power take-off, gofleet, tax, return, refund, iox aux, fleet

All You Need to Know About Power Take-Off and Tax Refunds

Power take-off (PTO) is a crucial device used to transfer mechanical power from vehicle engines to other pieces of equipment. It is adopted in a wide range of industries and sectors, such as forestry, energy, winter operations, waste management and many more. It allows the vehicle’s add-on equipment to extract and receive power from the vehicle’s host energy sources without installing an external energy source. 

Many fleet managers and asset operators favour PTO as an efficient and reliable way of attaching additional equipment and machinery to the vehicle, which helps them complete demanding tasks and dramatically expand vehicle utility. As a telematics company, we pride ourselves on using an innovative approach to derive changes and outcomes and we decided to give PTO a magical refresh and update. Our approach focuses on helping you extract the most information from PTO systems, which empower your operation to unmatched efficiency and drives down costs. 


The GoFleet Way of Mastering the Power Take-Off (PTO) System

Our IOX-AUX Harness links auxiliary sensors to our industry-leading fleet tracking systems, which enable operators and fleet managers to access information that they previously could not see. The IOX-AUX facilitates advanced sensor monitoring, enabling fleet managers and operators to view the real-time status and activities of the PTO. Fleet managers are also able to set up exception rules in the system to restrict and monitor operators’ behaviours, and any violation will trigger alerts, which immediately notify fleet managers to take appropriate actions. One of the most useful capabilities of PTO integration is that the system can organize PTO sensor data and formulate detailed reports at the end of the operations, which inform fleet managers about any event or violation that took place during the operation. These reports are also extremely valuable and helpful to fleet managers when preparing and submitting fleet management reports to the corporation’s executive team. Being able to extract more data and insights from the PTO system simply gives businesses a leading-edge over its competitors as these pieces of information can help fleet managers and executive teams better optimize the operation through a data-driven approach.  

Talking about system expandability, we want to offer you the most choices out of competitors. That’s why our IOX-AUX harness supports up to 4 digital inputs each. With two IOX-AUX, you can monitor up to 8 inputs at any time. If you have multiple sensors or inputs needed to track on a vehicle, you now have the complete freedom and control to do so. For example, fire truck operators or fleet managers may want to monitor sirens, fire pumps and aerial ladder activities simultaneously. It is vital for them to have access to all parts’ status and real-time information at one intuitive software interface, especially during an emergency operation. This poses stringent standards for the telematics solution as fleet managers and operators demand a high level of connectivity and integration, which allows them to monitor every component and part of the fire truck. Our solution, which supports up to 8 inputs, can handle these kinds of tasks with ease. No matter which part you want to track and monitor, you can link them with the vehicle onboard GPS tracking system through IOX-AUX to experience a streamlined workflow. 

When you are ready to go, we also want to make sure the installation process of IOX-AUX is simple, easy and problem-free. Our plug-and-play installation process guarantees that your entire system will be up and running in under a few hours. The USB connector of the IOX-AUX connector plugs right into the GPS tracking device, and you just need to connect the desired auxiliaries to the IOX-AUX wire as needed. There is no complex configuration or additional hardware required, and the installation process is easy enough where you can self-install and set them up by following our step-by-step instructions. 


Economic Returns of Using Power Take-Off Device

Did you know that you may be qualified for a refund if you paid tax on fuel used in Ontario to operate power take-off equipment? If your fleet qualified for the requirements listed below, you could apply for a power take-off tax refund:

  • The vehicle is licensed to operate under the Highway Traffic Act
  • The use of the auxiliary equipment occurs in Ontario
  • The motor vehicle is not used to transport passengers
  • The auxiliary equipment is powered using the same power source that is used to power the vehicle
  • No use of the power from the auxiliary equipment to drive the vehicle
  • No use of the auxiliary equipment for personal use, pleasure or recreation
  • Have paid fuel tax to Ontario 

A refund request must be filed and received by the Ministry of Finance within four years of paying the fuel tax. Remember that your fleet needs to meet all the above conditions to get a power take-off tax refund, and the exact amount of refund will be determined and calculated based on the vehicles’ total distance travelled in Ontario. 

