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Managing a Mixed Fleet Doesn't Have to Be Difficult

By Bernadette Ackerman

The gradual move to Battery Electric Buses means operating both BEBs and Diesel vehicles in one ecosystem for the foreseeable future – a situation not free from challenges. But, Clever Devices has thought of just about everything to make that transition seamless.

In a perfect world, your transit agency could place one order for all the BEBs you needed to move from a full diesel fleet to an electric one overnight. In that utopia, money is no object, and those BEBs run the same routes for the same length of time as their diesel counterparts. Your depots and garages are transformed overnight to facilitate expeditious charging, and magically, the city power grid requires no enhancements to accommodate it all.

But since funding is always an issue and magic isn't real, your agency is faced with reality. That reality is that you'll be adding BEBs over time and, for the foreseeable future, will operate a mixed fleet of vehicles – each with its own unique needs and requirements. And, the truth is, it won't be easy. You'll run into issues that you may not even be considering. It adds a level of complexity to an already multifaceted operation that can be downright intimidating.

The good news is that technology can help make your transition easier. In fact, if you're a Clever Devices customer, we've built electric vehicle considerations into just about every one of our solutions so you can manage your electric fleet using the same systems you already own. That means you don't need to add another vendor to your ecosystem. It also means you don't have to use one system to manage your diesel vehicles and another to manage your election ones – a scenario that adds unnecessary complexity.


Here's what you need to know about our solutions:

It starts with real-world data specific to your agency

When a BEB rolls off the manufacturing floor, the manufacturer assigns a suggested energy per mile/km rating. If you own a car, this is no different than the car manufacturer stating how many miles per gallon you can expect your car to run on a single gallon of gas.

But, just like your car, different variables impact those per mile/km ratings. Your BEB's range will be affected by various factors, including your city's topography, route and traffic patterns, weather, the temperature outside, and ridership capacity. Even operator behavior can influence how far a BEB can go on a single charge.

Therefore, while our EVMS system may begin with manufacturer recommendations, it constantly captures all this variable data and makes adjustments in real-time to those energy predictions. As it learns more about your agency, the system gets smarter and more intelligent, and your energy predictions are continuously refined.

Why is this important? Because understanding how far a BEB can go on a single charge enables your users to assign the right vehicle to the proper work and manage service in real-time while assessing battery utilization trends to continuously improve route, block, vehicle, and operator performance.

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Making Vehicles Assignments in SmartYard

One of the biggest concerns you'll have when assigning BEBs to specific work concerns the vehicle's capacity to perform the assignment effectively. When you use the SmartYard to assign electric vehicles, it already knows your schedule. It understands your energy requirements and will only recommend those BEBs that are charged appropriately to complete the assignment. If it predicts that the vehicle doesn't have enough energy available for the work, you won't be able to assign it, taking all the guesswork out of the process.

Monitor State of Charge (SOC) in CleverCAD

Your dispatchers monitor your in-service diesel vehicles in a CAD/AVL system. With CleverCAD, you can see both diesel vehicles and BEBs without switching to a disparate system designed just for your BEBs. Using the same exact system that they are already using, your dispatchers can easily see the real-time state of charge of every BEB in your fleet and be notified of any issues with a specific vehicle's energy levels.

TCH EVMSEliminate Operator Range Anxiety

One of the biggest fears your operators face is running out of power. But, since we've built elective vehicle considerations into our Transit Control Head, your operators can easily see their BEB's state of charge, distance to empty, and distance to complete block right from the mobile data terminal screen.

Monitor the Health of Your BEBs in AVM

To simplify your electric vehicle diagnostics, your maintenance team can use the same AVM system they are familiar with to monitor your BEBs as well. We configure AVM to monitor all-electric vehicle subsystems, including traction/motor/propulsion control, charging system, pneumatic system, HVAC systems, vehicle coolant system, and auxiliary systems.

Charge Management and Charge Management Integration

Like your diesel vehicles requiring refueling after completing assigned work, your BEBs must be charged upon returning to the depot. SmartYard provides charging directions to BEBs upon returning to the depot if the vehicle's battery does not meet the minimum charge threshold.
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Easily Add Electric Vehicles Over Time

Perhaps one of the most compelling advantages of our EVMS system is that it grows with your BEB fleet. As you transition and slowly add vehicles, your system transitions with you. There's no need to make an expensive investment in a technology solution for tomorrow to manage a handful of BEBs today.

To learn more about our Electric Vehicle Management Solution and how it can help you seamlessly integrate BEBs into your current fleet, download our EVMS eBook.

Tags: Transit Industry, Technology