Nikon Pictures Themselves as Socially Responsible with Ecodriving Measures

Nikon is clearly a responsible company.  They seem to have a real focus on social responsibility which can be seen  in their attempts to reduce the carbon footprint of their distribution network.

How are they doing it? 

Well, they started the same way many companies do.  They looked at the carbon output that their company was responsible for, and decided that a call-to-action and a corporate move to reduce that carbon output made environmental sense and corporate responsibility sense.

To help make their strategy become a reality, they took some obvious first steps. They bought vehicles that had some potential fuel reduction and carbon reduction abilities.  They started using telematics as a means to track carbon output and also make drivers aware of their action.

They even looked at decreasing truck usage and increasing rail usage as a distribution means.

And finally, they embraced the ideas and concepts of ecodriving.  They decided to take on the toughest of all tasks in the carbon footprint and fuel usage reduction scheme – changing driver behavior.  They helped their drivers to realize that idling just wastes fuel and dumps carbon into the atmosphere. That accelerating aggressively up to a red light light just so that you can stop quicker does not help you get to your destination any faster and ends up creating more pollution.

How did it work out for them?

Well, they succeeded! And in a big way.

From 2007 to 2013, they recorded a reduction in carbon output in Japan from 2,350 tons of carbon in ’07 to 1,835 tons in ’13.

So, Nikon’s actions just prove, that if you focus on the basics of ecodriving, for whatever reasons you have – reduced fuel use, saving money, reducing carbon footprint, safety, social and corporate responsibility – the potential for success can quickly become a reality.

Ecodriving – it works.

 

 

 

 

 

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Looking Ahead and Thinking Ahead to Save Fuel and Money

For those of you that have an even passing interest in the concept of ecodriving, the idea of anticipatory driving should be part and parcel of your thought process when trying to save fuel.

Reading intersections, looking at traffic flow, planning routes, keeping an eye on weather – these are all pretty obvious types of anticipatory driving – both in and out of the vehicle.

Sometimes though, anticipating what your fuel costs will be affected by isn’t the  easiest thing in the world to track. But, it can have a lot to do with what is going on around the world itself.

Let’s say, for example, that for some reason, our access to fuel at a stable price is suddenly disrupted.  We can be pretty sure that if there is something that affects that flow of fuel, either potential or actual, we are going to see a spike in prices and perhaps even a reduction in accessibility to that commodity.

Whether we are looking at price spikes, lack of access or a combination of both, there is a definite commonality – we’ve got to be able to reduce our fuel use.

And that means strategizing quickly with anticipation  as our guide.

As a fleet manager you can form that strategy.  If you have high fuel use tasks on deck in your schedule that can be put off to a later date, do it. You can make sure that your drivers know that prices are likely to spike soon and have them focus on their fuel saving efforts. You can even consider retraining some of your staff in ecodriving techniques – just to make sure that they are fresh on the ideas, and again realize the potential positive effects of their actions behind the wheel.

So, whether it is a crippling earthquake and tsunami that literally makes fuel inaccessible, or a geopolitical uprising in another part of the world that is oil rich, anticipating what the fallout of these situations will be can further concrete your worth as a fleet manager.

Ecodriving – it works. 

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Eocdriving Solutions and City of Yonkers Partner for Successful Pilot Program

Hey, here’s an idea.  Let’s go to New York City, Yonkers to be exact, and teach a bunch of city drivers how to save fuel and be green loving tree huggers. Sounds like a great plan doesn’t it?

Yeah, I didn’t really think so either.  To be honest, the idea downright scared me.  And of course we picked the best week to do this.  Rangers and Kings are in the NHL finals, and a bunch of us west coast based EDS instructors in our cute white shirts are gonna teach these seemingly “set in  their ways” public works managers about driving in the Big Apple.

What could go wrong?

Actually, not a thing!

It went great. It seriously went great. We taught, they learned and the results were phenomenal.

So, how did this happen? Well, first off, let me tell you that the City of Yonkers, nestled against the Hudson River and lying just north of Manhattan is a beautiful place. Idealic even in many ways. Great food, gorgeous scenery and nice people. Plus, Yonkers is all about sustainability.  Just ask City of Yonkers Sustainability Manager Brad Tito, a young, gregarious and smart-as-a-whip manager who immediately saw the worth of trying to change driver behavior.

Next, came the drivers themselves.  All of them were busy with their daily job duties when they took four hours out of their day to spend with us. So, you’d think that perhaps they would be less than happy.

They were terrific actually. They listened and approached the process with an open mind. And they really seemed to get into the program.

As soon as the drivers showed up to the start of our 7-mile course developed by our company President and CEO Drew Degrassi, we got them in cars and got going. It was all them driving, and us riding.

