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On the Road

Watch: Is there a sustainability strategy that will work for your fleet?

David Sickels is the Senior Editor of Fleet Equipment. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

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Nowadays, OEMs seem to be rolling out trucks running off of alternative fuels all the time in the name of sustainability, and many fleets are adopting them. But which alternative-fuel trucks are right for your fleet? Or are you planning to invest in alternative fuels at all?

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Here is a transcript of the video:

Sustainability: What does it really mean for fleets? Does it make good business sense? Or is it just the trendy buzzword of the day?

Nowadays, OEMs seem to be rolling out trucks running off of alternative fuels all the time in the name of sustainability, and fleets are adopting them.

Consider hydrogen trucks for a moment. Prior to 2019, we didn’t hear about them much, and when we did we weren’t even sure if the technology would be truly viable. But, today in early 2021, hydrogen-fueled trucks seem to be all the rage!

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We started to hear the hydrogen fuel buzz growing at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in late 2019. Kenworth had made its partnership with Toyota to pursue hydrogen technology earlier that year, and several OEMs, including Daimler Trucks North America and Cummins, were giving talks on hydrogen truck development.

Now look how far the hydrogen fuel talk has come just in the past year. Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group just finalized an agreement they made in April 2020 to establish a new joint venture to develop, produce and commercialize fuel cell systems for heavy-duty vehicle applications. In October, Hino announced its own hydrogen truck initiative. In November, Cummins and Navistar announced that they will work together on the development of a Class 8 truck powered by hydrogen fuel cells. And 2021 kicked off with Navistar announcing a partnership with General Motors and OneH2 to bring a long-haul hydrogen truck to market.

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All of this is happening while electric truck orders are opening, and the industry waits to see how fully electric truck technology will be adopted by the fleet market.

Five years ago, electrification didn’t quite make the same business sense it does today. The technology was still getting to the point where it made good business sense as well as environmental sense. But today, the way things are trending, it’s likely both of these more sustainable technologies are going to have a place in the fleet business world.

The light commercial vehicle market and regional applications will be great for electrification because of the range of that equipment. When it comes to long haul trucks, well, electrification might not always be the right fit due to the range of those vehicles, but if you look at a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, its range is much more similar to a diesel engine. Of course, the infrastructure is not yet there to support this technology nationwide, and that’s a whole new conversation.

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You are no doubt following the news on sustainability efforts closely, because knowing when to make the switch to a new, sustainable technology, or whether your fleet should switch at all, isn’t easy yet. Maybe you’re sticking it out with diesel fuel and are working to lower emissions and better your fuel economy. Or maybe you’re starting to invest in electric vehicles. Maybe you have your eye on other alternative fuels or maybe you’re hedging your bets and adopting an integrated energy management approach—a comprehensive strategy that considers all available fuel sources and adopts any and all options that best meets your needs all at once.

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Steve Klein, senior manager of marketing at Renewable Energy Group, has a lot to say on this strategy, words which he shared with Fleet Equipment in our newly-available Sustainability Guide, available to download for free.

Check it out if you’re interested in learning more about integrated energy management, lowering your carbon footprint, if you want tips on integrating new sustainable technologies into your fleet, and a lot more. You can give it a read by using the link below.

Download Fleet Equipment’s Sustainability Guide here.

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