4 mins read

During winter, it’s not just our bodies that start to feel the cold, but our cars too! According to AXA, your vehicle is 18 per cent less likely to start in the winter. You’re also 27 per cent more likely to have a cut-out – and most concerningly, 51% more likely to have battery problems in the winter. This is because, at colder temperatures, the battery’s ability to provide sufficient power to start and run a vehicle is diminished. Moreover, if the water in a battery freezes, it expands and can cause irreparable damage.  

While our good friends at RACV are the experts at changing over batteries quickly in Victoria, it is far better to prevent a breakdown rather than get caught out at an inopportune moment.  

 Vehicle and battery maintenance becomes more critical as we move toward new forms of car ownership. The rise of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and the resulting availability of more diverse transport options is seeing fewer people own cars. Just as more and more Australians rely on streaming services such as Spotify instead of owning CD’s or MP3 files on a computer, so too are they embracing car-sharing and car subscription models. 

The shared car maintenance complexity

Car-sharing/subscription services have different vehicle and battery maintenance requirements from owning your vehicle. This is because the ‘user’ and the ‘owner’ are, for the most part, two separate parties, making it harder for the owner to track the health of the vehicle through ongoing observation. If an owner isn’t the person doing the driving, then they’ve no way of knowing when there’s an issue until it’s reported after it happens — resulting in expensive repairs and unwanted costs for the owner with their vehicle off the road.

If a privately owned vehicle breaks down, it’s only the person who owns and drives is impacted. However, if a shared vehicle breaks down, it’s damage to a business asset that affects both the business and its customers. This means it is highly critical for shared vehicles to be breakdown proof to ensure the best customer experience and to remain profitable.

Therefore, in understanding that car-sharing/subscription services come with added maintenance complexity, an owner or operator of such a fleet needs a solution that guarantees easier maintenance – reducing inconvenience to customers and costly repairs.

Predictive maintenance

Predictive vehicle maintenance - Intelematics CONNECT

This is where Intelematics’ CONNECT product shines. CONNECT – like its name suggests – connects a vehicle to a software-based system that monitors the vehicle’s health. Using clever algorithms, it can detect problems such as an imminent battery failure before it happens. It does so by collecting data on how cars operate and recognising repeat ‘symptoms’ that occur in a vehicle before it fails. Car components often exhibit certain behaviours before a failure occurs, like a human might get a sore throat before a cold comes along.

CONNECT operates in vehicles worldwide and hence has access to massive amounts of real-time data coming from cars in Europe, North America and Australia. Having access to such vast and varied datasets on vehicle health has provided CONNECT with the ability to eliminate false readings and confidently detect more issues that lead to vehicle breakdowns.

The transformative power of CONNECT has changed how auto clubs and maintenance services operate around the world through ‘predictive maintenance’. Predictive maintenance refers to maintenance that is performed when it is needed to rectify an issue, or potential issue – rather than performed based on the number of kilometres a car has done, or time since the last service. This model makes sense – drivers experience less time off the road and less unexpected costs, while auto clubs can provide a more tailored service to their customers.

But it’s not just breakdowns that cause issues for owners of vehicles in shared-car services. Bad driver behaviour such as speeding and vehicle tampering can result in collisions – putting the driver and other road users at risk. It would also require costly repairs, or potentially result in a vehicle being written off.

Soon, CONNECT will be able to notify vehicle owners when drivers speed, if a vehicle has been tampered with or if a collision has occurred. This data will not only help alert emergency services of a possible life-threatening situation but also allows the shared-car service operator to deploy alternatives should a particular vehicle becomes inoperable. The more data you have, the more flexible you can be.

For enterprise customers with 50 or more vehicles, CONNECT transforms into a fleet management system with a suite of features that enables vehicle tracking, monitoring, compliance and many other fleet management processes. Predictive vehicle maintenance services such as predictive battery failure, vehicle health alerts, ease the decision-making process for a fleet manager. It assists them by allowing them to plan vehicle repairs before a breakdown occurs, minimising loss to the business due to vehicles staying off the road for maintenance.

Is your fleet future-ready yet?