We did an out-lap of the course, simply encouraging them to drive they way they typically would.

Then, we basically took a page out of the Ford backed study that we did several years ago. We did a short and informative talk about ecodriving theory and genesis, and then went out and did 2 coached laps of the same circuit.

The results – pretty close to what we saw with the Ford study. We saw a 20% fuel savings and of course the associated reduction in carbon output, and only a 10% increase in time to distance overall. In fact some of the drivers actually took less time in their coached laps and got better mileage to boot!

Hopefully the EDS team will get to go back out to Yonkers and put on a full scale show for all of their drivers.  In a city that spends $1.5 million each year for fuel costs alone (not including maintenance or insurance) adopting a proper ecodriving program could easily produce an very quick ROI.

We won’t make tree huggers out of those guys, but we sure will be able to help them save fuel. And money!

Ecodriving – it works

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Ecodriving Solutions hosts NAFA webinar

Ecodriving Solutions facilitators recently hosted an hour-long informative webinar for the National Association of Fleet Administrators.   The webinar was delivered in an attempt to show the attending fleet managers what ecodriving is about.

Ecodriving Solutions has had particular success in teaching the techniques and mindset of the fuel saving and  carbon footprint reducing process of ecodriving, and the participants of the webinar were able to see why.

NAFA is a fleet management association that helps fleet managers across the U.S. develop safety and efficiency practices to further improve their fleets.

We think that the process of ecodriving falls right in line with those ideas!

Ecodriving – it works.

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Ecodriving to Maximize Regenerative Power

Among the many benefits that hybrid and full electric cars provide to consumers is the ability to regenerate some of the energy that is lost in acceleration and use of the throttle in general.

That’s right everyone, regenerative braking and coasting is the closest thing that we can think of to having your cake and eating it too!!!

When you coast or brake in a hybrid or electric car, you actually change the flow of current so that the electric motor which was used to move the car when you pressed the throttle now becomes a generator and converts the car’s motion, or kinetic energy, back into power that can be stored in the battery.

Pretty slick, don’t you think?

We do.

And, it’s hardly new technology or even technology reserved just for us geeky types.

For example, F1, widely considered the pinnacle of motorsport and motorsport technology, uses a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) on all of their current racecars from Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Renault.  Effectively, these positively incredible racecars are hybrids that take full advantage of their ability to regenerate power through braking.  Plus, to achieve the narrowest of competitive edges in this sport of $500 million annual team budgets, race engineers have been able to reach astounding levels of efficiency in regeneration.

These days, owning a hybrid car or a full electric car is akin to owning some of the technology that powers the world’s most capable racecars.

The next question is, how do you put that technology to use, and how to get the biggest bang for spending dollar?

Ecodriving.

More specifically ecodriving that is specific to vehicles that have regenerative braking capability.

Coasting when possible has always been a fundamental part of ecodriving, and it is something that we have talked about  - check it out – but, when we coast in a hybrid or full electric there are some differences to coasting in typical internal combustion only vehicles.

The biggest difference you will feel is the engagement of the generator.  It will feel like increased drag on the car as you coast.  That’s because it is increased drag.  The vehicle is in the process of converting some of the energy that you used to accelerate in the firs place, back in to electrical energy for the battery.

What that means to you as a driver, is that you need to be especially aware of your surroundings and take advantage of coasting opportunities whenever possible.  Those opportunities can really pay off in the long and short runs.

The other area of regeneration that can be made more efficient is the process of braking.  When you can, you want to be able to brake lightly and evenly to ensure that you are getting as much of that transfer of kinetic energy into electrical energy as possible.

Hard, late braking does not allow the generator to harness as much of that kinetic energy, and ends up releasing much of that energy in heat – a wasted by product.

Bummer.

Driven properly, hyrbid and electric vehicles provide all kinds of opportunities to keep recycling your energy and making the monthly payments for the car, worth it!

Oh, and don’t forget to take another slice of that cake!!

Ecodriving – it works.

 

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The Black and White Facts of “Green” Electric Cars

So, there are many opinions out there on the viability and credibility of electric cars.  But, what are the facts.  I mean, just how truly “green” are electric cars?  We all know that they can’t be totally green, because the production of electrical energy is going to form some type of carbon footprint.  As will the production of the vehicle itself and the eventual disposal of the batteries.

But what are the variables?

What are the facts?

Check out this white paper written by Lindsay Wilson of Shades of Green.  He really shows what the variables are in energy production and how that effects the “greeness” as it were, of electric cars.

At their worst, electric cars produce the same carbon footprint as petrol powered cars, assuming they are driven the same way.

On the other hand, when using energy that is produced in a “green” fashion, such as through hydroelectric plants, the reduction in carbon footprint when compared to a gasoline powered car is on the order of 75%.

