logisticians, the most problematic one in terms of generating carbon footprint. How can we combat this?
Not so much problematic as very complex. The last mile is not only a solution in the area of transport, but many others. It is even said that this last delivery stretch is one big technology. And let me say even more. Now the problem is the last 100 meters.
Now the number of vehicles is coming geometrically to the growth of sales in the e-commerce channel. We laugh in the team that every click of the enter button or buy now button fires up both the internal combustion engine and the electric engine. This is a very complex problem.
It’s not just about generating pollution in cities, but also about traffic congestion, which compounds many of the problems to be solved, mainly by city managers. One of the American professors, who deals with this problem, says that we will soon face a “transportation armageddon”. It’s hard for me not to agree with him looking at what is happening now for example in Warsaw. The vehicles that are running are often 30-50% full.
For more than a year we have been working with a team on a solution for the transport industry that will reduce the number of vehicles, optimize cargo space to the point that the filling rate will increase at least twice. It is a model of shared cargo space in vehicles delivered by our company.
We already have the first customer interested in cooperation in developing this concept and implementing it at their customers. Additionally, a shared fleet consisting of zero-emission vehicles connected to our IT platform will allow us to build a model that is 100% managed from a single digital environment under our full control. Personally, I have been looking for a similar business model to our project for many months and all I have seen are the first pilot deployments, which are mainly in the US, but on a much smaller scale.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a boost in e-commerce. And while we were hurrah optimistic about it at first – we are now also starting to see the downsides. I.e. an increase in garbage generation due to packaging production, clogged supply chains or increased traffic on the roads due to courier deliveries. What can we do to make e-commerce greener?
I agree – in its current form, e-commerce has a negative impact on many areas related to last mile delivery. The modern transportation model in my estimation ended some time ago. It is only drifting because of its inertia. Most logistics operators do not notice or do not want to see the growing problem of handling orders and deliveries to their customers.
Practically everyone is looking for savings where they should even be investing – in their own fleets, in the transport companies that provide their services. Rates are already so low that it is only a matter of time when companies start to disappear one by one. At the end of the year, one of the couriers delivering a package to me, knowing what I do, asked me about a job. He is fed up with working for companies presenting themselves as innovative, complying with all CSR standards and others, but in fact doing a lot of things just for show.
In my opinion, the only solution is to change the model of urban transport and move to partial or full management of shared transport. The sharing economy is a uniquely effective model to solve or reduce pollution, increasing traffic congestion, but most importantly the number of vehicles making deliveries in cities.
The area of packaging and increasing litter is not our area, although we have designed our own packaging system integrated with our zero emission vehicles for the shared transport and city logistics model. We already have three real deployments of this solution in our own fleet. We will now be implementing it with our customers.
So how do you reconcile logistics, green impact and growing customer expectations for speed of delivery?
It is not an easy task. Especially for companies that are just thinking about implementing solutions related to zero-emission transport. The investment is not only the means of transport itself, but also charging infrastructure, IT systems and many others. Everything must be designed with great precision. This is what my company is doing. Please, remember that electric delivery vehicles currently have a lot of limitations, mainly connected with the range and charging time. These are two most important parameters connected with transport process, delivery and its realization time.
But we are dealing with that as well. Our IT platform will provide many opportunities to optimize many key parameters such as optimization of time and route of delivery thanks to the best optimization algorithms on the market. Additionally, monitoring of all possible parameters related to maintaining quality of transported goods in real time. It also includes full analytics, reporting and many other possibilities which are rarely used nowadays. And certainly not in such a format as we offer.
Today, delivery time is important for many customers. As part of the accelerator program Pilot Maker Electro ScaleUp, we designed together with our client Carrefour Poland service with a delivery time of up to 2 hours based on a dedicated fleet of their own based on small electric vehicles. This was back in 2020, when the fast delivery market was just developing. The service still operates today under the name Carrefour Sprint. Unfortunately – and I say this frankly after six months of commercial cooperation – the concept of a courier service implemented by another company won out. But we used the experience we gained in another original project.
How did your startup basically develop? Have you raised any funding from investors? Or did you rely entirely on bootstrapping and financing the company with your own money? You mention working with an accelerator program, but I’m guessing that’s not all.
EV Fleet is developing in a typically organic way. It is based on the knowledge, experience of the founder and regular co-workers. Around the company was built almost perfect ecosystem of partner companies. The permanent group of collaborators are experts in their field, experienced managers with well-established experience in multinational corporations gained in middle and high-level positions in global markets.
The company was registered in May 2019 in Lublin. Since then, I have been the sole investor. The company took part in the accelerator program Pilot Maker Electro Scale Up, thanks to which it managed to raise PLN 250 thousand for the implementation of two projects, which it implemented for the purpose of cooperation with Carrefour Poland. Currently we are at the stage of implementing further milestones that are key elements of the designed strategy of the company. We are preparing with a new project to raise funds from one of the EU grants.
Our structure is not a typical startup. I am slowly looking for a potential investor. Due to the fact that currently I am the only investor both from the financial side and from the intellectual value invested in the form of implemented projects, a potential investor will not have it easy. (laughs)
But at this point I am developing the sales department. This applies to products and services designed by us and I hope that the revenues from sales will cover the financial needs, mainly related to the scaling of the company. Personally, I think that my small capital group has such a huge business potential on a global scale that I prefer to focus on its further organic growth for now. Plan for 2025. – To become a global unicorn in your industry.
Who exactly is your customer? Your website is basically only in English. Do you decide to attract European customers? Or do you have Polish ones as well?
As we create fleet solutions for the transport and city logistics industry based on advanced technologies that we implement in the digital world, our customers are mainly logistics operators, companies that perform urban distribution, transport companies. We are also a great support for importers and dealers of vehicles for which we are able to support in building implementation strategies of commercial electric vehicles, training for sales departments. Currently we are at the stage of signing a contract with the largest vehicle dealer in Europe.
As for the industry, in the first place we focused on food and pharmaceutical industry. These are the two most difficult industries in terms of transportation requirements. The demonstration and test vehicles we have built are ready to carry out tests and pilots for customers in these industries. In the last two months of 2021, we completed two large pilot projects for two of the largest retailers in Poland.
Our website is in English for one main reason. It’s because we have positioned ourselves as a company with global ambitions from the beginning. We work with various partners and companies. These are mainly European companies. The website is currently under reconstruction. In the new version there will also be a Polish language version. Our social media are also in English.
We are already working on the German market. In a few months we plan to open our first foreign branch in Germany. Our customers are mainly small and large Polish companies or companies registered in Poland, subsidiaries of large global corporations or their branches. Implementing zero emission vehicle solutions and digital transformation in these companies requires great knowledge and competence in many areas.
Our customers require EV Fleet and our team to develop a long-term strategy based on training, consulting, implementation, testing, pilots and more. It’s a difficult and demanding path, but once well-designed it gives a real chance for implementation. And it’s the role of both myself and my colleagues to ensure the process is designed to perfection.
And what did your participation in the Pilot Maker Elektro ScaleUp accelerator program actually enable you to do?
As part of the acceleration program we have completed 2 projects with Carrefour Poland. One of them ended up in commercial cooperation, which lasted another six months.
These were the first two projects that we carried out right after the registration of the company. With the first customer we were able to test our business model on real infrastructure. In both projects we implemented several products and services that we still offer today.
Further versions have already been developed. One of them is Passive Cold Chain Process, which was used in both projects. Today we are already working on the third version, additionally we are designing our own RFID readers, Bluetooth temperature monitoring sensors.
I hope that we will come back to the cooperation with Carrefour Polska, since a lot has changed in our company.