Josh Fisher | FleetOwner

Roeth: Potluck of data analysis unlocks fleet success

April 17, 2024
Two fantastic geeky days give NACFE and fleet leaders insight into improving the efficiency and range of BEVs, depot planning, and more.

Run on Less–Electric Depot generated an amazing amount of data on the 22 trucks tracked during the event's three weeks. While the NACFE team has been busy analyzing the data, it occurred to us that two heads—or, in this case, 14—were better than one.

Allow me to explain. Rather than merely analyzing the data ourselves, we decided to gather a group of trucking industry stakeholders together in Boulder, Colorado, to talk about the data. As we started planning the event, we came up with an analogy for it: it would be similar to a potluck dinner. To come to the workshop, you had to bring an analysis of the data and then share it with the group.

This was not a sit-on-the-sidelines event. If you wanted to benefit from other people's analytics, you had to be willing to share details of your own analysis. Consider it skin in the game.

I'd love to share information with you on who was at this meeting, but it was conducted according to Chatham House Rules, which means that meeting participants can use the information they received but cannot identify the people presenting the analyses or the companies they represented. We did this to ensure the free sharing of information.

See also: NACFE releases report on the viability of fleets fueled by natural gas

Each company was only allowed to bring two representatives, and their presentation was limited to 15 minutes, followed by a five-minute Q&A. Representatives from six of the 10 Run on Less–Electric Depot fleets were sitting front and center, asking the questions. Obviously, they have skin in the game, too, and they asked some outstanding questions.

Once all the presentations were completed, the group broke into subgroups to talk about what they had heard and to distill the learnings into one action that could be done to help speed up the deployment of battery electric vehicles or to make the transitions to BEVs go more smoothly.

It was an amazing two geeky, right-brain days that gave the NACFE team and the meeting attendees insight into actions to improve the efficiency and range of BEVS, some ideas surrounding depot planning, a checklist for fleets and utilities to use early in the process of electrification, and some best practices around depot charging designs.

Rick Mihelic, NACFE's director of emerging technologies, is working on an upcoming report analyzing the data collected from Run on Less–Electric Depot. He will share the valuable things we learned from this workshop in that report.

I found the day to be almost magical. While there was some overlap in the data analytics, there were also many fresh insights. In other words, it was a delicious potluck—with the right number of salads, main courses, side dishes, and desserts.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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