UFP Magazine

Sean M. Lyden

The State of Electrified Pickup Trucks in the North American Market

The State of Electrified Pickup Trucks in the North American Market

While a growing number of utility fleets are purchasing electrified passenger cars – like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf – and bucket trucks with plug-in electric power takeoff capabilities, one vehicle segment still seems out of reach for electrification for most fleets: light-duty pickup trucks.

But there have been some new developments in this space that could have important implications for utility fleets. Workhorse Group says that it will unveil a concept electric truck this May at the ACT Expo in Long Beach, Calif. Earlier this year, Ford announced that it would offer a plug-in hybrid-electric version of the F-150 pickup. And XL Hybrids recently introduced a plug-in hybrid system designed for half-ton pickups.

So, what exactly are the prospects for electrified pickup trucks in North America? What are some of the key challenges to widespread fleet adoption? And when can we expect electrified pickups to become more cost-competitive with conventional-fueled trucks?

UFP recently spoke with Scott Shepard, senior research analyst with global market research and consulting firm Navigant Research (www.navigantresearch.com), to get his outlook.

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Sean M. Lyden

Could Cutting the Cord Accelerate Electric Vehicle Growth?

Could Cutting the Cord Accelerate Electric Vehicle Growth?

If your fleet operates plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) – or is planning to do so – there’s an emerging technology you’ll want to put on your radar that could impact your vehicle selection and charging infrastructure decisions within the next year or two.

It’s wireless EV charging, which proponents believe holds the key to widespread transportation electrification.

That’s because one of the friction points of operating EVs is the inconvenience of charging with a conventional cord and plug-in system, said David Schatz, vice president of business development and sales for WiTricity (http://witricity.com), a firm that develops wireless charging systems for EVs, headquartered in Watertown, Mass.

Schatz cites a major automaker’s internal study that found that 70 percent of all plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) owners never plug in and opt for fueling only with gas because of the “inconvenience” of plugging in their vehicle.

The idea here is that if you cut the cord, you make EV charging more acceptable to a larger market because you’re not forcing users to change their behavior. “PHEV and EV drivers simply park over a charging pad in their garage, or at work, or at a shopping center and charge up with no hands, no effort,” Schatz said.

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Grace Suizo

How Plug-In Hybrids Impact Vehicle Maintenance

How Plug-In Hybrids Impact Vehicle Maintenance

Utility fleets are leading the way when it comes to the use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles – a growing solution for operations that must work around the clock to provide vital services to the general public.

While going green and convenience are definite pluses, plug-ins also enable significant operational savings over conventional vehicles and typically have longer useful lives, according to the Edison Electric Institute. Extending vehicle life also means lengthening purchase cycles and really getting the most value out of these units.

Fewer Parts Provide More Savings
Part of the value of owning and operating plug-ins is reduced maintenance expenses. Manufacturers and fleets agree that electric-based vehicles have lower maintenance costs due to fewer parts and less engine use. Some manufacturers even purposely design their trucks with that in mind.

VIA Motors (www.viamotors.com), for instance, did away with the transmission, starter motor and alternator in designing its “virtually maintenance-free” single-speed, extended-range electric pickup, according to Jeff Esfeld, VIA’s director of national fleet sales and business development. The company currently installs its technology on GM platforms, specifically the Silverado truck and Express van. Installed components are maintenance-free except for coolant. Any component failure is a plug-and-play replacement.

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Seth Skydel

Electric Vehicle News

EEI-WebSupport Grows for EEI White Paper on Utility Fleets and Electrification
As part of an effort to advance sustainability through fleet adoption of electric vehicles, the Edison Electric Institute has released a white paper, “Transportation Electrification: Utility Fleets Leading the Charge,” that focuses on the electric power industry’s effort to accelerate the expansion of electric transportation in commercial and retail markets, beginning with electric utility fleets.

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Seth Skydel

Green News

ACT-Expo-3-WebACT Expo Highlights
Nearly 200 alternative fuel and clean transportation industry leaders were on hand at the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo in May to present information on key advancements in alternative fuels and clean vehicles, including electric, hybrid, hydrogen, natural gas, propane autogas, clean diesel and renewable fuels technologies.

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Seth Skydel

Green Truck Summit

Isuzu-Green-Truck-Summit-WebThe Green Truck Summit, held in conjunction with The Work Truck Show 2014, provided an opportunity for more than 550 attendees to gather information about innovative clean vehicle technologies, alternative fuel trends and upcoming products. Produced by the NTEA and presented by International Truck, the 2014 Green Truck Summit was opened with a keynote address by Patrick Davis, director, Office of Vehicle Technologies, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy.

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Seth Skydel

Green News

Chevy-Impala1-WebEPA 2014 Renewable Fuel Standards Proposal Reaffirms Commitment to Biofuels
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the levels of renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline and diesel. The proposal for annual volume requirements, developed with input from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture, is required under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 for all motor vehicle gasoline and diesel produced or imported in 2014.

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Seth Skydel

Green News

Green-Fleets-ePTO-Odyne-WebCALSTART and its industry partners have helped pass legislation in California aimed at enhancing short- and long-term funding for clean trucks, buses and cars. These measures that are expected to have a nationwide impact include:
• Assembly Bill (AB) 8 that will extend and expand funding for advanced vehicle and fuel demonstrations and deployments through 2023, for a total of more than $2 billion. The funds will continue and enhance funding of the current AB 118 program demonstration and incentive projects, including the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP).
• Senate bills 95 and 359, which fill a funding gap in the HVIP voucher program for hybrid and electric trucks and buses, and rebates for clean passenger cars for 2014.
Visit www.calstart.org.

