Author: Russ Salo

Are you thinking of going electric with your fleet but you’re concerned how cold weather may affect the range and/or performance? You’re not alone, and this is a worry of EV owners and potential buyers who operate in harsh winter conditions around the world.

Studies have been completed to scientifically determine just how much cold weather can affect EVs and the results may surprise you.

The main reason that EVs are affected by cold weather is because of the battery temperature dropping below the ideal temperature range (60-80 F or 12-26 C). When battery temperatures drop below the low end of their ideal range, the chemical reactions that generate electrons to supply the current of the battery slow down, resulting in the battery producing less current.

AAA completed a study on EVs and the reduced mileage range as a result of cold weather. A wide variety of EVs with an average mileage range per charge of 100 miles were tested at 20 F and 75 F.

The study found that at the colder temperature the average range fell 12% when no heater was used in the vehicles. When a cabin heater was on, the driving range dropped by an average of 41%.

While those statistics may shock some, it’s important to note that cold weather also affects fuel efficiency of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. In fact, a study completed by FleetCarma (a Geotab company), found that on average, ICE vehicles had a 19% decrease range at 0 F.

Since most of the latest EV models have a range of 200-300 miles per charge, and using the average 12% reduction of range from AAA’s study, drivers should expect to get between 170-260 miles per charge from your EV under cold winter conditions – which should be sufficient for most daily usage.

So what can you do to help extend your winter mileage range for your EV?

Check your tire pressure. While you should be checking your tire pressure at least once a month, you may want to consider making the habit more frequent in winter months (your Geotab telematics solution will have your tire pressure monitor information on your app should your vehicle be equipped with tire pressure monitors). Tire pressure is important since tire pressure drops as the ambient temperature falls and improperly inflated tires can reduce mileage range. With properly inflated tires you can save as much as 13% of your average mileage range.

Make preconditioning a routine. Preconditioning (warming the battery while your EV is still charging) makes the vehicle cab nice and warm so you don’t have to waste valuable battery usage to blast the heat while driving. Preconditioning can give you 10-15% more range and some EVs allow you to manage preconditioning through apps to make it even easier to do before you hit the roads. It’s important to note that a 240V level 2 charger is required for preconditioning as it requires more than a 120V level 1 charger can provide.

Park indoors when possible. As super-chilled batteries won’t perform as well or take as much charge as a warmer battery, you should try and park your EV indoors whenever possible. If indoor parking is not available, then parking in direct sunlight in the next best alternative.

Minimize your need for cabin heating. Using the HVAC in an EV is the number one battery drainer and can decrease mileage range by as much as 30%. Instead of using the HVAC in your EV, it’s recommended instead that you wear warm driving gloves, your coat, and use features such as heated seats and/or heated steering wheels instead as these features draw less energy than heating the entire cabin.

Drive conservatively. While this tip doesn’t only apply to winter, it will help your mileage range significantly. Excessive acceleration, braking, and driving at high speeds all drain EV battery life. Anticipate any stops ahead of time and give sufficient spacing between you and other vehicles to stop safely without having to brake harshly.

Use your eco-mode. While eco-modes can function differently between EV models, they all generally work to reduce power consumption and increase mileage range by reducing the energy supply to the drive motor and high energy features such as the cabin heater.

Be a smart charger. Since cold batteries have a greater resistance to charging, meaning they charge slower in colder temperatures, use a 240V level 2 fast charger for your main charge whenever possible. Also, if you plan on taking a longer road trip with your EV, it’s a smart idea to map out any fast chargers along your route for the most efficient charging stops.

If cold climates have been causing worry and stopping you from taking the leap to an EV, we hope the information provided has helped ease your worries and shown you how many manage their EV usage in the winter months to reduce loss of mileage range.

If you have any questions about how GPS to GO can help your fleet find efficiencies for ICE vehicles or how we can help you transition to electric, contact us here.

As of December 17th, all fleets in the U.S.A using the grandfathered automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) will be required to be fully switched over to electronic logging devices (ELDs) as per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) final rule which was issued in late 2017.

The two-year grandfathering was put in place with the intention to ease the changeover to ELDs and not meant as a reason for fleets to wait until the last minute to comply, yet despite the lead time, warnings from experts that the switch over can be complex, and a rapidly closing compliance window, there remains more than a few trucking operations cutting things really close. If this applies to you, we strongly encourage you to contact us today.

