Author: Russ Salo

Electrifying your fleet can be a beneficial decision both in terms of the cost savings your business can experience as well as the environmental impact – or lack thereof that comes with EVs. While you may be thinking of incorporating EVs in your fleet, it’s important to do your research to ensure you’re fully aware of how best to get the most out of your investment. Below are a few of the common mistakes fleets make when adding EVs to their business so you can learn from the mistakes of others.

Picking the Wrong
Model of EV

Once left with minimal choice in the EV market, the options
have grown significantly over the last few years and will continue to grow
going forward. With so much choice, it’s more important than ever to research
each EV option available to ensure you choose the right model for your needs to
optimize the benefits and savings that can come along with incorporating EVs in
your fleet. Some important factors to consider when researching EVs for your
fleet are: comfort of drivers and passengers, vehicle range required, charging
options, and the cost versus benefits.

A commonly overlooked factor to consider when choosing an EV
is the “real world” driving conditions the vehicles will face in your fleet.
While the manufacturer will have stated ranges for city and highway driving,
environmental conditions such as steep topography or drastic temperatures will
impact your range and usage. For example, an EV running at high speeds with the
air conditioner or heat going can see over 20% reduction in range.

Not Taking Advantage
of Available Incentives

Since many levels of government have been keen to offer
incentive programs such as tax credits for purchasing EVs since EVs hit the
market, it literally pays to be in the know on what is available to you if you
are looking to purchase or lease an EV. If you’re in the market for an EV, be
sure to research potential incentives at the city, state/province and federal
levels to maximize potential benefits. It’s also worth noting that incentives
are not only seen during the purchase process, and often continue long after
the new car smell wears off.

These further incentives which you may have access to,
include: HOV lane access with single passengers in an EV, grants to install
charging stations, discounts on charging plug-ins from utility providers,
package deals on solar panel installation, and waived sales tax and emissions
inspections. The incentives listed are not meant to be an exhaustive list of
guaranteed incentives as incentives change regularly; you are encouraged to
thoroughly research any possible incentives prior to purchasing an EV.

Getting Zapped for
Poor Charge Management

The idea of an EV is great, but unless you’re smart about
how you use and charge that EV you won’t see the true potential savings and EV
can offer. To begin, it’s important to understand the three systems of
charging.

The first system of charging is uncontrolled charging. Uncontrolled charging consists of starting
to charge the battery as soon as you plug the vehicle in. This method ignores
peak demand and limits your potential savings.

The second system of charging is scheduled charging. This method sees EV owners setting a charging schedule
according to utility pricing to delay the start of charging until the rates are
lowered in the day. This method of charging can save over 20% if done
optimally.

The final system of charging is smart charging. The smartest of the charging systems, this method
delays and reduces charging depending on the demand at the moment. Fleet
operators using this charging method may save over 60% off charging costs
compared to the uncontrolled charging method.

While having the right charging system in place is important
the charging stations used are equally important. There are various types and
levels of EV charging stations so it’s important for anyone considering an EV
to research the options available to find the best fit for their prospective EV
models and their charging needs.

Driving Blind Without
Tapping into Performance Data

EVs have the potential to save fleets a great deal of money,
but only if they are used optimally. While simply running an EV may result in
cost savings, tapping into the performance data of your EVs through telematics
can assist you in getting the most from your investment. EV telematics offers
real-time answers to any questions that arise during electric vehicle use. This
can include daily reports, individual trip details, charging support, and
driver feedback. You will get the most efficient usage of your EV by
understanding every aspect of your EVs performance – EV telematics provides
this important insight.

Missing Your PR
Opportunity

Replacing gas or diesel run fleet vehicles with EVs offers
more than just a money-saving proposition for fleet owners; it’s also an
environmental benefit to your community. EVs reduce local emissions and noise
levels, and this positive community change offers the opportunity to connect with
your community on a deeper level, however many fleets with EVs aren’t taking
advantage of this. Using this PR moment could be something as simple as adding
a “100% zero emissions” sticker on a pure EV vehicle, or adding the information
to your website or newsletter.