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Seth Skydel

Green News

PGE3-WebBills Aim to Equalize LNG Fuel Tax
The LNG Excise Tax Equalization Act of 2013 introduced in the U.S. Senate seeks to equitably tax liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transportation fuel. Similar legislation has also been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Seth Skydel

Green News

Green-Fleets-Summer2-Green-News-WebPurchasing fuel-efficient technology may be one of the best options utility fleets have to reduce costs. Now, significant and easily accessible funding is becoming more readily available.

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Seth Skydel

Green News

Green-Fleets-Green-Truck-Ride--Drive-WebNew product introductions played a significant role at The Work Truck Show 2013, produced by NTEA. This year, more than 120 products made their debut at the event, and many fell into the category of green fuel-saving technologies.

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Seth Skydel

Real-World Solutions: Green Truck Summit 2013

Green-Fleets-Green-Truck-Summit-WebRegistration is now open for the work truck industry’s educational forum on clean vehicle technologies – the Green Truck Summit that kicks off The Work Truck Show 2013.

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Seth Skydel

HTUF Report

Green-Fleets-WebHTUF REPORT
Held in mid-September in Charlotte, N.C., the 11th Annual High-Efficiency Truck Users Forum served again as an educational and networking event for manufacturers, suppliers, fleets and government officials interested in learning the latest about high-efficiency truck technology.

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Seth Skydel

Right Tool for the Right Job

Ford-WebNear-, mid- and long-term alternative fuel technologies are available and under development at Ford Motor Company, reported Jim Michon, truck fleet marketing manager, during a presentation at the 2012 Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference. “In the near term,” he said, “we are migrating to advanced technology. In the midterm we plan full implementation of known technology, and long term we will continue to leverage hybrid technologies and deploy alternative energy sources.”

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Seth Skydel

Advanced Technology

Green-Fleets-WebIt is a case of mutual interests combining resources and expertise, says Matt Gilliland, fleet services manager at Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). “In 2006 to 2007, when Chevrolet was researching and developing the technology it would eventually use in the Chevrolet Volt,” he explained, “the OEM wanted to partner with utility fleets to deploy vehicles and evaluate their performance and function in actual operations.”

The result was an extensive program managed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the nonprofit center for electricity and environmental research, that put demonstration Volt models on the road at 64 U.S. and Canadian utilities. For the three-year demonstration project, which officially began in 2011, NPPD is operating one of those vehicles.

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Seth Skydel

Growing Interest

Green-Fleets-Smith-Electric-WebFeaturing a larger expo hall where a wide range of vehicle systems in or nearing production for electric, plug-in hybrid, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid and work-site electrification were on display, the newly renamed Hybrid, Electric and Advanced Truck Users Forum (HTUF) held its annual meeting in Baltimore this past fall. The 2011 HTUF conference also had very significant participation from hybrid and electric truck manufacturers and suppliers, as well as fleets.

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Seth Skydel

Green Fleet Technologies

eaton-2-webEaton
The developer and manufacturer of hybrid power systems for commercial vehicles, Eaton’s parallel hybrid systems are already in use in many utility fleets. Available through truck manufacturers, the systems include the electric hybrid solution featuring an engine-off power-takeoff (ePTO), and an optional auxiliary power generator and AC power panel for utility, telecom and municipal operations using medium-duty bucket trucks.

The Eaton electric hybrid power system maintains the vehicle’s conventional drivetrain and blends engine torque with electric torque. The system recovers power normally lost during braking and stores the energy in batteries. It can provide ePTO and work site capability for operations needing hydraulic and electric power on job sites. The system is coupled with the vehicle’s engine and Eaton’s UltraShift automated manual transmission and clutch. Between the output side of the clutch and the transmission, the system includes an electric motor/generator that is connected to a power inverter and lithium-ion batteries, and is controlled with an electronic control module.

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Seth Skydel

Changing Landscape

green-fleets-2-webThe landscape for utility fleets is changing again. Earlier this year, the first-ever fuel efficiency and carbon rules for trucks were put in place. Following the process used for light-duty vehicles, the new rules set standards for all on-highway vehicles with GVW ratings above 8,500 pounds. The new rules that will take effect include U.S. Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas regulations beginning with 2014 model year vehicles and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fuel consumption regulations that begin with the 2016 model year.

Under these new regulations, fuel efficiency will rise and carbon emissions will go down for all vehicle classes, including tractors, Class 3 to 8 vocational work trucks, and heavy-duty pickups and vans. Manufacturers are expected to meet the new regulations with both engine and full vehicle technology approaches.

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UFP Staff

Green Fleets

peterbilt-hybridAround the Industry
The National Clean Fleets Partnership, a Department of Energy (DOE) initiative, has set its sights on helping companies reduce diesel and gasoline use in their fleets by incorporating electric vehicles, alternative fuels and other fuel-saving measures into their daily operations. Through the partnership, the DOE will assist in efforts to reduce fuel use and achieve greater efficiency and cost savings by offering specialized resources, technical expertise and support.

Part of the DOE Vehicle Technology Program’s “Clean Cities” initiative, the National Clean Fleets Partnership includes opportunities for technical assistance and collaboration, such as peer-to-peer information exchange, and access to expertise at DOE and national laboratories where related research and development initiatives are underway. Also possible is assistance in pursuing group purchasing so smaller companies realize the benefits of purchasing advanced technology vehicles.

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