Each May, fleets from across North America convene at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo to learn about the policies, trends and technologies shaping the future of transportation. With a focus on peer-to-peer learning, fleet managers—from package-delivery services to neighborhood utilities, waste disposal fleets, long-haul carriers, and more—share how they determine which technologies and efficiency measures offer the greatest advantage for their unique operations based on paid miles, routes and logistics, refueling accessibility, grant funding, and maintenance costs.
ACT Expo demonstrated the incredible momentum taking place across all corners of the transportation industry to lessen dependence on traditional fuels, improve air quality, and mitigate our impact on climate change. In fact, alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technology offerings have grown precipitously, despite the lingering decline in oil prices (which history has proven won’t last long).
Core themes that emerged from ACT Expo 2016 include the following:
◗ Corporate sustainability is becoming a leading factor in driving fleets to adopt AFVs, more so than fuel cost savings. This was recently demonstrated when 154 U.S. corporations committed to reducing their emissions and increasing investments in low-carbon solutions as part of President Obama’s American Business Act of Climate Pledge. Additionally, the We Mean Business Coalition of 368 companies (representing $7.8 trillion in total revenue) has made more than 900 bold commitments to climate action.
◗ Cities are pioneering emissions reduction measures in their municipal fleets, recognizing that transportation is the fastest growing source of carbon dioxide in the world. At ACT Expo, attendees heard from the nation’s foremost public sector transportation leaders who are moving the needle on advanced clean vehicle technology planning and deployment, including representatives from Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, and New York City.
◗ Fuel options have changed as we are seeing the development, delivery, and actual results from battery electric vehicles across a variety of applications, from passenger vehicles, to buses, and to trucks.
◗ Technology is rapidly improving, as exemplified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board’s recent certification of the world’s first heavy-duty engine that emits oxides of nitrogen at levels so low they are considered “near-zero,” as well as the commercialization of Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered Mirai sedan.
◗ Automation and connectivity are becoming increasingly popular ideas, as evidenced by the burgeoning development and offerings of autonomous and connected vehicles, car sharing services, delivery drones, and more.
◗ Incentives still matter, and government investment is still needed to bring the cost of the advanced vehicle technologies down to incentivize more deployment and to take chances on new technologies.
What does all of this mean for fleets? First, the development and tightening of policies to reduce transportation-related emissions will continue to become more prevalent throughout North America—whether government-led or company-led. This means more fleets will be incentivized or even required to convert to alternative fuels or advanced vehicle technologies in order to improve their transportation emissions profile. And second, fleets will have more options than ever before to get there with more factors to consider and analyze before making that choice.
Mark your calendar to join us May 1-4, 2017, at ACT Expo in Southern California where we will continue this important conversation.