As more transit agencies begin to inject quieter electric vehicles into their fleets, pedestrian safety in intersections continues to be a top...
Managing Electric Vehicles in the Depot: Three Reasons to Use SmartYard with EVMS
The transition to electric vehicles comes with a unique set of requirements for transit agencies. How you manage your mixed fleet in the depot is critical.
Adding electric vehicles to your fleet requires careful consideration. From charge management to vehicle assignment, it's not as simple as swapping a diesel bus for an electric one. Electric buses can add another layer of complexity to your everyday operations, but if appropriately managed using the right tools, this process doesn't have to overcomplicate your operations.
It all starts with efficient charge management; nowhere in your agency is this more critical than in your depot(s). It is here where SmartYard's electric vehicle management capabilities can help you optimize your pull-in and pull-out operations, ensure your battery electric buses are ready for their assigned work, and guarantee that the right vehicle gets assigned to the right work powered adequately to complete that work.
1. Managing Mixed Diesel and Electric Fleets
Like your diesel vehicles that require refueling after completing assigned work, your battery electric buses must be charged upon returning to the depot. When SmartYard is paired with Clever Devices' Electric Vehicle Management Solution, it provides charging directions for electric vehicles upon returning to the depot when the vehicle's battery does not meet the minimum charge threshold.
For agencies with a mixed fleet of diesel and electric vehicles, the SmartYard depot map provides visual indicators to distinguish between vehicle types, including the current states of charge for all your electric vehicles. Different charge levels are indicated with icons, where the thresholds for the "full," "medium," and "low" state of charge are configurable to your agency's specific thresholds. If the vehicle falls below your desired threshold, the vehicle is sent for charging.
To learn more about how EVMS capabilities built into the core of our entire suite of solutions can help your agency balance the differing needs of diesel and electric vehicles, read our blog, "Managing a Mixed Fleet Doesn't Have to be Difficult."
2. Assigning the Right Electric Vehicle Only for Work It Can Successfully Complete
One of the biggest concerns when assigning electric buses to specific work centers around the vehicle's capacity to perform the assignment effectively. When you use SmartYard to assign electric vehicles, it already knows your schedule and the energy requirements for each block. As such, the system will only recommend vehicles charged appropriately to complete the assignment. If SmartYard predicts that the vehicle doesn't have enough energy available for the work, you won't be able to assign it, taking the guesswork out of the equation.
With EVMS considerations built-in, SmartYard can acquire and display State of Charge (SOC) information for each vehicle. The State of Charge values will get updated periodically as long as the vehicle remains powered on. Your agency can configure a custom threshold to determine when you consider a vehicle to be low on charge.
Once a vehicle is identified as low on charge, an indicator will appear on the vehicle on the depot map, allowing you to quickly see which vehicles in the fleet need to be charged and create Trippers or Hold Assignments accordingly to make sure the vehicle can be ready for service. Rules can also be set in SmartYard to prevent electric vehicles from being assigned to work that they cannot complete based on their current state of charge.
3. Manage Charging Costs and Charger Availability
Managing the charge of your fleet can become a costly endeavor. Peak demand charges are levied by electric utilities on commercial and industrial customers, like transit agencies, to recover their capital costs. These costs are calculated based on the maximum amount of electrical power the battery electric bus draws from the grid during a charging event. There are ways to mitigate costs associated with charging electric vehicles by staggering charge times and avoiding peak demand hours.
When equipped with Clever Devices' Electric Vehicle Management Solutions (EVMS), SmartYard can help your agency reduce your energy bills by displaying the state of charge information for each vehicle AND the charge required for the vehicle's next assignment. This enables you to charge your electric vehicles only up to the power level needed to complete that next assignment. Charging your vehicles in this manner not only conserves energy and saves money but also enables you to minimize the time each vehicle spends on the charger, freeing up charger real estate for another vehicle and potentially reducing the number of chargers your agency needs to invest in.
EVMS from Clever Devices is Here to Help Power Your Agency
As your agency transitions from all-diesel vehicles to a mixed diesel/battery electric fleet, you can rely on Clever Devices and our technology to support your shifting needs. To learn more about the full breadth of our EVMS solution and how it integrates with our full suite of ITS solutions, download our eBook.