DISCLAIMER: Before placing the information contained within this article in your fleet strategy, it is always recommended that you perform your own research and speak to the appropriate individuals to ensure it is right for you.


Q&A of Tax Refund for A Power Take-Off


Question: How is the refund being calculated?


Calculating A Refund – PTO Activity Before July 1, 2017

There are two ways to measure the fuel used during the PTO operations; you may use either one of the below:

  • Readings from meters or electronic control modules that measure the fuel supplied to the auxiliary equipment
  • Set allowances approved by the ministry for different kinds of PTO operations, based on information from equipment manufacturers

You may need to contact the ministry to confirm if there is an approved allowance for your equipment. 


Calculating A Refund – PTO Activity After July 1, 2017

Starting from July 1, 2017, the PTO refund is calculated by applying a pre-determined percentage allowance against the total fuel disbursed to the licensed vehicle containing the qualifying auxiliary equipment.

You can find the PTO allowance chart on the Ontario Ministry of Finance website, which outlines in detail what the allowance is for different PTO activity types. 


For Inter-jurisdictional Carriers

For inter-jurisdictional carriers, the refund is calculated based on the vehicle’s total distance travelled in Ontario during the claim period. The following example will help you better understand how the refund portion is calculated. 

An IFTA licensed carrier (carrier licensed under the International Fuel Tax Agreement) reports a total distance of 10,000 km in all jurisdictions, of which 2,000 km represents the distance travelled in Ontario. While in Ontario, the carrier uses fuel to operate PTO equipment. The tax rate on the fuel used is 14.3 cents per litre. Based on the ministry approved allowance, it was determined that PTO activity accounts for 1,000 litres of fuel. 

The carrier calculates the Ontario PTO tax refund as follows:

  • Calculate the percentage of Ontario travel out of the total travelled distance

2,000 km ÷ 10,000km = 20%

  • Use the PTO litres to multiply the proportion of distance travelled in Ontario 

1,000 litres x 20% = 200 litres

  • Then, multiply the result above by the tax rate to arrive at the refund portion

200 litres x $0.143 = $28.60


Question: How and where can I apply for the refund?


  1. You need to download and complete the application form online, which can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Finance website
  2. Read the accompanying guides, which help you navigate through the application
  3. Mail the completed application and all supporting documents to the Ministry. Make sure to keep one copy for your records. You can find the mailing address on the Ontario Ministry of Finance website


Question: What kinds of supporting documents do I need to provide?


For Refunds Under $500

You do not need to send in supporting documents with your application if the total of all refunds for a calendar year does not exceed $500. However, you will still need to keep your records for seven years in case the Ministry audits you.

For Refunds Over $500

You need to submit accurate and verifiable records of your fuel purchases along with your application to support a PTO refund claim. The invoice must show the following information:

  • The name and address of the seller
  • The selling price per litre
  • The amount of tax charged
  • The quantity of product purchased
  • The date of the sale

You also need to submit copies of proof of payment such as the account statement and cancelled cheque along with the receipted invoice. 


For PTO Claims on or After July 1, 2017

For PTO claims on or after July 1, 2017, additional documents are required:

  • A monthly summary of all fuel issues covering the entire claim period
  • Entries broken down by each licensed vehicle included in the claim
  • Based on verifiable information that may include inventory reconciliation reports from bulk storage facilities, daily disbursement logs, receipts from retail fuel outlets and issue tickets from card lock systems

Similarly, you are responsible for keeping all the records for seven years after you apply. If the Ministry selects you for an audit, you are required to present all the relevant records. 


Question: How to claim the refund?


The fastest way for you to receive your tax refund is by signing up for direct deposit. It’s an easy and secure way to receive refunds or rebate. You can fill out the direct deposit authorization form on the Ontario Ministry of Finance website and include it in the submission package. 