While the idea to go electric may sound like a good idea,
and often is for most fleets, there is research that should be done prior to
electrifying your fleet to ensure you get the most out of your investment. If
you’re beginning the research process of finding the right EVs for your fleet,
consider visiting the Geotab Marketplace and taking advantage of the EV
Suitability solution.

If you’ve already gone electric and are looking
to tap into the gold mine of information your vehicle holds, contact GPS to GO
for your EV telematics needs.

Global tech market advisory firm ABI Research recently completed their Commercial Telematics competitive assessment and ranked Geotab the top Commercial Telematics vendor after Geotab scored highest in the overall categories of implementation and innovation and had the highest scores for four of the twelve ranking criteria.

“We ranked Geotab number one in global commercial telematics solutions, as evidenced by the fastest industry climb in organic subscriptions over the last five years and a differentiated marketplace of leading partners. Geotab has a unique leadership position including electric and hybrid analytics via their FleetCarma acquisition. Security expertise is apparent as they are the first to receive FIPS 140-2 validation for their cryptographic library and as the first SaaS telematics platform to receive a GSA sponsorship for FedRAMP certification”
– Susan Beadslee: Principal Analyst, Dominique Bonte: Vice President Vertical/End Markets, ABI Research

The assessment ranked 12 major vendors in the commercial telematics industry – Geotab, Arvento, G7, Gurtam, Masternaut, MiX Telematics, Omnitracs, Teletrac Navman, TomTom Telematics, Trimble, Verizon and Zonar. Each vendor selected for the assessment was analyzed based on a combination of prognostics & analytics, monitoring, open platforms, features, tech development, UI/UX, market share, geo coverage, vertical segments, partnerships, financial strength, and solution options. To qualify as a commercial telematics solutions vendor, companies needed to have at least 400,000 active subscribers specifically within the commercial vehicle market.

Geotab more than fits the bill when it comes to active subscribers. The company has seen 44% growth from 940,000 net active subscribers to 1.363 million, including many large fleet customers. Geotab expects to grow another 35% to 40% in 2019. As for partnerships, Geotab was awarded the world’s largest telematics contract (for 217,000 vehicles) from GSA Fleet, a division of the General Services Administration (GSA) that provides centralized procurement for U.S. federal agencies.

The huge success Geotab has experienced already and their continuing growth makes them one of the fastest-growing global telematics companies in the world. Not only does the company have active Geotab GO devices in 119 countries worldwide, supply multiple Fortune 500 companies, government entities, and North America’s largest fleets, the company has also doubled it number of employees and continues to grow significantly year over year.

If you’re looking for a reputable telematics company, look no further than Geotab. Contact our team at GPS to GO today to learn how the Geotab products and services we proudly offer our clients will save your business time and money!

For more on ABI Research’s Commercial Telematics Vendor Ranking for Geotab, click here.

While long speculated that Canada’s commercial driving
industry would follow in the footsteps of the electronic logbook (ELD) mandate
which came into force in December of 2017 in the United States, Canadian
company owners and drivers now know the date in which they’ll be required to
comply with a similar law – June 12, 2021. The official announcement came from
the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, on June 13, 2019, outside
the Canadian Trucking Alliance in Etobicoke, Ontario.

The official announcement comes after the regulatory
proposal was first published in Canada
Gazette
, Part 1 in December of 2017, and follows recommendations from the
Saskatchewan Coroners Service in relation to the tragic collision between a
tractor trailer and the team coach bus of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey
team in April of 2018.

Commercial driver fatigue has been a long-standing road
safety issue and the paper-based daily logbooks drivers have been required to
maintain allows for tampering of hours of service, putting drivers, their
employers, and the general public at risk. The new ELD mandate’s goal is to
ensure that commercial drivers are complying with the Government of Canada’s Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service
Regulation
, with the use of tamper-resistant devices that are integrated
into commercial vehicle engines.

