Clark Public Utilities identified a need to provide exceptionally reliable equipment, reduce dependency on fuel, and lower emissions within their fleet, and came to us at GRIP Idle Management Systems searching for a solution. These goals were adopted based on the possibilities of what Clark PUD could accomplish when using an idle reduction technology.
An interview with Paul L. Chamberlain, Fleet Services Manager at Clark Public Utilities, breaks down his goals, strategies, outcomes, and perspective having implemented the GRIP Idle Management System within his fleet.
Our strategy is to reduce unnecessary idling to increase equipment reliability while reducing fuel consumption, and lowering our emission output. We prioritize the integration of Idle Management Systems on to equipment that has been exhibiting high levels idling while demonstrating high levels of mechanical failures due to idling. Our decision in determining what technology we would use had to:
We are currently using two different systems one for medium-duty and a more robust system for heavy-duty trucks. After a lot of research and development and the support and willingness of our vendors to work with us, both technologies meet our needs.
Our goals were not to reduce idling for the sake of idle reduction. Our goals derived from the outcomes of using idle reduction technology; what we wanted to accomplish was to provide exceptionally reliable equipment, reduce our dependency on fuel, and lower our transportation emissions in that order.
We now have 40 over-the-road vehicles and trucks upfitted with Idle Management Systems with more units in the process of installation. For a small fleet of 265 units with 175 of them being over-the-road, this is a big step. Our priority over the last few years has been upfitting all of our heavy-duty aerial line trucks, medium-duty support, and flagger trucks, and are now integrating Idle Management Systems on our first responder serviceman trucks. Most of our light-duty vehicles are older hybrids, though we now have some EV vehicles in our fleet. In the coming year, we plan on adding a few plug-in light-duty trucks as this technology is proving to be viable and cost-effective. This idle-reducing technology, use of hybrids, EV/Plug-ins, and renewable diesel proves that our goals are attainable.
Yes. Now that we have over 40 units upfitted with Idle Management Systems, we are averaging about a 25% reduction within the trucks upfitted with idle management, with a fleet average of about 15% overall. Not all of it has been as the result of technology but has been a combination of technology and employees making an effort to shut their vehicles off when they do not need to idle.
I am hearing about utilities using a combination of strategies. Some utility fleets are letting technology be the driver while others use policy and driver behaviour strategies — and others are using a combination of policy, driver behaviour, and technology. The approach used will be dependent on workforce culture, and the plan a fleet manager feels can provide them with the most success within their workplace. In any case, there is more of a focus to support Idle Management Systems, and more fleet managers are making an effort to communicate to the end-user about idle management.
I would tell them that it is imperative to know what you need and are expecting from an Idle Management System. Many utility fleets are starting to focus on idle management now, and the technology is there, readily available and getting better with vendors who are more than willing to work with you toward a solution that will meet your needs.
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