FleetCarma Green Fleet and Electric Vehicle Adoption Blog

EV Sales in Canada:
January 2014 Update & Provincial Summary

Every few months I delve into the Canadian EV registration data for the team here at FleetCarma.  As always, there are some interesting highlights that are worth sharing.

As of the end of January 2014, there were 5,863 plug-in vehicles registered in Canada. 44% of those vehicles were battery-electric vehicles, and 56% were plug-in hybrids.

What is the breakdown by province?
A summary by province is shown below. The clear result is that Quebec is continuing its strong lead in the total number of plug-in registrations.

EV Sales by Province - as of January 31, 2014

EV Sales by Province – as of January 2014

What is the breakdown by model?
The break-down by model is below, but the punchline is that the Chevrolet Volt is the dominant EV in Canada.  The Volt represents 45% of all plug-in vehicles in Canada.  In what may surprise a few readers, the Tesla is solidly in 3rd spot and is closing the gap on the 2nd place Leaf.

EV Sales by Model - as of January 31, 2014

EV Sales by Model – as of January 31, 2014

Although it is hidden in the break-down on the right, it is also worth noting that a few Cadillac ELR’s have been registered in Ontario in the past few months.

Interesting Provincial Highlights
The break-down of monthly PHEV and BEV sales by province are shown below.  Ontario has generally been the province with the highest BEV sales, but has been alternating with Quebec for top spot in the last half of 2013.  British Columbia surged to 2nd in December due to Model S sales.   The PHEV sales have been led by Quebec all year long, with the pace accelerating for Quebec in the Fall.

Continue reading →

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Plug In BC program tests EV suitability for more than 120 fleet applications

Summary report cover for Electric Vehicle Fleet Modelling Project, completed in February 2014, showing the partnership of Fraser Basin Council, Plug in BC, and FleetCarma

A Summary Report provides further detail on the program and results.
(Click to View Report)

As part of the Plug In BC program, Fraser Basin Council and FleetCarma, with funding made available from the Ministry of Environment in British Columbia, have completed an innovative electric vehicle (EV) adoption program with nine fleet operators in the province of B.C.

The purpose of the program was to provide an EV suitability assessment service to help fleets make the business and environmental case for electric vehicle adoption. This comprehensive fleet analysis performed by FleetCarma, informs organizational decision making in terms of the ability to cost-effectively integrate electric vehicles into specific fleet needs and duty cycles.

The project involved Fraser Basin Council recruiting interested fleet partners with the aim to closely analyze and match fleet requirements and future needs with the capabilities and recommended uses of various electric vehicle makes and models.  The EV suitability assessment technology and process provided by FleetCarma starts with data logging current fleet vehicles and then uses data collected every second to ‘drive’ virtual plug-in vehicles models and simulate various EV adoption scenarios for fleet managers.  The FleetCarma data logger is a simple-to-install device, about the size of your thumb, that easily clips on to the vehicle’s diagnostics port.  The entire logging and modeling process took about one month and the end result was a series of online reports on the business case for plug-in vehicles in each of the existing duty cycles throughout the fleet portfolio.  In the end, this EV modelling tool rapidly determined which particular EV make and model would be (i) range and charge capable for each driver in the fleet, and (ii) the most cost-effective EV to replace the existing vehicle from a total life-cycle cost perspective.

The FleetCarma EV Suitability Assessment Technology and Process

FleetCarma EV modelling process graphic: Showing step 1, data logging current ICE vehicles, image shoes a FleetCarma data logger clipping into the OBDII port on the vehicle.  Step 2: Test your duty cycle data in FleetCarma EV Computer Models, assess: Will EV be capable of the job, Will they save the fleet money? Step 3: Modeling results are reported in a user friendly web portal including a ranking of the best fit EV for each duty cycle examined, the results are characterized displaying range and charge capability and comparative costs so a TCO analysis can be competed








The Fleet Partners

This program included a wide-variety of fleet operators including large, medium, and small municipal fleets, including an airport, private companies, transit and harbour authorities, and university campuses.  The following is a list of the nine participating fleets in this program in 2013.

