GNA Finds Sustainable Vehicle Technologies and Fuels Growing Across Sectors

Clean technology consulting firm and producers of the annual Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA) authored and launched a technology-neutral industry report that examined the current state of prevalent sustainable vehicle platforms for medium- and heavy-duty fleets and identified the trends shaping the future of the industry.

Produced with support from title sponsors Daimler Trucks North America, Penske Transportation Solutions, Shell Oil Company and supporting sponsor Exelon, the report offers insights into the current and future adoption of four sustainable fuel and vehicle technologies: natural gas vehicles (NGVs), propane (LPG) vehicles, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). As fleets adopt these technologies, they are inevitably compared with baseline diesel and gasoline vehicles, which have historically — and will continue to — dominate the commercial fleet market. The report also summarized sustainability trends in these baseline technologies that serve as a benchmark for emerging alternative fuel vehicles and advanced technologies.

The report found that while diesel and gasoline vehicles have led the medium- and heavy-duty fleet markets in terms of vehicle and fuel sales for decades, fleets are now testing and purchasing sustainable vehicle technologies in record numbers. The authors noted the industry is experiencing a critical inflection point where alternative fuel vehicle adoption is expanding from the gradual uptake in niche applications seen over the past several decades to faster and broader adoption within the last few years. Below are four key findings from the report.

  • Across a broad spectrum of fleets surveyed, approximately 98% expect to increase or continue the same level of use of sustainable vehicle technologies and fuels.
  • Natural gas, propane, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, the four sustainable vehicle technology platforms covered in the study, are all growing in terms of vehicle sales, fuel sales and investment.
  • Sustainability is the top motivator for purchasing decisions among early adopter public, private and even for-hire fleets in deploying clean vehicle technologies. Many U.S. fleets are now transitioning to clean vehicle technologies not just to reduce total cost of ownership but to meet sustainability objectives.
  • Fleets confirmed there is no material performance loss when switching to most renewable fuels — renewable diesel, natural gas and electricity — and would use more when it is a cost-neutral, drop-in replacement.

“We applaud the research effort and insights presented by the inaugural State of Sustainable Fleets report,” Richard Howard, senior vice president of on-highway sales and marketing for Daimler Trucks North America, said. “Our vision for a future of C0₂-neutral commercial transportation can only be realized by the collaboration between manufacturers and fleets to ensure we are delivering solutions to meet their needs. We are pursuing clean technologies of the future, and we will arrive to that future together as an industry who keeps the world moving.”

“We are very pleased to serve as a sponsor of the inaugural State of Sustainable Fleets report,” Drew Cullen, senior vice president of fuels and facility services for Penske Transportation Solutions, said. “We are here to advise and support our customers in navigating the complexities of operating and managing the latest vehicle technologies as they seek to reach their sustainability goals.”

“As one of the largest providers of fleet solutions globally, we support our customers in their transition to lower-emission fuels through energy provision coupled with expertise in road services and fleet management. This report is a concise and comprehensive resource, equipping fleet managers with critical insights they need to plan for operations in a lower-emission world,” Giorgio Delpiano, vice president of fleet solutions for Shell, said.

“Exelon is committed to providing a cleaner and brighter future for our customers and communities while achieving excellent operational performance,” Calvin Butler, CEO of Exelon Utilities, said. “Transportation electrification holds the promise of helping the cities and states in which we operate meet their environmental goals, reduce their carbon footprint, bring cleaner air to all communities we serve and create economic opportunity through job creation and reduced energy costs. At Exelon, we recently announced our commitment to electrify 50% of our utility vehicle fleet by 2030, and we understand the importance of selecting the right sustainable technology and designing, building and implementing the necessary infrastructure. Fleets across the U.S. rely on industry resources like the State of Sustainable Fleets report to make informed decisions as they transition to clean fuels and technology.”

Through interviews and surveys, the report gathered data from stakeholders who have real-world experience deploying sustainable vehicle technologies, including progressive fleet owners and operators, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and infrastructure providers. The analysis includes public, private and for-hire fleets, including school, municipal/shuttle, urban delivery, refuse, utility, transit, short-haul and long-haul sectors. The report includes insights into vehicle sale trends, anticipated vehicle development timelines, real-world infrastructure and fuel costs, and the growing adoption of renewable fuels.

GNA is a North American consulting firm specializing in the development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies, near-zero and zero emission vehicles, and low carbon fuels for transportation and commercial use.

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