So, those are the facts in terms of getting the energy to the car. And, these facts should come as no real surprise.

But, once you have the energy stored in your electric car, it now becomes your responsibility to continue that “green” effect.

Ecodriving is what we’re talking about.  Reducing the total amount of energy that you use to from point A to point B.  Which means needing less energy when you go to plug in.  Which means you’ve done your part to reduce that carbon output and to increase what stays in your wallet.

Ecodriving is what ties the entire process together.

Want to learn more?  Check out our site or give us a call.  We can show you some of the nuances of what ecodriving is all about.

Eocdriving – it works.

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Phoenix GoGreen13 Conference – Sustainability in the Sun

Ecodriving Solutions trainers were at the recently held Go Green13 Phoenix conference in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.

 

For those of you that don’t know, Phoenix is striving to be the greenest city in the U.S..  The solar panels that do double duty in parking lots as sunshades for parked cars and providers of energy for the city itself are everywhere, and are testament to the 300 plus days of sunshine in Valley of the Sun as well as a true desire by the powers that be to get their city-running-power cleanly.

At this year’s conference, which is presented by the ASU Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative (yes, that is Rob and Melanie Walton of Walmart fame), Ford Motor Company provided free test drives in some of their new hybrids and electric cars.

The cars were there to give people an idea of how far hybrid technology has come, and how transparent an all electric car can be.  The cars also were able to dispel some of the myths surrounded just what an electric car can do.

On tap were the Ford C-Max Energi plug in hybrid, the Ford Fusion Energi plug in hybrid, and the all electric Ford Focus.

Talk about cool machines.  The Energi plug in hybrids allow you to conceivably drive without ever having to put fuel in your car again.  Plus, they take away some of the so-called “range anxiety” that some people have when driving an all electric.

Of course, how you drive the car will ultimately determine whether or not you are able to operate the C-Max or Fusion in Energi battery only mode, or if you will need to use the hybrid batter/gas engine combination.  Ecodriving techniques make a big difference here.

Driven properly, the C-Max can go up to 75 miles in all electric mode, and can reach a staggering 600 mile range with Energi, hybrid battery and gasoline engine power.

Pretty slick stuff.  Plus, there are a variety of ways to “teach” the car how and when you want it to be charged.

Again though, getting the most out of the machine is based on how you drive it.

The Focus all electric has a range of roughly 75 miles, although we were able to get closer to 95 out of the particular car that we drove.

The coolest thing about the all electric Focus, other than its real time lack of emissions (of course producing electricity to power the car in the first place leaves a carbon footprint of its own) is the fact that it doesn’t feel like an all electric car.

It feels  more like  a… Ford Focus!  Which of course, it is.

And, when you want it to, the thing scoots.

Of course while drag racing every hopped up Honda Civic and Subaru out there might get you some great street cred for having a “cool” electric car, it won’t get you very far down the road.

Which means that Ecodriving can be just as effective, if not more, in an electric car than a petrol or fuel powered vehicle.

More on that in another post.

For now, suffice it to say that Phoenix is looking clean and green these days, and Ford is looking to be the same!

Ecodriving – it works.

 

 

 

 

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The Ecodriving Balance

Ecodriving is the process of using a few common sense driving tips to help you and your fleet drivers to be more fuel efficient. Done properly and consistently, they can help fleets save some serious money in fuel.

Just check out some of the other posts in this blog to see success stories from around the world, where trucking fleets have saved over 7% in their annual fuel bills.

The success that these fleets have seen comes not only from understanding what Ecodriving can do, but also understanding when it makes the most sense.

Ultimately, Ecodriving is based on the concept of trying to achieve three basic goals -

  1. Saving money on fuel and consumables
  2. Reducing carbon footprint
  3. Allowing for less stressful, more comfortable, and ultimately safer driving situations

Good Ecodrivers realize that these goals are interrelated to form a balance. There is anapplicability to the process  - a series of common sense limits.

For example, while turning off the air-conditioning has been shown to reduce load on the engine and save fuel, it doesn’t always make sense to turn off that cooling.  A driver that is in 100 degree plus heat without air-conditioning and is stuck in traffic is likely to become irritable with their situation and even resentful of the process. Such feelings increase stress and may even lead to the driver exhibiting that stress by driving harder, thereby negating the advantage of turning off the air in the first place.

Plus, it just doesn’t make much sense.

Another example revolves around the biggest source of fuel consumption  - acceleration.

We know that the more moderately we accelerate, the more fuel efficient we will be.  But, there must be a balance.  Accelerating too moderately on a freeway on-ramp, or not using brisk acceleration when needed to get out of a dangerous situation is simply unsafe.

Does it save fuel?

Sure.