  • BC Transit
  • City of Victoria
  • Great Victoria Harbour Authority
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • Town of Ladysmith
  • University of British Columbia
  • Van Houtte Coffee Inc.
  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Village of Burns Lake

A summary of the program results are available in this 3-page whitepaper, available for download here.

Check it out!


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Fleet Vehicles Spend 35% of their Trip Time Idling

You turn the key in the ignition. Your vehicle starts up, you pull on your seat belt, check your phone for a last minute client update, set away work materials. How much time goes by? Just a few seconds?

When we looked at real-world data we found that 37% of idling events last 1 minute or longer occur within the first 3 minutes of any vehicle’s trip. These idle periods begin as soon as the vehicle starts, or shortly after it pulls out of its parking spot, or depot. These initial idling times are largely preventable and can be easily identified and managed using an anti-idling policy.

We analyzed our real-world database of fleet vehicles and trips they take to determine 5 key stats about fleet idling and strategies you can use to prevent idle fuel waste.

Idling costs affect fleets in a variety of ways, not only increasing fuel but maintenance costs as well. Setting idling policies may be challenging for fleets. Establishing how to determine a reasonable limit, provide consistent feedback for drivers, and reward drivers that are hitting anti-idling targets. This E-book investigates some interesting facets of idling andcovers strategies for fleets to begin an idle management program or assess programs already in place.

This E-book covers:

• When does idling occur within a trip? What about seasonal variation?
• How much idling can be reasonably prevented through anti-idling policies and idle reduction technologies?
• How does eco-driving affect idling, can fleets improve both at the same time?
• How much does fuel wasted from idling cost a fleet annually?
• How can a fleet identify, benchmark and manage preventable idle events

Find out more about what happens 35% of the time, and how to cut down that percentage in your fleet.

Take me to the E-Book!

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Push your power demand: Plug-in off-peak

Many electricity providers have started implementing time of use rates for billing. These rates provide an incentive for consumers to shift their electrical demand off-peak.  Homeowners can take advantage of this by moving their power hungry tasks (such as washing and drying clothes) to the evening, instead of the middle of the day. Fleets can take advantage of these rates by shifting their electric vehicle charging off-peak.

In our recent Driver Behavior E-Book, we looked at the difference between just putting guidelines in place and monitoring and enforcing those guidelines.  

One of our fleet partners set a goal to reach 80-90% off peak charging. Driver surveys indicated that they were  hitting that goal.  However after looking at their charging data, we found only 49% of their charging was truly off-peak.

Electric vehicle charging profile showing the charging that occurs at different times of day.  The charging profile for this vehicle has on-peak time periods highlighted as per time-of-use electricity rates in the region.

The graph above shows this vehicle’s charging profile.  The profile shows the time of day in a 24 hour clock along the bottom, with each bar showing the amount of energy that was used for charging at that time of day.  Inside our online web portal, we allow fleets to set a target time period for charging, and goals for the amount of charging within this target period. Check out other vehicle’s charging profiles by using our demo account.

Check out a Demo

This fleet chose a target time period between 6pm and 7am shown in blue, however without feedback, the most frequent time for charging was 4-5 pm.

With this feedback, the fleet took immediate action, passing these results and implementing new guidelines to drivers of the vehicle. The fleet also began programming their vehicle’s charge times.

The change in their charging profile was startling.  The feedback was used to manage the vehicle’s charging going forward, shifting 40% of their charging energy to their off-peak goal time.

A charging profile for a vehicle with scheduled charge times.  The charging graph shows energy usage in kWh vs. the time of day that energy is used.  This charging profile has most charging starting at 7 pm.

Most importantly, this change didn’t prevent the fleet from fully using the vehicle.  The vehicle’s utilization throughout the day remained the same, getting roughly the same electric distance traveled each day.

You can learn more on how driver behavior and fleet choices affects the power consumption of electric vehicles within the driver behavior e-book.  The e-book covers steps to improve driver behavior, and provides actionable guidelines for fleets to set goals, and manage fuel costs.

Download the E-Book!


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Real-world range ramifications: heating and air conditioning

You asked for it, and here we deliver:

Last month we released real-world data showing how the temperature affects the range of the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. We saw ranges for each model slowly drop outside a sweet spot around 60-75 °F (15-24°C).

