Road transportation accounts for 15% of all global carbon dioxide emissions, with passenger vehicles producing nearly half. In a bid to cut these carbon emissions as well as reduce reliance on fossil fuels, several countries have pledged to steadily replace conventional vehicles with zero-emission electric cars over the next couple of decades. However, electric-vehicle penetration is still low in most territories, mostly due to their extremely high prices coupled with a poor and often unreliable network of public charging stations.
Although governments are offering subsidies to make EVs more affordable for average drivers and installing public chargers to ease range anxiety, experts say electrifying commercial fleets is the best way to give the fledgling EV sector a major boost. Thanks to new emission standards and green-energy requirements, plenty of municipalities and companies will have no choice but to electrify their fleets. Even without these requirements, the commercial fleet segment is set to explode, says Glenn Stevens, the executive director of MICHauto, a statewide auto industry association.
Most EVs on the market are crazy expensive, making it almost impossible for most drivers to make the switch. Additionally, charging can also be a hassle, especially if an EV owner cannot install a home charger and has to rely on public chargers. However, commercial fleets don’t have to deal with these issues. Companies and municipalities have large budgets, and since their fleets often drive the same routes and go back to a singular location to spend the night — and in this case charge — making the switch to EVs won’t be too difficult.
Additionally, since the vehicles usually undergo frequent use, recouping the upfront costs will take a relatively short time. Since EVs are much cheaper to fuel and require less maintenance, companies and municipalities will see significant savings in charging and maintenance costs. Hybrids and EVs usually come equipped with advanced telematics, thereby enabling fleet managers to collect valuable information from their vehicles.
Several companies have taken the theory to the test. The Shyft Group Inc., based in Novi, revealed that it is soon going to unveil an all-electric, purpose-built Class 3 chassis platform for duty vehicles, including city delivery vehicles, walk-in vans and minibuses. This platform can be used on everything from parcel-delivery fleets and passenger buses to work trucks and recreational buses. According to president and CEO Daryl Adams, Shyft Group is scouting for a location to produce the chassis and will start large-scale production in late 2023.
On the other hand, XL Fleet Corp. in Boston has developed kits that will allow companies and municipalities to retrofit their fleets into plug-in hybrids. XL Fleet has opened its fourth U.S. facility in Wixom, Michigan, a 24,655-square-foot campus that can handle prototyping as well as system and electric engineering; the facility also controls development.
Companies such as ev Transportation Services Inc. are playing their roles in helping commercial fleets make the switch by availing reliable, purpose-built, light-duty commercial electric vehicles that can serve various sectors, such as for last-mile delivery services.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to ev Transportation Services Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/EVTS
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