When most people think of a hybrid, they think of a Toyota Prius. When they think of a plug-in hybrid they think of a Honda Clarity, or maybe a Ford Fusion Energi. They certainly don’t think of a Chevy Express, Ford Transit, or an Isuzu step van, because they’re not built in hybrid versions. Massachusetts-based company XL is offering a unique twist on the standard hybrid formula for large commercial vehicles that aren’t available with a hybrid system from the factory.
The consumer hybrid market is filled, Tod Hynes CEO of XL told The Drive. But the commercial market is wide open. Only now is Ford introducing a hybrid version of the F-150 pickup. Other trucks and vans have not yet seen the benefit of hybrid technology from the factory. Additionally, many such vehicles are used for inefficient stop-and-go urban driving. This is where the old-fashioned large V-6 and V-8 engines perform worst. But it’s also what electric vehicles excel at, both in performance and fuel economy.
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The 2017 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season racked up a record $306 billion in damages and aid, making it the costliest hurricane season ever, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This reality is the latest piece of evidence that extreme weather is wreaking havoc around the world, with increasing frequency and severity.
Here’s a question for leaders of corporations and municipalities: What was the impact of extreme weather on your bottom line last year? And how are you mitigating this threat to your company’s operations and finances in the future?
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By now, everyone’s heard that Ford intends to launch a new F-150 hybrid in 2020. We don’t have many details on that truck yet, but did you know that you can buy a hybrid F-Series right now? The truck is not totally built by Ford per se; instead, it’s modified by a Ford-certified company called XL then sold through XL or a Ford Commercial Vehicles dealer.
XL makes two models: the F-250 Super Duty Hybrid you see here and an F-150 Plug-in Hybrid that we’ve yet to drive. However, we recently were able to get some seat time overnight in the electrified Super Duty, putting significant miles on it to see if XL’s hybrid system is worth the expense.
The F-250 Hybrid starts out as an ordinary gas-powered Ford F-250 — powered by Ford’s venerable 6.2-liter “Boss” V-8 making 385 horsepower and 430 pounds-feet of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and can be had in two-wheel-drive or 4×4 configuration. In fact, the F-250 powertrain is completely untouched by the XL hybrid system. It doesn’t interfere with the engine operation; it doesn’t ever operate in all-electric mode; it doesn’t even really talk much to the truck. What it does do is listen.
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Driven by its commitment to the community and the environment, today CPS Energy announced the purchase of 34 XLP Plug-In Hybrid Electric Ford F-150 pickup trucks – the largest purchase of Plug-In F-150s of any utility or private company to date and the 1st in Texas to use the vehicles.
The new vehicles will replace the less efficient fleet of vehicles. The new trucks deliver significant fuel economy equivalency gains – offering more than 50% better fuel economy and a comparable reduction in emissions over similar standard vehicles — based on manufacturer’s figures that take into consideration long commutes.
“Through our latest hybrid-electric vehicle investments, we will leverage new technology that has been economically designed to help protect our environment,” said Paula Gold-Williams, CPS Energy’s President & CEO. “These cars are great enhancements to our fleet of vehicles, which are used to serve our customers, day-in and day-out.”
Read the full news release from CPS Energy.
A funny thing happened when the Trump Administration pulled the United States out of the Paris Accord last year: the nation’s commitment to sustainability actually increased in many ways. Call it a “boomerang effect” if you will, but consider some of the efforts that have taken place since the U.S. opted out of the landmark agreement on June 1, 2017.
- An organization called “We Are Still In” was formed among business and legislative leaders in all 50 states to demonstrate the U.S.’s ongoing commitment to the Paris Accord principles. As the organization describes itself on its website: “This unprecedented network of networks represents more than 127 million Americans and $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy. Spanning all 50 states — red and blue — we are demonstrating America’s enduring commitment to tackling climate change, ensuring a clean energy future, and upholding the Paris Agreement.”
- A group of Governors joined forces to create the United States Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 17 state governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- Major automakers and state partners throughout the Northeast U.S. launched an initiative called “Drive Change. Drive Electric.” The coalition is dedicated to increasing awareness and adoption of electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell electric vehicles.
- Global sales of all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids hit a major milestone in 2017, surpassing 1 million units, according to Navigant Research. Navigant also expects annual sales growth of 38 percent through 2020.
- XL, the leader in electrified truck solutions for commercial and municipal fleets, announced a record year of sales in 2017, surpassing 60 million customer miles driven. As of today, Earth Day 2018, XL’s systems have successfully saved over 1.2 million gallons of gas, eliminated almost 11,000 tons of CO2 emissions and added almost 10,000 hours of driver productivity to our fleet customers’ bottom lines.
The efforts seem to be working. Ironically, while global carbon emissions levels worldwide actually increased in 2017, the U.S. posted the largest year-over-year decline in carbon emissions of any advanced economy. While these trends are due to a wide range of factors, a renewed interest in and commitment to sustainable energy practices seems to be playing at least a contributing role in the positive momentum being generated here in the U.S.
Even as the Federal Government is introducing legislation that rolls back automotive fuel economy standards, the consumer and commercial market for electrified higher efficiency, lower emission vehicles continues to drive demand – particularly given the significant cost savings these vehicles have demonstrated.
The bottom line on this “boomerang effect” is this: regardless of whether the administration in power is red or blue, it will have little bearing on the ability to go green when it makes good business sense.
Puget Sound Energy has added 40 new Ford Transit utility vans equipped with a hybrid electric drive system from XL.
PSE selected XL’s fleet electrification technology for its 40 Ford Transit utility vans, an upgrade that is expected to reduce each van’s carbon footprint by up to 20% and increase fuel economy by as much as 25%. The utility worked with XL to upfit each van with an electric motor and advanced lithium-ion battery pack, as well as the XL Link connected vehicle system.
“We know our customers value the environment, so we were excited for the opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint through our fleet vehicles,” said Wayne Gould, director of corporate shared services at Puget Sound Energy. “This is another step for PSE to invest in the development of cleaner alternatives and technologies.”
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