ELDs approved for the regulation will be approved by a
third-party certification process to ensure that the devices are accurate and
reliable. Additionally, the transition to ELDs means Canadian commercial
truckers will be aligned with the United States road safety regulations, if not
already, and will support economic growth, trade and transportation on both
sides of the border.

If you’re in the commercial trucking industry in Canada and are looking for an ELD provider, contact us to learn how we can help you find efficiencies, comply with the coming regulation, save money, and increase safety for your drivers.

Substantial Fuel Cost
Savings

While choosing electric vehicles may not be the best option
for some businesses, there are many businesses which could see significant
benefits and cost savings by changing out their gas or diesel fleet vehicles
for electric vehicles. Below are some of the most significant benefits
businesses can see from going green with their fleet.

It’s important to note that there are a variety of electric
vehicles so the exact fuel cost savings can differ depending on which option a
company chooses for their fleet (fully battery powered, or hybrid gas/electric
models). Even if a company chooses a hybrid gas/electric model vehicle, the
savings in the amount of fuel used will be substantial beginning immediately
after incorporating the new vehicles into the fleet. Obviously, if a fully
battery powered model is chosen then the fuel costs drop to zero. While the
electricity usage costs will go up for a company incorporating electric
vehicles into their fleet, there are many other benefits to choosing electric
which will help outweigh the increase in electricity costs.

Less Maintenance and
Maintenance Costs

Since electric vehicles have fewer moving parts when
compared to internal combustion engine vehicles, electric vehicles require less
maintenance and thus have lower maintenance costs. In fact, an electric motor
only consists of one moving part, the shaft, which is very reliable and
requires little or no maintenance. Most other aspects of the car, being
electronic devices, consist of no moving parts, so like the shaft require
little or no maintenance.

Environmental
Benefits

The environmental benefits of choosing electric vehicles are
perhaps the most well-known benefits as they are typically the main selling
points in the marketing strategy for promoting electric vehicles. There is no
doubt that electric vehicles are a better choice for the environment and the environmental
benefit can be seen most clearly through improvements in air pollution and air
quality. This is an important benefit particularly for decreasing strain on the
public health systems, reducing health issues associated with poor air quality,
and is essential for companies with commitments to reducing emissions and carbon
footprints. Although not the ultimate solution to stop global warming, the
switch to electric vehicles does at least help slow down the onset.

Safety Benefits

A bonus benefit for businesses who choose electric vehicles
for their fleets is the increased safety which comes along with the vehicles.
While all passenger vehicles are required to go through strenuous safety and
crash tests, electric vehicles have a few features which make them even safer
for drivers – what business manager or fleet manager doesn’t like the sound of
that? Due to the heavy battery packs in electric vehicles, their centre of mass
is much lower than a typical gas or diesel powered vehicle, which makes them
less likely to roll over in the event of a collision. Also, due to the lower
amount, or absence, of fuel in electric vehicles, the vehicles are far less
likely to catch fire in the event of a collision in comparison to gas or diesel
fueled vehicles.

It’s easy to see that electric vehicles can provide a number
of business benefits to those companies which choose to transition their fleet
vehicles to electric models. Not only are you saving your business money when
you choose electric, you’re also helping the environment and offering safer
vehicles for your fleet members. The benefits of choosing electric vehicles
also increase when paired with the GPS telematics devices GPS to GO is so proud
to stand behind as they unleash a new level of management for your fleet to get
the most out of your fleet vehicles whether you currently have gas- or
diesel-powered vehicles or electric vehicles. For more information on how GPS
to GO can help your fleet realize its full potential, contact us today at
1-877-477-8680 or online at www.gpstogo.com

How many hours a week do you spend stuck in traffic? The time spent hitting your brakes, inching forward ever so slowly, or at a dead stop altogether adds up by minutes and hours easily and costs much more than just wasted time for fleets. Fuel used idling can add up to a significant loss for companies, and there is research that suggests traffic jams are linked to stress, higher blood pressure, and weight gain, however this doesn’t have to be the case for your drivers. To be able to combat traffic congestion and the costs and health issues associated with it, the types of traffic congestion and categories that cause it must first be explained to get a better idea of the ways to beat it.