Does it make sense?

No.

Remember, there is balance and there is applicability. And with these ideas in mind there is the potential for real fleet fuel savings success, a reduced carbon footprint, a lower annual operating bottom line, and a safer, happier fleet of drivers.

Want to learn more?

Check out the rest of the Ecodriving Solutions website and take our demo.  You will see two things right away.

Balance is key,

and…

Ecodriving – it works.

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How Metrics can Enhance Ecodriving Success

With fuel prices ebbing and surging, the impact on businesses large and small is becoming profound.  As a result, fleet managers and trucking company owners nationwide are paying particular attention to various means of measuring fuel usage and driver behavior.

 

Certainly, measurement of fuel usage, and other metrics provided by these instruments are tremendous new tools available to maintain a higher level of efficiency within your fleet, and there are some excellent measurement systems available to help further refine that efficiency.

While these instruments provide important information to both the fleet managers and drivers, it is only part of the story, however.   Using less fuel means, in almost every case, changing how the driver drives the rig…changing driver behavior and techniques in short.

So measurement needs a teammate in the battle against rising fuel costs and in the challenge of changing that driving behavior.  The perfect partner to join the fuel savings fray is targeted driver training on techniques called Ecodriving.

Ecodriving can also let you turn that challenge on your drivers, and in so doing, will allow you a level of sustainability.  As drivers learn how to Ecodrive and can see the results of their efforts gauged in measurement, the refinement of technique becomes a self-evolving process.

The more they work at it, the more they want to work at it.

The bottom line is that measurement and technique will work together and you end up the winner of the fuel usage game.

Ecodriving – it works!

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When One Really is Enough

At Ecodriving Solutions, we are hardly the only people who think about the best ways to try and safe fuel and the environment.  Although we focus on actual behind the wheel driver behavior as one of the fundamental ways to ease our collective affect on the environment and our wallets, out of the car choices are equally important.

For example, does owning multiple cars in a family really make sense?  Its actually kind of a tough question to answer if you really are concerned about bottom line budgets and total carbon emissions.

Luckily, blogger Ryan Harrison has some neatly packaged and smart tips to help you answer that question and then take the steps to be financially and environmentally responsible.  Check out his latest article below -

 

Be Green and Save Green by Becoming a One-Car Family

 

Byline: Ryan Harrison Ryan is a dad of two who blogs about finding the best deals, family budgeting and frugal living.

 

All that horsepower sitting in your driveway is eating a substantial amount of green each year. According to a 2013 AAA report, the average cost of owning and operating a typical sedan-sized vehicle is $9,122. So if your family is searching for a quick way to save nearly $10,000 a year, getting rid of a vehicle may be the cost-cutting answer you’ve been looking for. By becoming a one-vehicle family, you will be forced to carpool more often, to combine trips or to use other forms of transportation, which means you also will be reducing your carbon footprint.

Choosing Your One and Only

Of course, if you are serious about becoming a single-car family for both financial and ecological reasons, you need to choose your one and only vehicle carefully. Ideally, your automobile should not only be a great value for your dollar, but it also should be fuel efficient and reliable. Don’t fret if you can’t afford a new vehicle that fits these criteria. Purchasing a good used auto with low mileage will be a better deal in the long run since new vehicles typically lose as much as 25 to 30 percent of their value in their first year.

Before shopping for a pre-owned vehicle, make sure to consult the used car section on Kelley Blue Book. The better informed you are about prices and options, the more likely you will be to strike a good deal on a used vehicle when you hit the dealerships.

Options for When You Need a Vehicle

One of the biggest fears for families downsizing to a single vehicle is that they could be stuck in a pinch—that their one and only automobile will break down or will be miles away when someone desperately needs the vehicle. Fortunately, there are a number of options available for those days when you just have to have an extra set of wheels.

  • mytaxi: With mytaxi, you no longer have to stand on a corner and hope to hail a cab. This app allows you to call and pay for a cab via your smartphone and is currently available in a number of cities in the United States.
  • Uber: This app is similar to mytaxi, except that it also can connect you with luxury town cars and economy vehicles as well as cabs. Uber service is currently available in many large cities in the United States.
  • Bikeshare: Maybe you don’t really need a car, but just a set of wheels to get you from one part of the city to another. For those times, Bikeshare may be the answer. Bikeshare is currently available in a few large cities in the United States but its popularity is growing. With Bikeshare, you can rent a bike from one station and then return it to another one near your final destination.
  • Zipcar: Members of this popular and convenient program can rent a vehicle by the hour or by the day. All you have to do is sign up and, if approved, you will then receive a little card that will allow you to unlock reserved Zipcars located near you. Once you are done using a Zipcar, you just return it to the parking space where you picked it up from.
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