More and more fleets are deploying electronic vehicles at scale. But they still rely on default routing. What they don’t know is they’re wasting between 20-50% of EV battery energy as a result. Default routing may make sense for standard vehicles, but it doesn’t figure energy consumption into route selection. Fleets that choose to include EVs and hybrids need to route these vehicles with efficiency in mind.

EV battery consumption example

Energy consumption should be a wayfinding metric

While energy consumption used to be pretty similar across different vehicles, that’s just not the case anymore. With a broad range in vehicle fuel-saving technologies these days along with the proliferation of EV and hybrid vehicles, energy consumption varies widely between different vehicles.

For EVs and hybrids, the opposite rules apply than for standard vehicles:

  • Slower speeds are good.
  • Idling in traffic is not a problem.
  • Faster speeds on the highway are bad because they require more energy.
  • Energy consumption goes up by the square of the speed increase. As you double your speed, you quadruple your energy consumption.

If fleets are to maximize potential and savings from their EVs, they need to make energy consumption a focal point.

Now imagine you are driving a Tesla. You look up directions. There are 2 choices. One through the city that takes 15 min. And Another on the highway that takes 14 min. The default route today will take you through the highway because it is faster. Your battery range will drop faster because you would have consumed 20% more battery power than necessary. Is that a good trade for that 1 min?

Now imagine you are Amazon and you have electric vehicles in your delivery fleet. Default routing means 20% fewer packages delivered on that battery charge. Are we good with that?

Using today’s default routing on electric vehicles is using old methods with new technology.

Time-to-destination doesn’t always mean efficiency

Accounting for energy consumption is a complex challenge, as it must consider a range of factors. In addition to traffic, you have to know:

  • How specific vehicles consume energy under different types of driving. For example, the fuel consumption of an F-150 in stop-and-go traffic is different from that of a Prius, which is different from that of Tesla Model 3. And these are just 3 vehicle types.
  • The driving profile of each possible route. This includes speed in each road segment, the number of stops and starts, idle time, and grade changes along the road, among others.
  • Differences in how people drive. Two drivers driving the same route in the same type of car will have different levels of energy consumption, as one driver might have a lead foot while the other could be a very cautious or defensive driver.

To sidestep these challenges, most routing applications use time-to-destination as the primary KPI to identify the default route. But this doesn’t offer any real picture of energy consumption.

Fleets are already overhauling with EVs

Cities and major delivery players are making considerable investments for the next decade:

The intention to reduce energy consumption is clearly there, but the understanding of how to optimize EV performance is not.

There is a way to route for energy consumption

Combining a wide array of accurate vehicle math models with current traffic and routing data, Ann Arbor-based GreenRoute identifies the best and most efficient route based on the vehicle you are driving. GreenRoute technology syncs with existing mapping APIs, adding that much-needed layer of energy consumption to the search for an optimal route.

Our study indicates that this can save anywhere from 20%-50% battery energy for the same destination, with a mere 1-2 minutes of additional travel time. 

How can fleets benefit from GreenRoute?

By using GreenRoute, you can reduce energy consumption by 20%-50%, which means that you can get 20-50% additional range and work out of the very same vehicle. EV delivery vans using GreenRoute can stay out longer, delivering more packages and completing more jobs before returning for a recharge or seeking out a charging station. This removes the need for a larger battery, which not only requires tens of thousands of dollars in investment but also reduces payload capacity. GreenRoute helps fleets stay lean, mean, AND clean.

GreenRoute has its limitations

GreenRoute can’t account for all of the nuances specific to the nature of every trip by car. These include:

  • Route discretion. GreenRoute will require some level of discretion for the route taken. It uses an alternate route between the same origin and destination and therefore is best suited to driving where origin and destination are fixed but the route itself is flexible. For example, an EV bus or a city maintenance/utility vehicle such as a postal delivery van or garbage truck. Here, GreenRoute wouldn’t serve the driver because they can’t deviate from the fixed route. In this context, energy-efficient static maps will have to be generated and implemented.
  • Route impediments and regulations. Certain types of vehicles can’t travel as freely as others, given their size and weight. Take Class 8 and Hazmat Vehicles. They can’t choose just any route, as they must consider bridge load and height restrictions along certain roads and tunnels.
  • Short trips vs longer interstate driving. GreenRoute is most effective for urban and semi-urban driving, where one has the option of taking at least two different routes. These tend to be short routes under 20 miles or medium routes under 50 miles. Meanwhile, long haul driving such as Chicago to Atlanta tends to involve one interstate highway connecting A to B and therefore no alternate GreenRoute.

Fleets vary widely in size, shape, and day-to-day operations, but all fleets will benefit from a closer understanding of energy consumption. GreenRoute is a way that fleets can quickly turn reduced energy consumption into substantial savings trip for the trip, all with minimal investment upfront.