All the information presented here is for informational purposes. At this moment, GoFleet cannot advise you on finance-related questions nor responsible for any issue related to the topic. We encourage your business to consult with a professional financial consultant to determine eligibility for the PTO tax refunds and discuss in detail how to apply. For more information, we recommend visiting the Ontario Ministry of Finance website to discover the more information on this topic. To learn more about the IOX-AUX harness and supporting accessories connecting to the PTO system, contact us today as our industry-specific experts at GoFleet will be happy to discuss with you in further detail. 

smart warehousing, telematics, ble, beacon, warehouse,

How Smart Warehousing Depends on BLE Technology

The growth of globalization and e-commerce has prompted the rising need for more efficient and cost-effective inventory management solutions to improve warehouses’ operational efficiency. Asset managers across industries have concluded that the warehouse information management system is an essential pillar to effectively facilitate large-scale warehousing tasks. In fact, it’s been noted that smart warehousing is an ongoing trend that needs to be monitored. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed greater challenges to warehouse operations worldwide. This is because staffing issues and physical distancing rules make today’s warehouses hard to operate without adequate technologies and automation. The pandemic also has a trickle-down effect on the supply chains, which forces businesses to adopt innovative solutions to keep a close eye on inventory and stock. 

In adapting and shifting to the “New Normal”, finding and implementing a smart warehousing solution is a primary task for asset managers. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology is the perfect solution to achieve the most efficient logistics operation possible and keep track of the asset movements. 

We will show you why BLE has the leading edge over other solutions and how it can transform your businesses’ warehousing operations in the real-world. 


What’s BLE?

BLE is a simple highly-automated wireless local data network that enables informational communications between assets. There is no barcode, no paperwork and no wire needed to operate the network. It’s as easy as attaching BLE beacons to the assets, plugging in readers to the power outlet and powering on a cloud database to see all the information. 

The initial investment costs of a BLE system is very low, and the installation process is fast and simple. Best of all, because most smartphones have Bluetooth connectivity already, they can be used as a reader and mobile end device to receive and display information with compatible asset management applications installed. 

This is extremely important for smart warehousing since the workforce is constantly moving between warehouse aisles and shelves. Having all the information they need in the palm of their hands is a huge productivity booster for all employees as they can clearly see, track and monitor all assets on the go. 


Why Use BLE?

As the name suggests, low energy consumption is what makes BLE technology special. BLE beacons use low amounts of power on a battery that can last anywhere from one to five years. Because they are so reliable, it requires very little maintenance work to keep those beacons running. 

Beacons will automatically alert the asset managers in advance before the battery runs out so managers can order a replacement battery or a new unit in time. The high versatility of BLE technologies means that asset managers can use them in a wide range of settings. As BLE beacons run on its own power and can function without a SIM card or mobile signal, they can be placed anywhere. 

Some common placements of beacons are: 

  • Forklifts or other moving or stationary commodities
  • Human assets
  • Self-powered assets

Product customization is one of the top considerations for asset managers when choosing tools and solution packages for their businesses. BLE solutions satisfy business needs by offering a wide range of unique customizations. It can track temperature and humidity, perfect for cold chain inventory management or temperature-sensitive commodities tracking. Customers can choose to pack in an accelerometer into the BLE beacons, which is essential to detect drop or article orientations for high-valued or fragile commodities. From the software end, asset managers can set geofencing boundaries, which provide enhanced safety protections for critical items – an alarm will be triggered if the item enters or exits virtual boundaries. 

Additionally, the authentication feature can be built right into the BLE, allowing improvement to be made in the warehouse security management field. Many warehouses are high-traffic spots and supply chain integrity and security can be easily compromised if businesses do not value the importance of security. By implementing a BLE-based security network, warehouse managers can now keep the warehouse secure by only granting people wireless access to places where they need to enter. This could protect employees’ safety and deter theft and damages to the commodities. 


How Does BLE Come Into Play With Smart Warehousing?

When it comes to a highly localized environment like a warehouse, we believe there are four essential aspects that managers should focus on when implementing smart warehousing management techniques. Directing the focus to these four aspects can enhance employee productivity and operational efficiency – and the BLE solution plays a big part in each of these areas. 


  • Getting The Foundation Right

Creating the ideal and optimal warehouse space layout is a precondition of facilitating efficient asset management and inventory tracking. Warehouse asset managers need to identify current traffic bottlenecks in the warehouse and make every effort to reduce travel time between the commodities storage spaces and the fulfillment centre and optimize inventory placement. This analysis work could not be done without first learning the assets historical performance data and travel patterns. 

