Bobit editors assembled on a panel including fleet, trucking, and transportation to discuss the electric vehicle industry, from regulations to vehicle availability, production, infrastructure, and more. You can watch the whole webinar here, for a limited time.
Here are the top key takeaways that work truck and commercial fleet managers need to know:
1. Evolving Regulations
The regulatory landscape is shifting, and it's not just affecting passenger cars and heavy-duty trucks anymore. California's new Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) rule, effective on April 28, 2023, requires fleet owners to evaluate which vehicles in their California fleet are subject to these rules. However, there are exemptions, such as backup vehicles with limited annual mileage.
2. Stricter Emissions Standards
The EPA's proposed "Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles" introduces more stringent emissions standards for light-duty and Class 2B and 3 vehicles. These standards will be phased in over model years 2027 through 2032, affecting fleet operations.
3. Electric Vehicle Adoption
Electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining ground in the commercial sector. In 2022, there was a 147% increase in EVs registered to fleets, with Class 2 EV commercial registrations seeing a staggering 304% rise in the first half of 2023. Companies like Amazon, Walmart, Penske, and FedEx are leading the charge, although challenges remain in terms of range, battery life, charging time, and payload capacity.
4. Slow Adoption Concerns
While commercial EV registrations are on the rise, they still account for only 1% of total fleet registrations. According to a survey, 79% of respondents expressed hesitancy about adding electric vehicles to their fleets. Range, battery life, charging time, and payload capacity were the primary concerns.
5. Challenges in the U.S. Market
Compared to other parts of the world, the U.S. commercial electrification market is in its early stages, especially for pickup trucks. Price, range, and payload capacity remain significant obstacles.
6. Funding Opportunities
There are federal programs and incentives available, including grants, rebates, and credits, that can help fleet managers transition to electric vehicles. Additionally, states like California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York offer incentives to promote clean vehicles.
7. Vehicle Availability
Availability remains a challenge, particularly for larger commercial trucks. Demand for electric trucks is surpassing production capacity, leading automakers to expand production capabilities.
8. Dealer Readiness
Truck dealers are gearing up for the EV transition, offering training for sales and maintenance to support fleet needs effectively. They can also help support work truck fleets through the incentive and grant writing process.
9. Infrastructure Hurdles
The biggest obstacle to fleet electrification is the lack of charging infrastructure. Issues like broken chargers, long wait times at public charging stations, and software/connectivity problems are common concerns for fleet managers.
10. Innovative Solutions
Despite challenges, there is optimism in the industry. Partnerships with companies like Tesla are expanding charging options, while innovative solutions, such as propane-powered charging stations, are emerging to address infrastructure gaps.
The commercial fleet industry is evolving rapidly, with the adoption of electric vehicles and changing regulations at the forefront. Fleet managers must stay informed, navigate regulatory changes, explore funding opportunities, and address infrastructure challenges to meet the demands of a greener and more efficient future.