Why you should monitor CAN bus data in your eBuses

Top three benefits of a data-centred electric fleet operation

There is more information available in your electric bus than displayed on the bus dashboard. Speed, odometer, and battery state of charge (SOC) are just a few pieces of information. You can greatly improve your operations by using the data sent over the CAN bus*.

Here are some examples of parameters you can read from the CAN bus:

  • Detailed battery information (voltage and temperature up to cell level)
  • Accelerator and brake pedal position
  • Diagnostic messages (DM1)
  • Dashboard warning and errors
  • HVAC information
  • Door information
  • And much more…

Putting your data to work will result in improved operations, more transparency with your supplier and better-scheduled maintenance. Therefore, it’s very important to agree with your OEM on which data is available to you. Keep in mind that this data is not shared by default by OEMs, so the earlier you ask for it, the higher the chances you will get access to it. We recommend including these parameters as early as in your tender documentation.

Here are the three main benefits of monitoring the right data on the CAN line:

Improved operations

When first deploying electric buses, one challenge most operators encounter is range anxiety. Simply put, you don’t know whether your bus will make the next route. To play it safe, you might even consider exchanging one bus for another, which would mean you end up needing more buses to complete your routes.

But there’s a much more efficient way. The answer lies in – you guessed it – your data. Having access to information such as accurate range forecasts, live vehicle status and location details, unnecessary idling data and charger status is essential for a smooth operation. With visibility into consumption, vehicle location, remaining battery range and which chargers are available, you are in full control of your operation. You can check your buses’ performance in real-time, utilise them optimally and prevent unwanted issues.

Transparency regarding warranty

When purchasing your eBuses, your OEM provides a warranty contract stating, among others, the maximum battery degradation reached by the end of that contract. The agreement often

refers to preconditions that must be met, including ones that cover battery temperatures, state of charge, energy used, or full charge cycles.

Having this information available for both OEM and operator means a high level of transparency. Both parties can actively monitor the state of the buses and receive alerts whenever limits are exceeded.

Smarter maintenance

To make sure your eBuses are running smoothly and safely, it’s important to keep up the maintenance. This is often done by inspecting the vehicle before it goes on the route, and by checking its lights, coolant and engine oil levels, among others. This leads to a lot of paperwork for the maintenance team and is prone to human errors.

Another method of maintenance is based on the odometer of the bus. This is a very static approach and buses might be too late for maintenance, leading to unnecessary costs. Using real-time data, you can reduce maintenance costs as you don’t have to physically check the bus’s vital functions before the route. Moreover, you can base your maintenance on the actual performance of your bus.

The parameters on your bus can be used to set up proactive alerts for maintenance, while fault codes can help you identify active issues on your bus. This data will also support you on the SLA you might have with your OEM regarding maintenance on bus parts.

Curious to learn more about electrifying bus fleets the right way? We put together a free whitepaper for you. Get it here.

Get in touch

Over the last 8 years, we have collaborated with over 200 bus operators and vehicle manufacturers, and we have compiled extremely detailed CAN parameter lists. We have over

100 unique parameters for every bus type. If you would like to receive this list, please send us an email at reports@chargepoint.com .

*CAN (Controller Area Network) consists of the electrical wires that help transmit all the information in an electric bus.