Asset managers need a reliable tool that can be easily attached to each moving asset to collect vital information that helps them gain deeper insight into potential conflict points in the warehouse that may slow down the operations. Historical data is also crucial in assessing inventory placement and seeing what kinds of improvements can be made to optimize the pick-up efficiency. 

Defining zones and stocking rules can be an especially helpful strategy in warehouses that store multiple types of inventory with different handling and storage rules. For asset managers, you want to make sure that you are putting time-sensitive inventory and short-term storage items in an easily accessible location and place long-term non-perishable goods in the back of the warehouse. In any of these scenarios, the BLE-based inventory tracking system can help the asset manager monitor all the goods movements to make sure they are stored in the right location. This system can truly help warehouse facilities set themselves apart as a highly-efficient hub that can handle and store any kinds of goods.


  • Live Inventory Tracking

Forget about all the cumbersome manual entries work and complicated paperwork needed for inventory tracking and recording. The BLE-based warehouse management solution can record all the inventory changes and tag all received inventory. With the power of advanced computing, the system can automatically plan out the best location to store the inventory depending on the inventory types, as well as the fastest route to a destined storage zone.

Inventory counts are widely considered one of the most challenging tasks in large warehouses. The BLE system can handle it with ease as it provides real-time accurate inventory information and reports it to asset managers with an unparalleled level of detail and clarity. It streamlines and digitalizes the entire inventory tracking process and reduces the costs of paying dedicated personnel to count and record the inventory manually. With the proper configuration set up, the system can automatically alert asset managers if inventory is running low or the stock level is abnormal. 

The BLE-based system can also assist asset managers in finding free storage spaces in the warehouse. A common scene in a warehouse setting is that staff are storing inventory in the closest shelves to the loading and unloading bays for convenient access, leaving many shelves at the back of the warehouse underutilized. The BLE system accurately calculates the warehouse spaces based on the real-time inventory count to provide warehouse managers with a complete picture of the warehouse’s available storage spaces. There is a very good chance that warehouse managers will find ways to make use of the underutilized storage spaces and discover new potentials to expand warehouse capacity. 


  • Utilizing Equipment And Assets More Efficiently

Making the most out of material handling equipment and tools in the warehouse can significantly improve overall operational efficiency and reduce costs. Similar to tracking inventory, asset managers can attach BLE beacons to any kind of equipment and tools to track their usage. 

The forklift is one of the essential pieces of equipment in the warehouse, and by attaching BLE beacons to the forklifts, asset managers can track their locations and collect travel patterns of these forklifts. By analyzing the equipment usage patterns, assets managers can identify idle assets and reduce equipment idle time. 

It also helps asset managers optimize the storage location of equipment to make sure they are easily accessible by staff and workers. The BLE system presents a huge opportunity for creating an integrated operational platform that links equipment, personnel, assets, and inventory together and creates a streamlined warehouse workflow. 


  • Unlocking The Power Of Artificial Intelligence And Big Data

Artificial intelligence and the adoption of big data analytics will have fundamental impacts on warehouse operations and completely reimagines what the BLE system can do. 

By attaching BLE beacons on each moving asset, they can map out the entire warehouse path network and allow the system to utilize computational power and artificial intelligence to draw out the best routing for every trip. The system can predictively identify bottlenecks by analyzing historical trip data and patterns and reroute equipment operators to reach the destined zone. This could eliminate as many traffic conflict points as possible in the warehouse and put every vehicle and equipment on the most efficient route. 

Another crucial improvement of the AI-powered BLE system is combining multiple work orders into one trip to reduce unnecessary trips. The system can smartly identify any work orders that can be done within one trip and assign the optimal routing to operators to collect all patches along the way. 

With a BLE network in place, warehouse managers can observe a significant improvement in the facility’s capability to handle more orders because of a more streamlined inventory management solution that can automatically record every step of the inventory storage process. The data collected from equipment and inventory movement will be calculated and analyzed by the system to help warehouse managers identify equipment idle time, space availability, average travel time and a wide range of performance indicators. From there, warehouse managers can assess where there is room for further improvement and optimization.

