Last week I spotted an alternative fuel vehicle in Washington, DC: a hybrid Coca Cola delivery van. According to Coca Cola, this truck, which is one of 700 operating in North America, uses 30% less fuel than its traditional counterpart.
What motivates a company operating more than 200,000 vehicles to consider alternative fuels and drivetrains (i.e. integrating cleantech) into its fleet? At the end of the day, it comes down to lowering operating costs. But there are other factors that are making the switch easier. For one, there are now more choices than ever. Next, fleets are a great market for cleantech. And finally, cities are taking a closer look at emissions and human health – and are encouraging businesses to do their part.
The clean transportation options for fleet managers include natural gas, hybrid vehicles, and hydrogen fuel vehicles. ITM Power, a United Kingdom-based hydrogen electrolysis company, targets fleets. ITM Power has coupled its electrolyzers (which generate hydrogen from water) with solar PV for completely “green” hydrogen fuel for fleets.
With their predictable routes, fleets are an ideal market for alternative fuels and drivetrains. Range anxiety is less of an issue if a vehicle has a fixed route. Fleet operators are also highly conscious of fuel efficiency, since fuel costs represent part of the cost of delivering the product to the customer. In some markets, fuel costs – mainly diesel – are high, volatile, or both. The idea of using less fuel or cheaper fuel is appealing for the bottom line.
Motivated by savings, these fleets are producing benefits that also carry over to society. Lowering emissions of all types makes cities healthier places to live. In order to improve air quality, city governments are sending market signals to firms operating fleets (and to government agencies that operate fleets). The U.S. Department of Energy has been operating the Clean Cities Initiative since 1993. The Initiative, which includes Washington, D.C., has a mission to encourage “alternative transportation deployments.” A similar, global effort is run by the C40, which advises 58 cities globally on how to reduce emissions and improve human health as a result. Twelve cities are targeting transportation as one the key areas for emissions improvements.
Tags: Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Transportation, Fuel Cells, Smart Transportation Practice
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