It’s vitally important that employees are introduced to and trained on the ELD equipment and features before the day of conversion as inspectors will be expecting drivers to know how to use the ELD on December 17th without any further grace period or warnings being given. Having your ELD solution in place well in advance of the deadline allows for more thorough training for employees which will help reduce the number of entry errors, which equate to fewer violations during roadside inspection and minimizes the effect on your company’s safety record.

If it is found during a roadside inspection that a driver doesn’t know how to use their ELD solution, it is likely they will receive a citation, fine, and/or be put out of service. With the ELD mandate deadline falling in the middle of the holiday shopping season and the busiest time of year for many fleets, being down a driver or truck is the last thing you want.

The responsibility to have drivers up to speed on how to use ELDs isn’t the only training necessary to comply with the FMCSA’s ELD mandate – back office staff are also required to have a thorough understanding of all aspects of ELD operations. Should your business be audited and found that your back office is unsure how to use the ELD solution, they will, like drivers, be cited and the fleet will receive a fine. As these fines can be substantial, you don’t want to take that risk.

If you are not yet compliant with the FMCSA ELD mandate coming into force December 16th, contact GPS to GO today – the clock is ticking!

Vision Zero is a road safety initiative founded by the Swedish government in 1997, which has been successfully implemented throughout Europe, and is now spreading throughout the United States.

To become a Vision Zero city, a municipality must meet four minimum standards, consisting of:

  1. Setting the clear goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and sever injuries.
  2. Having the mayor publicly and officially commit to Vision Zero.
  3. Putting a Vision Zero plan or strategy in place, having the commitment to do so within a clear time frame.
  4. Engaging key city departments, including police, transportation, and public health.

At its foundation, Vision Zero starts with an ethical belief in the right of everyone to be able to safely move throughout their communities – and aims to involve all the stakeholders in a city’s transportation system, including fleet and safety personnel to reduce and ultimately eliminate the risks inherent in the way traffic is traditionally managed.

New York City (NYC) has had its Vision Zero goals set high with its aim to become the “world’s safest big city.” Despite this hefty goal of theirs, the Big Apple has already seen significant improvements since their introduction of the program in 2014. In NYC’s Vision Zero Year Four update, the city reported a 28 percent reduction in traffic fatalities and 45 percent decrease in pedestrian fatalities. For a city with an epidemic of traffic fatalities and injuries, seeing about 250 traffic-related deaths and 4,000 non-fatal serious injuries each year or one traffic fatality or injury every two hours, the reductions noted above signal that NYCs Vision Zero action plan is working.

How does Vision Zero differ from any other safety program?

Vision Zero starts with the premise that traffic deaths are preventable, but that human beings will make mistakes and crashes will occur. This leads to developing traffic systems to lessen the severity of crashes instead of a focus on perfecting human behaviour. Vision Zero uses a multidisciplinary approach and techniques, including technology and a reliance on data driven approaches, to achieve the goal of zero traffic fatalities or severe injuries.

What role does Geotab play in New York City’s Vision Zero Program?

Using Geotab’s technology and platform, the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) developed an operations and incident management system, Fleet Office Real-Time Tracking (FORT). FORT allows the DCAS to monitor real-time locations and alerts from city fleet vehicles and tie many of the city’s safety initiatives, such as collision tracking, safe driving, and emergency management, into one easy-to-use system.

New York City’s effective use of the Geotab technology and platform means the streets of NYC are becoming safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, and commercial and private vehicles, and will continue to do so as Geotab’s ever-evolving software and platform allow for more safety features and initiatives to be added to NYCs Vision Zero Program.

If you’re interested in incorporating Geotab’s technology and platform into your city’s Vision Zero Program and making your city streets safer for all, contact GPS to GO today!

With the environment in such a delicate state, it’s more important than ever to make the effort to protect what’s left that can be saved. The State of California is taking the state of the environment seriously and has introduced green initiatives to promote a reliable, environmentally responsible and cost-effective fleet.

After a rigorous three-year process with contributions from many state and local agencies and departments, the State of California’s Sustainability Roadmap identified that a centralized telematics program was needed to help fleets reduce fossil fuel usage, improve vehicle utilization and reduce operating costs.

Why was Geotab chosen to be awarded the Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA)?

