Don Eta, City of Vaughan Fleet Manager, needed to keep the city’s  Animal Services drivers and live cargo safe, comfortable and secure throughout the work day. Grip idle management had a solution.

The City of Vaughan’s fleet was going to the dogs, literally.  As part of its mandate, Animal Services would pick up stray animals in the field and return them to its shelter. The problem was, the vehicles in service weren’t equipped to keep animals safe, comfortable and secure for extended periods, necessitating returning to the shelter after every pick up. City of Vaughan fleer manager Don Eta explains. “ Animal Services recently enhanced its service to ensure a safe community for pets and their owners. With the change, the department identified that they required a more productive and robust unit, that would enable a humane and more efficient transport of animals handled in the field. We had some specific performance requirements the vehicle needed to be spec’d for. It had to be able to transport multiple animals -separated by purpose built climate controlled compartments that were configurable and easy to clean. It needed on board batteries and idle technology, to reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions while enabling staff to stay in the field longer, while ensuring animal safety and comfort. Cab design needed to be larger for driver comfort and ergonomics, facilitating the amount of work needed to be done in the cab.”

Armed with a list of performance requirements, Vaughan chose Ford F-150’s to be foundational vehicle for the job. When it came to the other equipment, Eta knew where to turn. “We used Grip idle for one of our Hydrovac trucks, a Backflow prevention Field Inspection unit and a roll off dump truck. As well, I led a similar implementation at Toronto Hydro on cube vans used for day long field use. We used Grip idle’s management system then and it was very effective at reducing fuel use, cost and GHG’s during  the course of a work shift so I was familiar with the technology. Grip idle’s system is plug and play, fully integrating with a vehicles engine computer.It’s designed to reduce idling, it manages shore and on-board batteries, managing the supply of power to on-board equipment and accessories when the engine isn’t running, and provides scheduled pre-heating of the passenger cab to minimize warm up events. Importantly for us, it also collects and stores related idle control performance data for analysis.”

The City of Vaughan’s animal services vehicle needs aligned with the objectives most customers want when considering and idle reduction program. Grip idle’s Andrew Pontiff explains. “  Though there are a variety of use cases for implementing the GRIP System, customers are typically looking to meet sustainability/legislative compliance, significantly reduce operational costs and to provide a unique solution to a complex problem without impacting the operator’s day (or use task). Interestingly, while fleets want to reduce idling, many are unaware of other  impacts of unnecessary idling. Work vehicles under load consume a significant amount of fuel and have the associated emissions.  As such, the potential for significant fuel savings is not always obvious. Moreover, one hour of idling is equal to 53km of road mileage. This ‘ghost mileage’ contributes to substantial maintenance costs. An added benefit of reducing ‘ghost mileage’ is the extension of a vehicle's warranty and increasing the asset life. The monitoring and reporting capabilities of the GRIP system also help to increase operational readiness and vehicle availability by ensuring batteries are properly charged. In a cold climate country like Canada, the ability to maintain the engine and cabin temperature is also significant. GRIP isn’t just an idle reduction technology, it can be the central nervous system to tie the vehicle into all its equipment, ensuring safe operation of the vehicle, including controlling lighting systems, maintaining safety systems, airbags, and much more. It also manages front and rear climate, aerial functions, communications, and auxiliary components, such as fuel-fired heaters and air conditioning systems.” Fleet operators can be cautious about employing aftermarket solutions that may affect OEM warranty coverage. Pontriff allay’s these concerns. “GRIP’s idle reduction technology is 100% OEM compliant and does not void any OEM warranties. In fact, by reducing engine hours we positively contribute to a Fleet’s warranty coverage. Cummins is the largest engine supplier to heavy vehicles and GRIP is the only technology they have endorsed for idle reduction.”

Apart from creating a safe and secure environment for driver and animals alike, employing the Grip idle solution  generates some significant fuel and maintenance savings. “Savings are proportional to the amount of Idling the vehicle is seeing. GRIP will typically deliver a 35-50% reduction in idling. This can be linked directly to fuel savings. In our experience, the savings realized in maintenance costs are generally higher than the fuel savings. Maintenance savings are linked to the engine and exhaust systems and include fewer oil changes, engine changes/replacements, filters, spark plugs, exhaust systems, and more. After Treatment Systems service and replacement on diesel engines can be particularly costly. The reduction in engine wear and tear also significantly extends the life of the vehicle by 2 years on average.” said Pontriff.

Thus far, Eta has been pleased with the outcome. “In a brief conversation that I had with one of the Animal Services officers, he loves the truck – as it enables him to be out on the road longer, and is significantly more comfortable for both him and the animals.  In asking him about the idle management system, he mentioned that he doesn’t interact with the unit, and doesn’t touch it.  It cycles on and off; but, is more or less ‘invisible’ to him – which is also positive.   Talking to the supervisor, he also advised that he is happy with the capabilities of the unit, and that they discovered an interesting use case that allows them to keep animals that cannot be brought in to a shelter, in an idle controlled unit set to anti-theft mode for an extended period of time. As a result of the confidence, Eta is expanding the program. “We   are awaiting the delivery of two additional Animal Services vehicles with the  system installed.  As our AVL reports come online, we will also be looking for other candidates Grip idle will work on.”

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