How to prepare your heavy fleet for a zero emission transition

Environmental objectives permeate through every industry and logistics is no exception. Currently, macroeconomic factors such as high fuel prices, economic uncertainty and supply chain disruptions are adding to the already complex job of fleet managers. Suppliers of the industry, such as truck manufacturers, are struggling to provide products and services, and the real competition isn’t for the best value for money anymore but who can get you the much-needed product sooner, driving transaction prices up.

Comparatively, customers have increased demand for cheaper, faster and more predictable deliveries to minimise overall costs. These issues are driving internal reviews of operational and financial metrics of fleets as they seek productivity improvements through optimisation. 

At the same time there are technological advancements on several fronts in zero-emissions vehicles appropriate for the industry. Lighter, cheaper and more efficient batteries, faster chargers and fuel cell technology are rapidly reaching commercialisation maturity. Major OEMs have announced the launch of 500+ kWh vehicles that could potentially replace 100+ litres of diesel journeys, and wide availability is expected from 2024 onwards. 

Hydrogen, deemed by some as the future fuel, will play an essential role in decarbonising many industries, long haul included. R&D for most truck manufacturers is still in early phases,  however, and widespread availability isn’t expected until later in the decade, particularly given the challenges with Green Hydrogen production and distribution.

With many pressing short-term challenges, how can heavy fleets prepare for the transition to EVs without consuming scarce bandwidth inside businesses? As the journey to overcome the new-normal challenges and optimise operations, from route planning to asset replacement management, an opportunity presents to baseline and optimise the transition of each asset in your fleet with the following steps:

  1. Create a fleet transition framework
    • Understand the needs of your existing assets as they relate to current alternative fuel technologies. This requires data collection and tracking.
    • Understand your depot infrastructure and garaging requirements. This again requires good data.
    • Use tools such as BetterFleet to establish a suitable platform for analysis for your whole fleet transition – map how and when assets can be transitioned in your replacement cycles and how to ensure there is the appropriate infrastructure to support them.
  1. Engage with OEMs
  2. Do internal stakeholder engagement to create alignment
  3. Look for grants and subsidies to secure early pilots

Knowing where assets sit in the transition pathway to zero emission transport solutions can set operators up for economically optimal and sustainable transition of each asset group ahead of competitors without compromising financial results and the quality of service provided to customers.

Do you want to know more about the right questions to ask your enterprise in preparation for the common goal of a clean transportation future with net zero emissions? Reach you to our team. At Evenergi, we’ve been helping fleets and governments to collect the right information, interpret data and model economic and leadership transition pathways to a carbon-neutral future of people and goods movements using our advisory services and BetterFleet platform.

Zero Emissions Bus Planning – How do we get it right?

10 Top Tips for a Successful Transition

Since the US Government’s commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, transit agencies across North America are focusing on the adoption of zero emissions technology for their fleets.

While this is a must-have for the transportation industry, planning a zero emissions bus network can bring new challenges. A zero emissions fleet requires a shift in procurement, planning, operations and maintenance..

How do we overcome these barriers so that we can reduce the risk and increase financial and environmental benefits?

At Evenergi, 100% of our focus is on the zero emissions transport market. Using our experience with hundreds of clients globally, we’ve identified the following steps for a successful transition.

  1. Approach with a clear mind, without prejudice: The more transitions we’ve done, the more we see that individual context drives different outcomes. Try to stay away from perceived accepted approaches. This is still a new area and individual context in terms of barriers and opportunities matter
  2. Approach your transition systematically: Charging, scheduling, battery-sizing and impact on labor require a systems approach. Each can impact on the other –  charging can impact battery life for example. 
  3. Iterate towards solutions: There are many interdependencies, so be iterative in your approach. 
  4. Data is power: The quality of the transition will relate to the quality of data analytics.
  5. Stakeholder buy-in: Organizational alignment is key in this transition. Work with suppliers who can create a shared understanding, using robust and bankable data. Route level models provide confidence to decision makers and depot emulation provides confidence to operations teams.
  6. Establish protocols and standards before procurement: Focus on being vendor agnostic but understand and demand standards compliance.
  7. Re-evaluate procurement strategies: There are multiple ways to approach procurement, i.e. purchasing assets, financial leasing and operating leases. Find a strategy that works for you.
  8. Measure what you manage: Measurement is critical for continual improvement,  but also for funding mechanisms such as Low Carbon Fuel Standards credits. 
  9. Move from plans to frameworks: Adopt a framework model that allows you to keep the transition updated and current each year. Capture learnings and integrate them into the plan.
  10. Seize grant and funding opportunities: Familiarize yourself with grant opportunities to fuel your transition – there are plenty out there!

There’s a right and wrong way to approach these transitions. The wrong way will leave you with reports that are quickly out of date, oversized infrastructure and high-risk decisions that cost time and money. The right approach will ensure you have a framework that provides you with the agility and intelligence required to make good decisions, and operational insights to allow you to refine the strategy as you move forward. 

Evenergi’s BetterFleet has been designed to provide a best-practice framework for transitioning and managing zero emission fleets. It delivers a cost effective, fast and simple approach that sets you off on the right path, providing powerful decision making tools for your team and consulting partners.