ACT Expo 2022 Live Blog: Day 1

ACT Expo 2022 Live Blog: Day 1

ACT Expo is back, and bigger than ever. That’s not marketing talk, that’s numbers. Attendance has ballooned by 60% compared to last year. Attendance is up to 6,000 people and counting. “Clearly a reflection of what’s going on in the industry,” said Erik Neandross, chief executive officer, Gladstein, Neandross & Associates, owners of the show. The numerous zero-emissions vehicles, technology and services headlines would confirm it.

Here’s what is happening at the show, as it happens. Stay tuned to the site all week for live coverage from ACT Expo. Lets get it started.

The state of sustainable fleets

The annual State of Sustainable Fleets Report aims to answer the biggest questions surrounding zero- and lower-emissions vehicles. Here’s who’s on stage:

• Drew Cullen, Senior Vice President – Fuels and Facility Services, Penske Transportation Solutions;
• Mary Aufdemberg, General Manager of Product Strategy and Market Development, Daimler Truck North America; and
• Carlos Maurer, Executive Vice President, Sectors and Decarbonisation, Shell.

The big takeaway is: Battery electric vehicle demand is ramping up despite supply chain delays and persistently high costs.

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Additional findings include:

• Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles edge closer to reality, with grant-awarded vehicles and planned stations more than doubling.
• Renewable diesel and renewable natural gas experience record growth with support from clean fuel programs.
• CNG and propane no longer need funding for adoption, though still benefit from incentives.

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Aufdemberg, Cullen and Maurer discussed the finding and trends. Here are a few of the coolest quote-ables from the panels.

Aufdemberg: “Every year the report comes out, I always hope that it tells us what the power answer will be. We’re not at the Easy button yet. That’s because of the complications of our industry. There are a lot of options out there that we have to be actively involved in pursuing. …

It feels slow and there are a lots of barriers we have to breakdown, but if you look back two or three years, it’s tremendous how many vehicles are about to go into production, particularly in the battery EV space. …

Timing is definitely the challenge of when you start to reach the TCO parity to diesel. We can talk many more hours about infrastructure, but then we need scale, battery technology needs to advance and the cost of it has to come down. It’s going to be important that we have incentives, we need to build on top of each other in terms of the technology and the infrastructure.

Maurer: This is an energy transition. It’s going to take time. But the report shows that there’s a lot of action happening in different sectors within the fleets and technologies that the glide path to net-zero is there, but it’s going to take time. …

There are multiple infrastructures for those options that are being developed, whether it’s hydrogen or charging or biodiesel or natural gas. All of those have to work through a price that will allow the end users to make trade offs for the types of fuels they’re going to use for the applications. …

There won’t be one pivot. There will be a thousand little pivots that get us through this transition. At the end of the day what we really do as a fuel provider is choice to our customers. That’s what we’re working on. It’s bound by TCO and what is the cost and what is the use. That’s why we have investments in sustainable fuels.

Cullen: If you’re operating a fleet today, it’s a battle every day, whether it’s drivers, high energy costs, equipment. It’s really hard to start thinking about a rule that’s going to come into play in a couple of years [concerning how X percentage of your fleet has to be zero-emissions]. You have so much going on right now to keep your business running. …

We’re not at the point where we have one clear [fuel] winner. It could be decades until we get there. Our focus is on finding the right application for the customer–the vehicle, the fuel, needs to do the work the customer needs it to do economically and reliably. The trick is figuring out what fits and then getting that infrastructure in place. …

We have to be prepared because things don’t always go to plan. Stuff happens. You have to go into this understanding the risks and how those risks are allocated to the partners and what the impact is to them. You try to mitigate that as much as you can while taking on your own risks. It’s very much about the people involved and the trust you have, and conviction and enthusiasm, that, in our experience, make partnerships come together because everyone wants to get to that common goal.

Keynote address: David Carson, Daimler Truck North America

David Carson, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Daimler Truck North America took to the stage to deliver Monday afternoon’s keynote address. Watch the video of his address below:

The big announcements

The ribbon is cut, the wave attendees crashed upon the shore of zero- and lower-emissions vehicles, technologies and services that is the ACT Expo show floor. Packed booths with lots of conversation. And the press conferences were rolling. Here were a few of the big headlines from this afternoon.

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