It’s January. I’m not sure where you live, dear reader, but I am cold. I do not like to be cold, and I refuse to wear warmer clothes, so instead I crank up the heat in my home and crank up the cost of my energy bills. As my wallet years for a break, I hear it meagerly cry “why… why can’t you be more energy efficient?!” And as I was staring the last morsel of my sanity in the face, eye-to-eye at the end of my rope, conversing with sentient leather, it hit me: energy efficiency is a great topic for Fleet Equipment’s first five truck trend takeaways of 2024!
5) The times they are a-changin’
Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week is one of the biggest events in our industry, and Fleet Equipment was there. With a laundry list of speakers, and more displays than you can shake a stick at (as stick-shaking is grounds for removal), there was a lot to take in at this year’s conference. Many topics pointed toward energy efficiency and zero-emissions goals. In this presentation, Derek Kaufman, managing partner with Schwartz Advisors, explains how the future of powertrains is going to significant increase in the use of alternative fuels over the next 25 years. As Jason Morgan, our Director of Content, writes: “The future powertrain presentation given by Kaufman… has to be the most detailed, well-thought-out and cohesive forecasts for how the trucking industry could decarbonize through a mix of powertrain technologies that I’ve seen. And it’s wild.”
4) Shops brace for the impact of EVs
Alternative fuels and commercial EVs are coming, and so will the need to service those vehicles safely. In our On the Road series, we look at some of the challenges shops and technicians will need to ready themselves for.
Additionally, I’ve included a bonus sixth article which shows a concept lift by BendPak, designed around removing or placing heavy batteries into EVs. This is just an example of the investments that shops will need to make to keep up with the Joneses – I mean joltses. Jouleses?
3) Avoiding EVs and alternative fuel trucks becoming bitter bill
Embracing an electric (or hydrogen, or biodiesel, etc.) future will not be an easy switch, and it will not happen in isolation inside your fleet or shop. It is going to take a massive infrastructure push to adopt a charging / refueling network dense enough to meet demands of all the trucks on the road. That doesn’t mean you won’t need to have charging solutions of your own. And if there are two words that fleet equipment managers here when you discuss zero-emissions technology, they are “cha” and “ching.” In this article we speak with experts to learn how you can navigate the frightening financials.
2) Forget the future, I want to save money now!
Let’s take a brief respite from the wondrous and woeful future of fleet. After all, saving money is always a goal for businesses and Fleet Equipment editors, alike.
Much like fighting through a crowded big-box store to get free samples, can buying your shops essential parts add some space to your bottom line? We sat down with the fine folks at FleetPride to see if switching your ordering strategy is a smart move.
1) A new truck hits headlines
This was a big one: Volvo released its new VNL line of trucks, claiming it was “designed to change everything” and is a “quantum leap forward” from the last generation. The changes come with a large focus on saving energy, with Volvo estimating the trucks are up to 10% more efficient than the previous VNL models. The trucks are also laden with active and passive safety technologies to protect people both in and out of the cab. Volvo also says this will be the same platform that they build their long-haul trucking future on, for any alternative fuel or EV avenue they go down.
In this Q&A session, Volvo delved into the details of their design, and even said one feature will not be making the leap into the new generation of trucks.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time I do what’s right for my wallet, and the planet, and go find a blanket to hibernate under until the sun returns.