It is exciting to finally be able to talk about the elephant in the XL Hybrids garage! The recent debut of our XL LinkTM cloud-based connectivity and analytics system means we can finally share one of the critical ingredients in our recipe for delivering low cost fuel economy and sustainability: DATA.
Today, making smart and informed equipment purchasing decisions is just the beginning–not the end–of the story. Cutting edge connectivity and cloud technologies can now provide us with the data to validate these purchasing decisions by proving that equipment delivers and continues to deliver the performance promised. More than that though, they can empower us to leave behind the old, one-size-fits-all, depreciating model of purchasing and using equipment in favor of an adaptive, iterative program of progressive improvement tailored to the realities of a specific business. We developed the XL3® hybrid electric drive system hardware platform product with real time performance feedback precisely to enable our own cycle of innovation -> validation -> adaptation, and we are thrilled to be able to finally share our software platform product XL Link, one of the key components that allows us to continue to develop and improve our system’s performance, with our partners and customers.
Although we have only recently announce XL Link and made a portion of it available to our customers, but the bones of the app have been around for much longer. XL Link started to take form as we developed our XL3 hybrid electric system, and it was originally built as a tool to monitor the performance of our platform and receive instant feedback on the impact of adjustments to the hybrid strategy or configuration. As XL3 was adopted by fleets around the country, XL Link continued to collect data on the performance of real-world vehicles. This informed our ongoing development process, and allowed us to make improvements to our hybrid control software. We were also able to expand XL Link to include an early warning system to identify XL equipment that might require maintenance and respond with support more proactively to ensure vehicle uptime for our fleet customers.
Years of data collection have provided many insights into the realities of commercial fleet fuel economy, and I am proud to say that any statements we have made about the performance of our hybrid system are based on real, statistically significant data from vehicles in the wild. As the volume of vehicle data we had collected grew, it became apparent that some of it would have value to our customers, and that accessible on-demand vehicle performance data could be another tool in the hybrid fleet manager’s toolbox. This type of data could drive and validate process decisions in the future in a way that was not previously possible and have a real, positive impact fuel economy, maintenance planning, driver performance, asset deployment planning, and sustainability.
For example, in XL Link you can view how much of your fleet’s fuel was consumed while actually moving, compared with how much was consumed while idling (such as in traffic or waiting at a light) and how much was consumed while the vehicle was parked and not in gear. Depending on the nature of your business, a certain amount of time spent parked with the engine running may be unavoidable, but regardless, tracking and reducing excessive parked fuel consumption, via driver training or incentive programs for instance, could lead to a significant improvement in the fuel economy of your hybrid fleet. Just as installing our XL3 hybrid electric system enables your vehicles to operate more efficiently, XL Link can provide you further insights and enable your drivers and processes to also operate more efficiently in concert with that hybrid technology.
This is just one example of how collecting and analyzing vehicle performance data can lead to additional insights and help inform the decisions and validate the path you have taken to reach your ultimate performance goals. Over the coming months, as we expand the capabilities of our XL Link application, I look forward to sharing with you other specific ways that it’s data collection and analytical capabilities can help you reach these goals. At XL Hybrids we have already seen the benefits of integrating real time vehicle data collection and analytics into our development process, and we are excited to explore the opportunities and insights that XL Link can provide to our partners and customers as well. I think we are really just scratching the surface of the benefits that this kind of big data analytics and business intelligence integration with the tools and equipment we use every day will bring.