BLE based inventory management and tracking solution is the future of smart warehousing management. Warehouse managers need a constant flow of information and data that is connected to equipment and inventory systems to effectively manage a constant flow of goods. Contact us to speak with a BLE solution expert to learn how we can leverage BLE technologies and create a customized solution package so you can achieve smart warehousing management. 



Alan Zheng, Content Writer 

David Herrington, Product Manager

Electric bus fleet

An Electric Bus Fleet: Going From 0 to 16,000 Electric Buses In A Decade

Across the globe, municipalities took the initiatives of shaping a greener urban future by quickly advancing and accelerating the bus fleet electrification process. Some cities have recognized the benefits of adopting electric buses in the very early stage of development. We are going to take a look at one city that leads the way in the bus fleet electrification field and explore how it accomplished this complex task. 

Looking for more information about why fleets are looking at adopting greener technologies? Read the first part of this article here


An 16,000 Electric Bus Fleet In Shenzhen, China

Shenzhen, a modern metropolitan city located in southern China, owns the world’s first and largest all-electric bus fleet. All 16,000 city’s public transit buses and 22,000 taxis are operating 100% on electric power. This fast-growing city is also the home to the largest electric vehicle manufacturer, BYD. 

The Shenzhen Bus Group, the major bus transit agency in Shenzhen, estimated that by converting the entire fleet to electric, they are able to conserve 160,000 tonnes of coal per year and reduce annual CO₂ emissions by 440,000 tonnes. However, it’s important to note that Shenzhen didn’t have any electric buses let alone an electric bus fleet prior to 2010.

So how did a city grow from zero to 16,000 electric buses in just under a decade? There are many reasons and factors that contributed to this green accomplishment. 


Growing Environmental And Health Concerns

Stepping into the 21st Century, China faces growing public concerns and criticisms about the deteriorating urban environment and air quality due to a spike in the concentration of lung-damaging particles called PM2.5. This increase is primarily attributed to the industry’s  heavy expansion, increased private vehicles on the roads, and a profit-focused economic development national strategy. 

Heavy pollution often leads to smog, an unfavourable intense air pollution condition that could have detrimental effects on human and ecosystem health. The situation worsened year after year, forcing the government to take action and introduce policies to reduce urban carbon emissions. 

Converting the entire country’s bus fleet into an all-electric fleet is an important first step in mitigating carbon impacts and restore the environment on the government’s agenda. 

Shenzhen has been selected as a pilot city to experiment with the fleet electrification project, primarily due to Shenzhen being a quite innovative city in China and the upcoming 2021 Universiade games. The city has been onboard with this ambitious plan of replacing all city’s 16,000 buses with electric buses, and hopefully, pave the way and serve as an example for other cities in China. 


Governmental Support Of Transitioning To Electric Fleet

One of the key factors for any transit agency to transition into an electric fleet is getting wide support and funding from the local government. Electric bus units are often more expensive than the conventional buses in terms of purchase prices and upfront costs. However, as battery prices are rapidly dropping due to technological innovations and lowering manufacturing costs, it is highly likely that we will see more affordable electric bus models launched into the market in the near future. 


Investing In The Right Infrastructures

Investing and establishing electric bus infrastructures is an essential practice in supporting and accelerating the adoption of electric buses. Knowing how to strategically place charging stations across the city directly impacts the electric bus network’s operational efficiency. 

Shenzhen took a pioneering approach by installing charging stations at bus depots for overnight charging and also built charging stations at bus terminus so vehicles can charge periodically when they layovers. This ensures buses have enough battery energy to cover the entire day operations without the need to be taken out of service in the middle of the day for a lengthy full charge. It also maximizes vehicles’ utilization rates to make sure they spend more time on roads serving customers rather than being parked at charging stations, waiting for a charge. Additionally, the city opens these charging stations to other city-service vehicles, such as taxis, to improve charging infrastructures’ utilization rates. The results are astonishing, as these infrastructures accelerate the transitions of all 22,000 city taxis to a fully electric fleet.


Enhanced Manufacturer’s Support

A primary key concern raised by many transit agencies is whether the electric bus can have the same life expectancy as the conventional bus. The degree of battery degradation has a direct impact on the vehicle’s operational range and overall system productivity. Though most of the current electric bus manufacturers promised a vehicle lifecycle of 8 to 10 years or 100,000 miles, similar to what a conventional diesel bus can deliver, hesitation and indecision still exist among transit agencies over the reliability of electric buses. 