There are two types of traffic congestion – recurring and non-recurring. Recurring traffic congestion happens on a daily basis due to the lack of capacity of the road. Simply put, there are more vehicles travelling on the road than the road can physically fit. Non-recurring traffic congestion on the other hand does not necessarily occur on a daily basis, as it consists of temporary disruptions such as bad weather, vehicle collisions and construction.

The four main categories for causing traffic congestion are: Environmental (non-recurring), Mechanical (non-recurring), Human (non-recurring), and Infrastructure (recurring).

Environmentally caused traffic congestion occurs because of weather, from rainy or foggy weather, to the extreme snowstorms that stop drivers in their tracks, weather can have an uncontrollable effect on not only traffic but road conditions as well. It’s not just the large storms that can cause traffic headaches; even a gentle rain can have a compounding effect on traffic if all drivers slow down together.

Mechanically caused traffic congestion can sometimes fall under the human-caused category if a mechanical breakdown was caused my improper vehicle maintenance, however, it could also happen as a result of a sharp or large object on the road that is unavoidable. The biggest traffic congestion headaches that can happen as a result of a mechanical breakdown is when other drivers merge into surrounding lanes, creating a traffic snarl, instead of stopping to allow the broken down vehicle move to the shoulder of the road so traffic can resume a steady flow. While in some cases a driver may have been able to prevent the issues, even some of the most seasoned and responsible drivers have found themselves in these situations.

Human caused traffic congestion can be as a result of distracted driving, drunk driving, drowsy driving, or emotional driving. The most common traffic congestion caused by humans is known as “phantom traffic jams”, which occur when drivers make quick decisions and engage in behaviours like last minute braking, causing a ripple effect. Depending on other traffic conditions, this one action can slow traffic in that lane and the surrounding lanes or area for hours. These situations are known as “phantom traffic jams” because as drivers get through the sluggish spot, it will seem as though absolutely nothing caused the slowdown. The effects of a last-minute braking become much worse when a collision occurs, even something as small as a fender bender. If a collision does occur, the time getting the involved vehicles off the roadway causes even more residual traffic, and traffic slows down even worse when “rubbernecking” (when drivers slow down to look at an accident) occurs.

Infrastructure caused traffic congestion could again, like mechanical, be argued to be human-caused, however while humans created it, infrastructure is so vast and the world around it changing so rapidly, that it’s not necessarily the fault of engineers who didn’t foresee the demands which would be put on the roads at exponential rates. From potholes that cause slowdowns to bottlenecks in areas that simply out-populated their roadways, infrastructure is a hidden troll that amplifies traffic problems in many urban and suburban areas. Ironically, efforts to improve infrastructure and eliminate traffic congestion issues through construction can often cause significant traffic congestion.

With so many ways traffic can go wrong; it can seem daunting trying to figure out a way to avoid the hiccups that are sure to pop up in your daily commute. The task can seem even more intimidating for fleet managers who can have fleets of all sizes on the roads at any given time. So how can you avoid traffic congestion?

While some factors are outside your control, Geotab’s GPS tracking system technology provides a modern-day solution to the traffic challenges your fleet may face, saving your company time and money lost spent sitting in traffic and saving your drivers the potential health risks linked to traffic jams. Not only can Geotab’s GPS tracking system track fuel usage, it also allows fleet managers to identify and reduce unproductive miles, and see how much time is spent idling so they can better manage routes. If you are interested in saving your business money and time with Geotab’s GPS tracking system, contact us today!