Ford E-Series:

Ford Crew Chief Telematics System

0

Telematics System for Vehicle Tracking and Management  Ford is offering the Crew Chief telematics system on its fleet vehicles.  Developed by Telogis, Crew Chief is a GPS-based system designed to monitor vehicle activity and improve efficiency.  The Ford Crew Chief system is available on the F-150, F-Series Super Duty, E-Series, Transit and Transit Connect.

Black Box GPSThe Ford Crew Chief system includes a GPS receiver, or black box, mounted out of the way in the instrument panel.  The GPS tracks the vehicle real-time and converts the data received from the vehicle into a visual dashboard that provides an at-a-glance summary of a commercial fleet’s performance.  Knowing how a vehicle is being driven can help fleet management “counsel” drivers on how to improve their driving style and achieve better efficiency.  When driving and vehicle operation improves, insurance rates can drop.

The Ford Crew Chief system measures a wide array of vehicle attributes.  Measuring these attributes can help fleet management anticipate problems and correct them before a serious mechanical failure might occur.

Some of the attributes measured by Crew Chief include:

•  VIN
•  Oil Life (% remaining)
•  Tire Pressure
•  Diagnostic Trouble Codes
•  Engine Coolant Temperatures
•  Water in Fuel of a Diesel-Powered Vehicle
•  Excessive RPM
•  Safety Belt Usage
•  Air Bag Status
•  Battery Charge
•  Excessive Idling
•  Hard Acceleration/Driving

•  Driver Insurance Expiration Date
•  Driver License Expiration Date

Clearly, the fleet can save a lot of money by reducing the time a vehicle is idling or whether or not the driver is abusing the vehicle by revving the engine unnecesarily, accelerating hard and driving hard.

Can Be Very Big Brother  It might sound like Big Brother, but knowing what the driver is doing and where the vehicle is and has been can be a real advantage in managing a fleet.  Here are some of the features Crew Chief can include:

•  Find the Closest Capable Driver
•  Develop Custom Map Overlays
•  Add a Fuel Efficiency Module
•  Satellite Imagery (helps identify landmarks in mapped locations)
•  Provide Real-Time Alerts
•  Provide Turn-by-Turn Directions
•  Fast Mapping
•  Automated Reports
•  Animated Vehicle History Trails
•  Maintenance Reporting
•  Fleet, Driver and Team Management
•  Search (finds any vehicle, driver, location or tagged group, improving asset utilization and making fleet management more efficient)Ford Crew Chief History Map

•  Speeding Alerts (flags when drivers are over the speed limit.  Can help reduce insurance costs)Ford Crew Chief Speeding

Of course, Ford Crew Chief is not free.  There is a monthly fee for each vehicle of $31.99 for the standard package and $39.99 for the professional package.


Continue Reading

2015 Ford Transit – Conquerer of the White Van Market

0

Once upon a time, I was the design engineer for the advanced vehicle package of the Ford Nantucket program.  Nantucket was the code name of what would become the 1975 Ford Econoline full size van that was to continue in production with moderate updates through 2014 – about 39 years!.  So, it was particularly meaningful to me to accept an invitation by Ford to attend the press preview for the Econoline’s (now “E-Series”) replacement in Kansas City, Missouri – the Ford Transit.2015 Ford Transit Group Shot

Hugely Complex Program –  Lots of Choice  Ford’s One Ford strategy dictates that vehicles be as common as possible around the world.  While the E-Series has been the top selling large van in the USA for years, it was basically a North America only product.  The European Transit van was completely different.  Also, the American E-Series never had the breadth of product choices that the European Transit had.  Now that has changed with the American-made Transit about as complex as the European model.2015 Ford Transit Wagon F34

America has been introduced to the European white van offerings with the European Mercedes-Benz/Freightliner Sprinter van and the Ram Promaster (from Fiat).  So the 2015 Ford Transit may not take the American eye by surprise, but its complexity is near mind blowing.  The 2015 Ford Transit is available in two wheelbases, three roof heights in both cargo van and passenger wagon configurations.  There is even a chassis cab and cutaway available.  What this means is that you can have an empty box, or a high-roof wagon that can seat up to 15 people.  Ford affectionately calls this one the “Jumbo”.2015 Ford Transit Jumbo SV

(General Motors has the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans that are sorely in need of updating.  At present, The General has no vehicles in the USA facing these Euro-style competitors).

Initially, Transit is available with a sliding door on the passenger side of the vehicle.  Later the van version will be available with a sliding door on the driver’s side as well.  Because the second row seat would have to be narrowed to be two passengers only, the passenger version – the Transit wagon – is only available with a passenger side slider.

Maneuverable  The Transit is very easy to drive with outstanding forward visibility through what has to be about the largest windshield in the industry.  Europe-like turning radius makes the Transit very maneuverable in tight spaces.  A tight slow-speed gymkhana course in a Kansas City parking lot helped demonstrate how nimble even the Jumbo was through narrow cone alleys.2015 Ford Transit Cockpit

Wide Powertrain Selection  Power comes from a 275HP/260 lb-ft of torque 3.7L V6, a 310HP/400 lb-ft of torque 3.5L EcoBoost V6, or a 185HP/350 lb-ft of torque 3.2L I5 Power Stroke diesel.  Of the three engines, the EcoBoost V6 has the most punch and is the most fun to drive – as if that is a major attribute a van buyer is looking for.  All engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.  The powertrains in the 2015 Ford Transit get much better fuel economy than the outgoing E-Series; a substantial operating cost savings commercial van operators are looking for.

Can Transit Be Rattle Free?  We have all ridden in vans and shuttles that are consummate rattle traps.  Of course, they probably have a couple hundred thousand miles on them and have been abused for their entire time in service.  And, of course, the vans Ford provided for the press preview had been thoroughly prepped.  The remarkable thing about these vans was how quiet and rattle-free they were.  They were very tight and solid feeling.  It will be interesting to experience one when it hits 100,000 miles.

Navigation Screen Snafu  Okay, I can understand Ford’s rationale that few commercial fleet operators would spring for an in-vehicle navigation system when most of their drivers are equipped with GPS enabled smart phones with Google Maps, but the Transit solution to navigation is Sync with MyFord Touch and a relatively small screen.  Other Ford vehicles have an 8-inch screen and the Transit loses out in comparison.  I know, its a nit-pick, but worthy of mention.

E-Series Continues in Chassis Cab Versions  Probably until the end of the decade, the old Econoline/E-Series will still be available in chassis cab configurations likely for airport shuttle use.  They are built at Ford’s Loraine, Ohio plant.


Continue Reading

Follow VehicleVoice

RSS Feed   Facebook   Twitter

Membership

Join

Recent Winners

Sid P., Washington - $100
Ken G., Nevada - $100
Brad T., Wisconsin - $100
Tom M., Virginia - $100
Kathy F., New Jersey - $100
John M., Massachusetts - $100
Mike M., California - $100
Carol R., Texas - $100
James D., Georgia - $100
Martha B., New Jersey - $100
Kerry B., Pennsylvania - $100

What is VehicleVoice?

About Vehicle Voice