Shenzhen Bus Group was confronted with the uncertainty associated with the bus battery performance at the early stage of the transition process. However, this uncertainty was solved by negotiating with vehicle manufacturers for a lifetime warranty of the vehicles’ battery. It’s important to note that one of the main reasons why the vehicle manufacturer was willing to offer a lifetime warranty is because they were able to manage the financial risks through continuously innovating battery technologies. Having strong foundational technological support from the manufacturers is an essential pillar to ensure the fleet electrification process can succeed and sustain in the long term. 

The success of the bus electrification project in Shenzhen, China, highlighted that the bus electrification process relies on the support from multiple key stakeholders, strategic infrastructure, asset allocation and management. 

Now, the following question remains: how can data be collected to not only track progress towards a greener future, but to ensure typical fleet management occurs?


The Role of Telematics in Electric Fleets

Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment: Bringing You The World’s Largest Electric Vehicle Real-World Range Dataset

Electric vehicle adoption cannot succeed without telematics. From the preparation and consultation at the beginning of the process to the fleet scale management in the later stage of adoption, telematics plays a critical role in every part of the journey. 

The EVSA (Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment) is a systematic data-driven process that informs fleet managers about which parts of the fleet are suitable to transition to electric. Through leveraging the world’s largest electric vehicle real-world range dataset and analyzing the current fleet’s unique driving profile and historical patterns, the system can make personalized recommendations of fleet electrification blueprint and best implementation practices. 

For transit agencies, not all buses in the depot are suitable or cost-beneficial to be converted to the electric bus immediately. Buses in newer conditions or those that were recently bought by transit agencies certainly should not be phased out before reaching the end of their lifecycle. 

Range and the availability of charging infrastructures are some key considerations for transit agencies when it comes to fleet planning and deployment. They are more likely to pilot and deploy electric buses on shorter bus routes or routes with sufficient charging infrastructures. The EVSA has the best ability to know which route is fitted for electric bus operations after analyzing thousands of similar real-world scenarios, giving fleet managers the full confidence to implement plans.  

Costs of fleet electrification are always a major concern for any business, including transit agencies. The EVSA will provide fleet managers with a clear comparison between the costs of operating the existing fleet and the costs of operating an electric vehicle fleet. Fleet managers could determine which approach or strategy they should be undertaking that best suits their budget. They are also able to view the initial expense and long-term savings of adoption to the electric vehicle fleet, paving the way for presenting these data to city council for approval. 


Largest Set of Supported Electric Vehicle Models

The electric bus market is rapidly expanding as new vehicle models are introduced into the market every month. To provide the best possible support of the entire fleet operation, fleet managers need a telematics solution that supports all types of electric vehicle models in the fleet. That means telematic solutions must keep up with the growth of electric vehicle markets by continually adding vehicle support every month. 

A winning solution should evolve with the changing market and support a broad range of electric bus models, so transit agencies can purchase any model they want without any constraints. 


Highly Customizable Software Platform

Similar to other industries, transit agencies desire a high degree of customization on the telematics platform to add features to cater to their needs. The telematics solution providers have to offer customers a wide selection of add-on features and software integration capability so that transit agencies can migrate their existing features such as automatic passengers counting solutions, crowd monitoring systems, and a variety of transit-oriented software systems to the new electric fleet management platform. Telematics offers new exciting features such as battery degradation monitoring, energy use tracking, and temperature impacts on range real-time analytics tools to provide comprehensive electric fleet support. 


Electric Vehicle Charge Assurance Dashboard: Guarantee A Smooth Operation

Service reliability is a vital metric for transit operations. No transit agency wants to see one of their vehicles break down or declare out of service in the middle of passenger route due to low battery. The Electric Vehicle Charge Assurance Dashboard is a useful tool that enables fleet managers to monitor vehicle charging status in real-time. Fleet managers will get an alert if the vehicle wasn’t plugged in or charging didn’t start correctly. The dashboard also warns fleet managers of any electric vehicle that didn’t reach the specified battery level due to a charging issue, allowing fleet managers to take preventive actions such as taking the vehicle out of service early. 


