Grip Idle

Grip Idle 

By Duncan Curd

The Situation
Police fleets face an uphill battle in balancing conflicting priorities, such as officer safety, officer staffing, operational efficiency, quality of service, and demands to meet legislative or political targets (such as green initiatives). While many of these demands are contradictory, some police fleets have been able to balance and embrace these challenges, resulting in improved fleet operational performance.
Police fleets are under increased pressure to use eco-conscious alternative fuels, hybrid cars, and electric vehicles. This often results in high up-front costs, as well as poses serious challenges and expenses for maintenance staff. As a result of increased vehicle intricacy, new auxiliary equipment, and telematics, the level of technological complexity within fleets is continually increasing. Consequently, the impact on increased operational costs and already strained budgets poses a significant challenge for recruiting and retaining experienced maintenance staff. Fortunately, organizations like NAFA are strong advocates for addressing and supporting these costly and time-consuming challenges. Identifying a fleet’s calculable maintenance repair factors and PM variability aids in assessing these costs and challenges. This vital data allows fleets to identify, analyze, and apply adequate, long-term solutions.

The Insights
One of the most significant factors that contribute to a police fleet’s expensive maintenance and operational costs is a high amount of vehicle idling. While the actual amount of idling may vary between vehicles and their role within a fleet, on average, a police vehicle spends 60 percent of its usage idling (Argonne Labs, 2018). A 3.7L V6 engine will consume almost 0.7 gallons (2.6 L) per hour when idling under load. Because one hour of idling is equivalent to 33 miles (53 km) of road wear (Hendon Media Group, n.d.), that same V6 Engine will emit 19 pounds of CO2 per gallon (or 13.3 pounds per hour) (Natural Resources Canada, 2016). 

The Understanding
Based on this data, it’s evident that idling accounts for the majority of fuel use in police fleets; and more significantly, directly results in significant engine wear and increased maintenance costs. It’s clear that decreasing the amount of idling will reduce fuel consumption and maintenance costs.

The Solution
Introducing a ‘no-idle’ policy would be an ideal solution; however, police fleets require vehicles to remain ‘on’ to ensure the ability for quick actions, active communications equipment, and other electrical systems, such as lighting and sirens to function. In fact, turning the vehicle ‘off’ can create safety risks for the operator, including loss of airbag functionality. All of these items are necessities and operator safety requirements. In addition to those necessities, the vehicle also needs to maintain occupant comfort, health, and safety in a variety of extreme climates. After all, police vehicles have become more of an office environment for the officers, where computers and other equipment have been added and keep them in the vehicles longer than ever. As modern-day policing is continually changing and being challenged from technology (such as cameras), it only intensifies the need to manage all of these requirements.
Ensuring these fundamental requirements for police fleets are met, the GRIP Idle Management System (or Governor to Reduce Idling and Pollution) reduces excessive and unnecessary idling while maintaining vehicle safety and primary functions. The patented GRIP Idle Management System shuts off the engine when it’s idling unnecessarily, and monitors things like climate and battery conditions while maintaining all of the necessary functional and safety requirements. The GRIP System uses the engine’s mass as a source for available heat, and the batteries as a source of power, which is similar to the functionality of a hybrid vehicle; however, without the additional challenges associated with Hybrid technology. The use of an auxiliary coolant pump and an auxiliary battery further enhances the ability of the GRIP system to keep the engine off; this results in additional fuel savings, and a reduction in emissions, and engine wear hours. If a requirement occurs where the engine needs to be running, the GRIP system will automatically start the engine and continue monitoring the vehicle. In fact, new features added to the GRIP system further improve officer safety concerns, such as automatic engine start on re-entering the vehicle, a consideration in a takedown situation. 
If an officer returns to the vehicle quickly, there is no delay in the response to get the vehicle moving. Grip 3.0 also includes a comprehensive anti-theft feature, which allows the officer to remove the keys and secure the vehicle while away from it, all while allowing the engine to autonomously start and stop as required without the threat of vehicle theft.
In today’s rapidly changing technological environment, the most recent iteration of the GRIP Idle Management System addresses key issues faced by police fleets while providing accurate, quantifiable vehicle usage data. Furthermore, the GRIP now utilizes GSM technology to create secure, cloud-based access to vehicle usage data derived directly form the vehicle’s own CAN Bus. Far beyond standard telematics ability to monitor idling, this fleet analytics technology provides fleet managers with near real-time details about their fleet’s idling, idling avoidances, and idling causes. It provides details such as the need to run for heating or cooling, to power auxiliary equipment, to charge batteries (both main and auxiliary), as well as directly calculating fuel savings, CO2 emissions savings, engine hour savings, and much more. With this easy-to-access data readily available, it’s easy to monitor operator compliance, engine run hours for maintenance purposes, and identify potential mechanical issues in advance (such as impending battery failure). In addition to passive data, presented in a clear, easy-to-read dashboard, the GRIP system also allows for important notification and alert messaging.

Case Study
The GRIP Idle Management System has been successfully deployed in multiple police fleets to reduce operational costs. The most noteworthy adopter, the Columbus, Ohio, Police Department, recently became Clean Fleet Certified as a result of the GRIP system’s reduction in their fleet’s emissions. The Columbus Police Department has successfully obtained a 33 percent reduction in idling, which resulted in avoiding 11,419,719 miles of engine wear; 152,263 gallons of fuel saved; and a reduction of 1,355,292 kg of CO2 emissions. This success is not only attributed to the GRIP Idle Management System, but the overwhelming support, engagement, and education adopted by all stakeholders, including officers, maintenance staff, and fleet managers (find out how Fleet Manager Kelly Reagan earned Fleet Manager of the Year by visiting
“Columbus is proud to be on the cutting edge of ‘greening’ our fleets for our first responders, who have embraced the technology in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint on the environment. Columbus Police became recognized as a ‘1 Star’ Clean Cities Fleet for the state of Ohio in 2018, because of our results related to the implementation of GRIP’s anti-idle technology.”
– Kelly Reagan, Fleet Manager, Columbus Police Department
If you’re ready to get a GRIP on your fleet’s performance, the GRIP Idle Management Team has developed a nine-step strategy for successful deployment of their anti-idling technology and a comprehensive Pilot Strategy designed to prove out the benefits to your department. To learn more about the GRIP system and receive a free copy of GRIP’s Police Fleet Information Sheet, please visit

Duncan Curd is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for GRIP Idle Management Inc., and can be reached at or (647) 302-8153. 

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Nov/Dec 2018

Rating : Not Yet Rated

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