After evaluating the many options in the telematics industry, it was determined that Geotab’s telematics solution is unique to the industry in that it equips fleets with the ability to do more with their data today and into the future. As Jean Pilon-Bignell, Associate Vice President of Government and Smart Cities at Geotab explained, “Geotab is uniquely positioned to offer California state and local agencies an open telematics platform that can be used to help improve efficiency, intelligently electrify their fleets, reduce GHG emissions, optimize winter operations, streamline regulatory reporting and compliance and much more.”

Helping Geotab stand out from the competition in the telematics industry is their accomplishment of becoming the first telematics company to receive FIPS 140-2 validation for their cryptographic library. This validation is administered by the Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP), which is jointly operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) of Canada. The validation is the benchmark for cryptographic modules protecting sensitive information in computer and telecommunications systems for U.S. Government, Canadian Government, and Military use.

If you’re part of a county, municipal or state fleet in California and are ready to add Geotab’s telematics solution into your fleet management strategy, contact GPS to GO today!

The right telematics solution can help fleets of all sizes, but small fleets in particular can see the benefits of telematics magnified – if done right. This post will provide tips for small fleets to help them maximize the benefits they can experience with the Geotab telematics solution GPS to Go proudly offers to our clients.

So when is a fleet considered small? While there is no formal size threshold for what determines when a fleet is considered small, medium or large, for the purpose of this post a small fleet will refer to fleets with 25 vehicles or less. So why can fleets of this size have the benefits of using a telematics solution magnified?

While companies with larger fleets often have designated fleet managers whose sole job it is to manage and optimize fleet operations, companies with smaller fleets often delegate this task to a member of their team whose primary job is in a related department such as accounting or operations but often is not solely focused on fleet management and optimization. So what does this mean?

This means that companies with smaller fleets without a designated fleet manager are likely losing out on many opportunities to find efficiencies and areas for cost savings. A robust telematics solution, like the Geotab devices and platform GPS to Go offers and stands behind, can take care of much of the guesswork that goes along with fleet management to allow these multi-tasking employees to run an efficient fleet, cut down on costs, and still have time for their other responsibilities.

Now, let’s get to the tips to get you saving money in no time!

Tip #1 – Customizing the Platform Dashboard
The dashboard of your telematics platform should be a highlight reel of the most important metrics and reports to your fleet. Much like the front page of a newspaper, your dashboard should be customized with the biggest, most important information for at-a-glance access. Dashboard customization helps reduce visual clutter and lets you focus on the things that matter most to your fleet – a must for part-time fleet managers.

Tip #2 – Simplify Fuel Tracking with Emailed Reports
Being one of the largest expenses for any sized fleet, fuel usage and fuel waste are two major areas all fleets want to monitor as closely and accurately as possible to keep business costs down and prevent fraudulent use of fuel cards. Geotab makes it easy to track and compare fuel consumption across vehicles, allowing fleet managers to find and investigate outliers, and track down and correct any inefficiency. Fuel-related inefficiencies might include maintenance issues, excessive idling and/or bad driving habits. Having important reports emailed, rather than waiting for fleet managers to seek out the information, keeps fuel trend reports and fill-up reports at top of mind and allows greater opportunity for fleet managers to better monitor monthly usage rates and prevent against fraud.

Tip #3 – Optimizing Your Routes
Efficiency is the art of getting the most from the least, and this is the ultimate goal of fleets of all sizes. Thanks to Geotab’s fleet management software, fleet managers can track missed and completed stops, idling time, stop duration, and planned arrival time vs. actual arrival time. This means fleet managers have the information needed to compare routes and test changes to help drivers find the most efficient ways to carry out their duties.

Tip #4 – Catch Risky Behaviour before It Costs You
One of the downsides of having a small fleet is that losing even a single vehicle can result in a big hit to overall company productivity. By using telematics, fleet managers in charge of smaller fleets can monitor risky behaviour, such as speeding, harsh braking, harsh cornering and coach drivers in an effort to prevent collisions or damage to fleet vehicles which would take them out of daily operations while being repaired or replaced – both being very costly scenarios.

While GPS to Go is happy to help fleets of all sizes with their telematics needs, if you find yourself with a small fleet and part-time fleet manager or have added fleet management duties to an employee in a separate department’s existing workload, we’d love to speak with you about incorporating Geotab’s telematics solution into your business to find the efficiencies and cost saving opportunities which may be being missed. Contact us today to get started!