The Future Of Electric Buses

As battery technologies continue to improve and evolve, we expect to see buses with improved range and longer lifecycles in the future. The extended range will open up new opportunities and provide more flexibility to transit agencies in terms of route planning and work assignment. 

Expanding charging infrastructures and developing new charging technologies can also significantly improve operational flexibility and vehicle utilization rates. Wireless charging provides a glimpse into the visionary future of electric bus charging solutions. The wireless solution involves charging pads positioned at terminus and bus layover points. Whenever the bus stops on the charging pad for a brief layover, the bus automatically adds energy to its battery through an air gap. This flexible “on-route” charging solution allows buses to complete unlimited cycles of trips without the need to return to the depot for a lengthy full charge. It is a transformative technology that allows electric buses to operate routes of any length without range concerns. 

There is no doubt that the electric bus is the future of public transit. It is our answer and response to the worsening global environment, declining community health, and increasing social burdens. Transitioning to renewable energy is the mission of our generation. The electric bus is just the beginning of this challenging journey.

Contact us to speak with a fleet electrification expert to see how we can leverage telematics technologies to help your fleets go electric. 

Green Fleet

How Public Transportation Fleets Can Become A Green Fleet

Public transportation is a lifeline for cities. It plays an irreplaceable role in communities of all sizes and connects people to places and destinations. Public transportation has had a long history of being a cost-effective environmentally-friendly method of travel. A single bus can carry up to 50 passengers and replace approximately 30 -40 private vehicles on the roads. 

Municipalities and Governments worldwide have prioritized the investing, improving, and revolutionizing of public transit systems to ensure continued success.

Climate change and public transit is continuously spoken about together as transit systems are one way for entire populations to take steps towards reducing their carbon footprint and environmental impacts. 

In fact, this focus of green fleets reducing carbon footprints and environmental impacts has also moved into nearly every industry – especially industries that are vehicle-based businesses. So much so, that embracing renewable clean energy has never been a more imminent task, and the public transportation sector has already embarked on this revolution. 


Why The Public Transportation Sector Is Looking At Green Fleets Right Now

Technology Maturity

Municipalities and public transit agencies have been eyeing for greener solutions to power daily operations. Shifting an entire bus fleet to zero-emission has been on the agenda for many transit agencies. In fact, some cities have already accomplished this goal of green fleets, while others have set a target date for when the transformation will be complete. 

Toronto, home to the current largest electric bus fleet in North America, expects to achieve a fully zero-emissions fleet by 2040. Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) based in New York City, the largest transit agency in North America, also plans to move towards an all-electric fleet by 2040

As the electric vehicle battery technology is constantly improving and getting more mature and advanced over time, the electric bus has become an increasingly viable and appealing option to replace diesel bus fleets as the future form of bus transportation.


Government Mandate And Regulatory Guidance

The government mandate and regulatory guidance further push transit agencies worldwide to consider shifting to a full-electric fleet. The United Kingdom has committed to banning all sales of diesel-engine and gasoline cars by 2040. Additionally, they are planning to ensure that all vehicles on roads to be zero-emissions by 2050. Other European countries have followed a similar approach by setting a target date to phase out diesel and gasoline vehicles. 

Back in North America, the Canadian province of British Columbia has also introduced a similar plan to end eternal-combustion sales in the upcoming decades. 

Public transit agencies, often funded and administered by the government, need to set an example for the rest of the society through determination and real actions to progressively transition into renewable-powered operations. Transit agencies have an undeniable responsibility to lead the change and raise public awareness about the benefits electric vehicles. 


Transition Takes Time

Another pressing reason why transit agencies should begin moving to an all-electric or green fleet now is due to scaling. Transit agencies in major metropolitan areas tend to have large fleet sizes of hundreds or thousands of buses. Converting the entire existing fleet to an all-electric fleet is not an easy task and requires a vast amount of time and work from agencies to carefully plan out the implementation process in stages. 

The length of the transition period also depends on the production rates of vehicle manufacturers and battery suppliers. All these uncertainties and complexities of work highlight that change takes time, and transit agencies need to act now to meet the regulatory deadlines and/or targets. 


