Incentive programs for new vehicle technologies are often put in place to support faster adoption by commercial fleets. These incentive programs can both help justify deployments of earlier stage technologies, and enhance return-on-investment calculations.
While a broad range of incentive options have been rolled out over the years, the specific type that is proving to be very versatile and effective, especially among fleets, is voucher programs.
Voucher programs, which have launched in certain cities and states over the past several years aimed at commercial fleets, essentially offer point-of-sale rebates on the purchase (or sometimes, the lease) of a range of eligible alternative technology vehicles. The fleet customer gets an immediate discount off the regular price of new vehicle technology, while the vehicle or technology provider (not the fleet) performs the back-end diligence to get reimbursed by the voucher program administrator.
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Two of the most popular terms in urban planning today are smart cities and clean energy. These concepts naturally go hand-in-hand.
As cities get smarter, they use energy more efficiently and in a more controllable fashion, and they are better able to incorporate intermittent clean energy sources. Cities, and the power grids that support them, can use traditional power generation and stationary energy storage to support intermittent resources like wind and solar, but the lowest-cost solution for over a decade has been to control power loads with demand response. A large and emerging new power load is electrified vehicles, and they will play a critical role in the future of smart cities and clean energy.
To put things in perspective, the battery systems in the U.S. Toyota Prius fleet alone represent about 40 gigawatts of power. That’s about the same as the entire electric grid in New York state. While those vehicles don’t connect with the grid, there is a growing wave of plug-in vehicles with much larger batteries coming, and they will be a dominant and flexible force on the grid. If integrated properly, however, they can support the growth of smart cities and clean energy in profound ways.
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California fleets brace for $4/gallon spikes this summer
Spring is upon us, and with rising temperatures also come rising gas prices across the country. AAA is reporting that gas prices are expected to rise to their highest levels since 2015, beginning when the refineries change over supply from their winter to more expensive summer blends. AAA’s prediction is for gas prices to rise nationally to an average of $2.70 a gallon, with some states, such as California, seeing spikes as high as $4.00 a gallon. These examples reflect a price increase on average of about $0.40 a gallon higher than what was seen last spring. Just last week alone, gasoline prices rose an average of $.05 per gallon across the country* in what is likely to become a trend in the months ahead. After knowing all the facts, here are some suggestions, including some from AAA, to keep your fuel costs down and increase sustainability for your fleet.
*Update: As of 4/2, prices had risen by $.11 per gallon.
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