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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!

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!

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!