Lower Operational And Maintenance Costs

Though change is hard, the benefits of a green fleet in public transportation is rewarding. 

In the beginning, many transit agencies were skeptical about transitioning to an electric bus fleet due to concerns associated with cost and performance. Some were worried about the high initial purchase costs of electric buses, but that consensus is shifting rapidly. The lower operating costs of electric buses have made them a more economical option than internal combustion engine buses in the long run. 

On average, it’s 2.5 times cheaper to operate an electric bus than powering a diesel bus. The fuel economy of electric buses is five times higher than that of diesel buses. Given that the electric bus and diesel bus have a similar lifecycle of 8-12 years, transit agencies can expect huge savings in fleet operational costs after the transition. 

In fact, this does not even account for savings from maintenance costs which is far lower for electric motors than that of conventional motors.


Good For Our Planet

Cost-savings is just part of the advantages of committing to an electric bus fleet; the more significant impact concentrates on understanding what this change means to our planet. 

An electric bus operates 100% on green technologies and is completely free of GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions. As buses are currently responsible for 25% of black carbon emitted in the transportation sector – its impact is something we can no longer overlook. As bus activity continues to increase in the future, we expect to see an additional 26,000 tons of black carbon being emitted into the air by 2030. Shifting to fully electric bus fleets can drastically cut down carbon emissions by 1.4 billion tons globally by 2050. 

Because electric buses have no tailpipe, an improvement in local air quality can immediately be observed. Reducing global transportation sector emissions is a top priority, and bus fleet electrification paves a reasonable path to achieve this goal. 


Good For Our Community

Reduced emissions from fleet electrification not only helps to lessen environmental burdens but also has a transformative impact on the local community health. Traditionally motor vehicles emit toxic and hazardous pollutants into the air through the exhaust system, causing a rise in illnesses in communities near roads. 

Vulnerable populations with pre-existing medical conditions are at a higher risk of developing more severe symptoms and illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, lung cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Children and the elderly with compromising immune systems are also faced with adverse health outcomes, including permanent lung damage and other long-term health effects. 

Every year, pollutants from motor vehicles cost our economy billions of dollars. In the United States alone, around $24 billion to $450 billion of social costs per year are attributed to the health hazards caused by motor vehicle pollution. The astronomical magnitude of motor-vehicle pollution impacts prompted a revolution in finding new energy sources to power vehicles on the roads to protect and safeguard community health and improve global sustainability. 

Building and transitioning into a zero-emission bus fleet is a fundamental step in reshaping our communities and protecting vulnerable populations. Research conducted in the Great Toronto and Hamilton Areas in Canada shows that electrifying and transitioning all public transit buses to green fleets can prevent 143 premature deaths per year in those areas. 

In addition, moving towards a green fleet addresses one of the key complaints about diesel buses – the noise generated from the vehicle’s internal combustion engine. Exposure to prolonged noise can be an invisible killer that harms people’s hearing, causes stress and anxiety, and results in drivers’ fatigue. The electric bus offers unique advantages by presenting a much quieter riding and driving experience for passengers and operators. In fact, the bus is so quiet in most of the low-speed urban road scenarios that local communities won’t even notice a bus has passed by. Customers will truly enjoy a more comfortable, quieter, and superior commuting experience on an electric bus. 


Pushing For Wider Adoption Of Electric Vehicles Across All Sectors

Investing in proper infrastructures to support the electric bus fleet’s growth will sustain change and foster continuous quality improvement over the entire bus network. Shifting to an all-electric fleet means a fundamental change in operations management and service planning. Installing and constructing new charging stations across bus depots, terminus and providing convenient intelligent charging solutions paves the way for expanding electric bus fleets. 

Pushing for new electric vehicle charging stations not only benefits public transit services but also leads the way for the expansion of charging infrastructures for private electric vehicles. Only through building an extensive network of electric vehicle infrastructures and service facilities can we truly stimulate a bigger electrification trend in the market. 

Curious to learn more about electric fleets and the role that telematics plays? Or how one city adopted 16,000 electric buses in a decade? Read the continuation of this article here.