U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently held a press briefing calling for American energy independence. He explained that no either-or debate exists between dirty fuel sources such as coal, diesel, gas and renewable energy. Market forces have already caused many power plants to switch to clean natural gas and auto manufacturers are filling the call for green cars, SUVs and work vehicles.
Package delivery giant United Parcel Service operates a fleet of more than 114,000 delivery cars, trucks and vans worldwide and finished 2016 with over 19 percent of its vehicles using alternative fuel sources. In 2016, UPS made 16 percent of its purchases into green technologies that include electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas and propane. The international outfit plans to increase its green purchases to 25 percent by 2020 and have 40 percent of its fleet working on sources other than traditional gasoline and diesel. These decisions are being driven by cost-saving, economic and market forces. As Energy Secretary Perry points out, the global market is heading toward the tapped and untapped potential of green energy.
Growing Green Commercial Fleets
Tesla has emerged as a leader and household name in alternative energy technologies and vehicles. The green energy lightning rod has announced plans for the “Tesla Minibus” to be paired with its Model X pickup truck chassis. This move will open the door for companies utilizing commercial work van fleets to embrace the emission-free movement while reducing the cost of fossil fuels. The ability to increase profitability will extend beyond massive organizations such as UPS to small contractors and delivery operations. Green fleet owners may find themselves in a competitive driver’s seat.
But as Perry pointed out in his recent Q&A with the media, evolving technological advancements may usher in green new innovations. Tesla, for example, has touted the high benefits of infusing electric powertrains into commercial fleets because they have the size to accommodate these systems. But Tesla also has its hands in the solar industry and has made tremendous advancements in battery cells that store enough energy to power entire homes. Calls for these futuristic vehicles to be outfitted with usable electricity for contractors to run tools off of could be on the horizon. Each cost-efficient and competitive edge will inevitably lead to the next in a free and open marketplace. Green vehicles are already here, but green fleets are the next wave.
Nissan has positioned itself as a strong competitor in the light-weight commercial delivery vehicle market. The automaker has a panel van with a range of 106 miles that can handle a load of over 1,600 pounds called the e-NV200. The manufacturer has noted a massive uptick in sales and has plans to expand on its emerging revenue stream.
According to Nissan vice president Ponz Pandikuthira, “The threshold for the next generation of EVs is going to be significantly larger than those on the market right now. We’re expecting the step-up in range to take us to 250, 350 and 500 kilometers (300 miles).”
The expanded range would remove any travel distance anxiety from commercial fleet purchasers and Nissan has plans to shy away from hybrids in favor of fully electric powertrains. Nissan’s Pandikuthira also says that many of the current auto designs are created with the two-fold thinking that they can remain plug-in hybrids or transition to full-on electricity. This type of forward planning by innovative car manufacturers is making the switch to green vehicles more palatable now.
The growth of renewable energies and green commercial fleets is no longer a thing of the future. That future is now and it creates a competitive business edge by reducing or eliminating the volatile costs of fossil fuels.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]