Mar 16

How Charger Telematics Can Lower Costs for Electric Bus Fleets

Did you know 80% of charger issues can be solved by a software reset? And the best part? This can be done remotely with a charger monitoring platform such as ViriCiti

Even though the technology is advancing quite fast, many charger OEMs don’t offer the option to execute a software reset remotely. 

This means that when an issue occurs and a bus is not able to use a charger,  the problem can become even bigger and more costly than initially expected. Here are the main issues that can arise. 

Cost of sending a mechanic 

Without the ability to do a remote reset of the charger, extra time and money are used in order for a mechanic to physically go to the location of the charging station, check what is happening and try to solve it with a manual software rest. 

Schedule disruption

Additionally, since the charger cannot be used until the error is fixed, the planning of the bus or buses is disrupted. This could lead in turn to penalties from the local authorities.

Backup bus 

When this occurs often there is a need to have another driver and bus (usually a diesel bus) on standby. Which is again, extra cost.

While this issue is most relevant for opportunity chargers, which are on route and harder to reach, it can also be an issue for depot chargers in a large depot that in unmanned overnight. 

Estimated costs of manually resetting the chargers 

It can be difficult to estimate the definitive costs which occur when a charger needs a reset, as there are various factors varying from situation to situation. But we have listed below a few aspects to take into consideration when calculating your companies charge station monitoring reset costs: 

  • The time of the mechanic
  • The time during which the operation is disrupted 
  • Having a bus and driver always on standby
  • Penalties from local authorities due to not sticking to the schedule
  • The number of times a charger breaks down per month 
  • The number of chargers you have

Benefits of Charging Station Monitoring

From the experience we have at ViriCiti we have seen that 80% of these charger issues are just a software glitch, and can easily be solved remotely.

But that’s not all. There are many benefits when it comes to charging station monitoring (or charger telematics) aside from the times when there is a software glitch. 

Real-time charger status

One extremely useful benefit is that when monitoring the station it is possible to see if the charging station is available, charging, unavailable, or if there is an error. This provides full transparency for operations and maintenance allowing for better decisions to be made and complete visibility. 

Full OVERVIEW of all charging sessions

Additionally, a complete overview of all charging sessions is available. With this, as an operator it is possible to identify an accurate usage of energy per charging session and establish better billings of costs per bus. In this overview, operators are also able to see start time, end time, duration and the vehicle charged during every session.   

Full visibility into EACH charging session

This functionality allows you to deep dive into each individual charging session at a very granular level.  With a detailed charging session overview, you are able to see the vehicle ID, starting SOC, ending SOC, duration of the session and 3 KPIs plotted over time: SOC in %, total energy charged in kWh,  and power in kW (charging speed).

Over the air firmware updates and Diagnostic messages   (EXTRA)

If there is deep integration between the charger telematics provider and the charger OEM, there are additional benefits a bus operator can access. 

Major functionality is the ability to push over the air firmware updates (FOTA) to charging stations. Additionally, it is also possible to look at diagnostic and support messages and view the historical and live logs (between the charging station and back offices).

Using Charging Station Monitoring for your Fleet!

With the fleet management tool we provide at ViriCiti you can monitor your buses, so you always know whether they are charging. We can alert you immediately if there are any issues with your charging station either via email, SMS, etc. 

In order to monitor a charging station, you first need to connect the charging station to the back-office with an open standard. No additional hardware is needed. The International standard Open charge point protocol is enough. The best practice for monitoring a charging station is using a minimum of OCPP 1.6. 

About The Author

We are the ViriCiti marketing team. A group of EV enthusiasts writing about the most important aspects of operating electric fleets. From monitoring to smart charging.