The most discussed result was the big difference between the average range and maximum range, showing that some drivers were getting up to 60% more range than the average.  This difference is due to a number of factors; some that a driver can control (ie. cabin heating), and some they can’t control (ie. extra aerodynamic losses due to denser air when cold).

Many readers asked for us to show the heater load across the temperature range. While we can’t isolate individual heaters, we can show you the total auxiliary loads. Auxiliary loads include:

EV HVAC Usage Heat Map

Our Hot Weather Webinar was recorded and available for you to download.

Auxiliary load is something our loggers can measure and something we track closely.  In both our Hot & Cold Weather Webinars (both are free to watch at the link), we found that one of the most important factors when looking at how sensitive an electric vehicle will be to temperature swings is the drivers preference for heating and air conditioning.   By measuring the average auxiliary power used throughout each trip, and comparing that with driver feedback the impact of heater and A/C use becomes clear.

The webinars go into detail and show how most drivers fit into one of three patterns when it comes to heating and A/C use.  In this post, we’ve included summary plots for both the Volt and the Leaf below.  Similar to the range plots, we again found a lot of variation.  We plotted the trips with the highest and lowest auxiliary power loads to demonstrate the impact of driver preference.  As you can see, some drivers have much higher auxiliary loads than others.

How the auxiliary power load of the Chevrolet Volt Plug in Hybrid vehicle changes with temperature

Chevrolet Volt Auxiliary Power Usage In Cold Weather
(click to enlarge)

Plot showing trips taken by the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle and how average auxiliary power loads throughout a trip change with respect to outside temperature, for logged trips taken

Nissan Leaf Auxiliary Power Usage In Cold Weather
(click to enlarge)

The data shows how the electric range of these vehicles drops as temperatures deviate from a comfortable 60-75 °F (15-24°C).  It’s no coincidence that this sweet spot coincides with the temperatures we often set our thermostats to. Maintaining a not-too-warm/not-too-cool temperature is definitely a comfort we have grown to expect while driving.  When we look at the average driver (in blue) we can see their auxiliary power load bottoms out in a similar sweet spot.

Bow Tie Graph

Check out vehicle by vehicle case studies that show how differences in driver preferences can affect the shape of this bow-tie.

When we look at data like this, we see a similar pattern emerge time and time again, the bow-tie.  The bow-tie shows that with increased power used to heat and cool the cabin, combined with a drop in component efficiency, the available range takes a dive.  This bow-tie can be affected by factors like where the vehicle is stored, and driver behavior details we explain in the Hot Weather Webinar.

We also looked at at how each vehicle model uses auxiliary power.  What we can see from the graph below is that as temperatures change, on average the Volt uses more auxiliary power.  As with our range comparison plot, trips below 25 °F (-4 °C) are not shown for the Volt since the engine is intermittently turned on below that threshold.

Plot of how average auxiliary power used over trips in the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt  changes according to ambient temperature

Are Volt drivers heat-hungry people demanding a permanent state of toastiness? Do LEAF drivers instinctively love being a little bit too cold or little bit too hot? No.

Throughout the EV Champion Challenge we saw posts from both Volt and LEAF drivers alike showing their efforts to reduce the effect heating and air conditioning have on their power consumption.  With drivers in both camps donning layers upon layers of insulating clothes, I think we can lump them together as more chill tolerant than the average commuter. These were of course the Champions though, and the average vehicle owner (both of the plug-in and conventional flavor) are more likely to move the heater knob.

There is a technical difference between the Volt and Leaf when it comes to their heating systems.  Both cars have a cabin heater and a component (battery) heater, but the Volt has a slightly larger cabin heater (5kW) and a significantly larger battery heater (1800W compared to 300W).  So there is a technical reason that we are seeing steeper curves with the Volt.

But here’s our big question to readers: do you think the reason the Volt auxiliary load is steeper is a) because the heaters are larger (technical), or b) because Volt drivers are more likely to use more cabin heat since it simply means the engine will kick on sooner unlike the Leaf where there isn’t an engine back-up (psychological)?

Matt, the CEO of FleetCarma and a Volt owner, is guessing that psychology (b) is the bigger factor.   What do you think?

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