If you’ve ever looked at buying a new Ford truck or van you’ve probably seen the option for Ford Telematics. Most of us have no idea, or even use for, the system in our own truck. But for fleet managers and commercial drivers, it’s a clever way to keep track of vehicles, monitor fuel use, identify waste, and to even protect drivers. This month Ford updated the service with some new options, too.
What does Ford Pro Telematics do?
Ford Telematics helps fleet managers and drivers keep track of vehicles, monitor driving, and monitor the health of a truck or a van. The system aims to help lower the costs of running a fleet, and improve safety through an application that monitors many of a vehicle’s systems, from acceleration and braking to oil life. Of course, Ford isn’t the only company that offers the system, and there are dozens of aftermarket systems available that fleet managers can use. According to FordAuthority, subscriptions for the service are up 40% in the second quarter of 2022.
It comes in two flavors, Essentials, which comes with every Ford fleet vehicle, and Ford Pro Telematics, which offers GPS tracking, driver behavior, and more. The system can also be added to non-Ford vehicles or older vehicles thanks to a plug-in device. The basic system only offers vehicle health alerts and maintenance tracking with the ability to schedule maintenance at your dealer. The Pro service is $20 per month, per vehicle. In the newly updated system, managers can track registrations, so no driver gets pulled over for having an expired tag, and even update registrations online.
Ford Telematics offers GPS fleet tracking
Ever wonder how UPS knows if a driver is on their way to drop off your Amazon package? GPS tracking shows where a vehicle is, and where it’s going. With the Pro version, you get real-time location tracking and event tracking, for your entire fleet. The system can also show the distance to empty, or charging status, and can direct a driver to the nearest charging location.
Ford Pro Telematics tracks vehicles’ service needs
Ford calls them Vehicle Health Alerts, but the alerts tell you if a truck or van needs an oil change, if there’s a factory recall, or even if a warning light, like check-engine light, comes on. You can see, for example, planned maintenance schedules and can even connect to your local dealer.
For electric vehicles like the E-Transit or F-150 Lightning, it can show how long the vehicle sat charging, the average power it uses or needs, and the charging trend and expenses.
It’s designed to simplify EV use
The system is designed to maximize the potential of electric vehicles. If a vehicle isn’t properly plugged in, for example, you can get an alert. If you forgot to plug it in at night, you can also get an alert. While a vehicle is plugged in, the system can adjust the climate inside so it’s warm on a cold day or cool on a hot one when the driver gets in, for example, an F-150 Lightning.
For gas-powered vehicles, the system can monitor your fuel consumption and idling time. If drivers leave a vehicle running while they deliver a package, for example, that may not be a big deal. But, if the vehicle is idling for hours, or for long periods of time, it can spot those and identify ways to improve efficiency.
The system monitors drivers
Not everyone is a fan of driver behavior insights. Ford calls it “coaching,” and the system can track harsh braking or emergency stops, acceleration, and even speeding. Sure, it can help identify drivers who treat every stoplight like it’s a drag race, but it can also help you plan a route that doesn’t require dozens of stops and starts. It can even count the number of “seatbelt off events,” and help drivers set goals to stay buckled in more often.
A driver’s behavior is put into a dashboard that shows events, such as stopped time. Also, a fleet manager can get an alert if a driver goes outside of a pre-set area with the geofencing feature.
Drivers get an app, too
Drivers can download an app, too, that can help them fix issues with their truck or van. The app lets drivers log problems like a cracked windshield or broken mirror. It also can provide a pre-trip checklist for drivers, so they know the vehicle they’re getting in hasn’t been thrashed by the previous driver. So, if you find a dented fender or a broken knob, you can log it before you drive off.