EVs, Alt Fuels, and More Earth Day #Trending Topics

Special thanks to our guest blogger, Joseph Korn, Business Intelligence & Analytics Project Leader, for sharing his sustainability insights in honor of Earth Day!

When you hear about sustainability in the automotive world, are electric vehicles the first thought that pops into your mind? Electric vehicles (EVs) are all the buzz in the auto industry and manufacturers are working harder than ever to design more consumer-efficient EVs that perform without breaking the bank.

But for organizations who are considering EVs for fleet use, the decision goes well beyond styling cues with a myriad of operational and economic factors influencing your strategy. So when it comes to your fleet, when do EVs go from trendy to viable? Are EVs the only alternative vehicles that should be considered? What works best for your sustainability strategy?

Like most fleet decisions, the answer is “it depends.”

Electric opportunities

EVs are much quieter on the road, have no tailpipe emissions, and are very torquey which makes them fun to drive. Also, the performance of the main “traction” batteries are better than originally projected and, for retail, could have a longer than anticipated life cycle.

In the world of light-duty commercial vehicles, more electric options are slated to hit the market within the next 12 to 24 months from OEMs like Ford, Mercedes, and GM. The types of vehicles will range from SUV’s, to half-ton pick-ups to full size cargo vans; all of which have fleet applications. As these new EV options come to market, we anticipate they will become more affordable and clients will become more interested in adopting this technology into their fleet.

When considering any type of EV for your fleet, there are a number of questions you should ask. Some of the more prevalent things to consider are, but not limited to:

· Can an EV carry the same payload as a non EV?

· What is the range of the EV?

· Where will you charge the vehicle?

· Do you have the capacity to install chargers at your location?

· How long will it take the vehicle to charge?

· How do you pay for the charging?

Access to charging infrastructure is one of the most important aspects of owning an electric fleet. If done correctly, EVs can improve air quality and reduce fleet costs. EVs aren’t a fit for everyone, but luckily there are other options to consider such as hybrids and other alternative fuels.

Hybrids

If acquisition cost or range anxiety is leading you to look outside the EV market, hybrids are an excellent option for car fleets. Standard hybrids offer superior fuel economy over

traditional internal combustion engines (ICE), while plug-in hybrids offer EV performance without the charging anxiety. Your drivers can drive longer distances, plus it’s a good fit for those drivers who take advantage of personal use benefits. A plug-in hybrid can be charged in your location, but can also be fueled traditionally or charged at the driver’s home, saving unnecessary miles back and forth to a remote or public charging station. Hybrids are also good fleet investments with historically strong resale values.

Gaseous Alternative Fuels

Compared to passenger vehicles, sustainable options for light, medium, and heavy-duty commercial vehicles are more limited. For years, propane (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) have offered clean burning fuel options for cars, trucks, and vans. These gaseous fuel options can dramatically reduce tail pipe emissions at an affordable price point. These fuels are continually being refined for performance and emissions and are now available in renewable sources, which means the vehicle is “carbon neutral.”

ARI works side-by-side with industry partners to help our customers implement clean burning fuel solutions that reduce their carbon footprint. These partners also help locate grants and other fuel type credits to further balance the total cost of ownership compared to conventional fuels. As a result, we have been able to reduce costs through sustainable solutions for a number of fleets, proving that a green economy can work in our industry.

Given the current cost of a commercial EV, you may be able to add 2 to 3 times the number of CNG or LPG units for every one EV. Compound that with renewable energy and you’re well on your way to reducing pollution or tail pipe emissions. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how much pollution is created by transportation alone, as cities like Los Angeles, London and Rome are seeing significant drops in outdoor air pollution during shelter-in-place regulations.

Build a sustainable fleet strategy, build a better world

Your sustainable strategy will help you tackle the challenge of lowering fleet tailpipe emissions. The solution is simple: burn less traditional fuel on average, or burn an alternative fuel with less carbon. This could simply be moving to smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles, which include hybrids, adopting more EVs, or burning an alternative fuel like LPG or CNG. In the end, less is always more.

Regardless of the technology you choose, adopting alternative fuels into your fleet can feel like an overwhelming process. But when done correctly, the results can not only lower overall CO2 pollution, but potentially help reduce overall costs as well.

When you’re ready, contact your ARI support team to start planning your sustainable fleet future. Happy Earth Day!