It's about planning

Last month's Alternative Clean Transportation Expo focused the industry's attention on the variety of alternative power solutions available today. Speakers at the Expo, held in Long Beach, CA, particularly focused on the need to form partnerships to meet the challenges of clean power success. One of the key elements for success in alternative fuel vehicles is partnerships. You won't be successful

Last month's Alternative Clean Transportation Expo focused the industry's attention on the variety of alternative power solutions available today. Speakers at the Expo, held in Long Beach, CA, particularly focused on the need to form partnerships to meet the challenges of clean power success.

“One of the key elements for success in alternative fuel vehicles is partnerships. You won't be successful if you try to go it alone,” said Tony Orta, asset manager-fleet services, for Southern California Gas Co.

Joe Gold, head of fleet engineering for Frito-Lay, shared some of the lessons his company learned in its deployment of alternative fuel vehicles, including all-electric, natural gas and propane vehicles, which Frito-Lay has aggressively pursued.

“Frito-Lay will have over 300 alternative-fuel vehicles by the end of the year,” he told the audience, and the company is committed to their use to help realize a “leave no trace” company-wide goal, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2020.

When it comes to obstacles, Gold echoed some of the issues raised by other presenters, including the need for building out the fueling and support infrastructure and that funding is tied to the often-burdensome grant process; however, these did not appear to dampen his enthusiasm or resolve. To increase the likelihood of success, Gold stressed the importance of forming OEM and supplier partnerships with companies that understand the realities of maintenance, sourcing spare parts, and other operational realities. “You have to build a team with the right competencies,” he said. “Then you have to let others help lead and be a part of it.”

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