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.
Continue reading “Fleet managers take notice: AAA is forecasting the highest gas prices since 2015”
Last week’s NTEA show was a huge success, and it was certainly a major showing for XL. Some of our highlights included an announcement of our company’s record sales in 2017, a corporate rebranding from XL Hybrids to XL, and the debut of our XLH hybrid electric Ford F-250 solution, which was on display in our booth.
Here’s a list of the top 5 questions we were asked by the hundreds of customers, prospects and partners we met at the show – both in our booth, and the neighboring Ford booth, where we were also on display. Please email us at email@example.com if you have additional questions that aren’t addressed in this blog. Let’s dig in!
Continue reading “The Top 5 Questions Heard at NTEA”
Every month it seems like automotive manufacturers around the globe are committing to offering more and more electrified vehicles. New announcements are coming fast and furious. General Motors is among the leaders on this front, recently announcing plans for 20 new all-electric models by 2023. In a move that goes one step beyond many of its peers, GM is also positioning itself as a leader in electrified commercial vehicles too, thanks in part to a new strategic partnership with XL.
GM recognizes that in today’s commercial fleet market, there’s a growing demand for hybrid electrics, plug-in hybrids and other electrified vehicles. This trend is being driven by large companies’ and municipalities’ strong desire for fuel efficiency improvements, cost savings and corporate sustainability goals within their fleets. GM and XL recently announced a collaboration to make it easier for companies to scale fleet electrification through two tactical steps.
First, GM has added XL Hybrid upfits as an option in its commercial dealer ordering system for Chevrolet and GMC dealers. Fleet customers are now just a few clicks away from adding XL upfits to their Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-sized vans and cutaways powered by GM’s 6.0-liter engine, as well as GM’s new 4.3-liter engine later this year. Second, GM has created dedicated ship-thru codes for XL Hybrid upfits to make installation and vehicle logistics seamless. Ship-thru installation locations for XL systems include both Knapheide Manufacturing and Adrian Steel just down the street from GM’s factory in Wentzville, MO.
Continue reading “XL and General Motors Streamlining Vehicle Electrification for Fleets”
While we continue to hear about the future promise of all-electric and self-driving technologies in the automotive industry, we shouldn’t overlook the recent and immediate successes of the commercial fleet market, which has been just as innovative, if not even more so, than some of the futuristic technologies in the passenger car industry. Sure, these much hyped words and phrases are exciting, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they change the industry in the years to come. However, we’re years away from fully autonomous driving, or fully-electric vehicles taking over.
In comparison, e-commerce and last-mile delivery fleets are examples of commercial fleets that are really driving the adoption of new technologies. Examples include retailers like Amazon and Walmart that are providing quicker and faster shipping options to their customers, and package delivery fleets like UPS and FedEx that are using a range of alternative technology vehicles. Why are fleets leading the way? Because their annual vehicle mileage is so high and their MPG so low, resulting in significant annual operating costs. (By comparison, the average consumer drives only 12,000 miles per year and typically drives a conventional vehicle that already gets 20 to 40 MPG.) Fleets need higher MPG vehicle alternatives now that make sense, and some forms of vehicle electrification make economic sense today.
Continue reading “How e-commerce and last-mile delivery fleets are leapfrogging passenger cars and driving adoption of new tech”
Today, we’re happy to announce our $22 million Series D round, which adds great new strategic partners to the XL team. Constellation Technology Ventures (CTV) is the venture capital arm of Exelon, one of the largest utilities in the United States, and IKEA Group is a global leader with a strong commitment to renewable energy and fleet vehicle electrification. These partners enable us to broaden our fleet electrification solutions, achieve larger scale, and help more customers reduce fuel usage while saving money and reducing emissions. We were able to attract such great partners because XL has remained focused on developing electrification solutions that are both low-cost and highly scalable.
The XL team has done tremendous work and has been very disciplined over the years while successfully navigating major swings in oil prices and lots of noise in our industry. We have been able to achieve more than many of our competitors who have come and gone, and we’ve done it with a relatively lean budget for this industry. XL has systems in fleets across the US and Canada that have accrued over 50 million miles, and our production rate is now over 100 per month. To put this in perspective, Tesla had around 4 million customer miles when it went public.
Continue reading “XL Hybrids scales fleet vehicle electrification with IKEA and Constellation Technology Ventures”
As an avid gearhead, I could not miss the opportunity to attend the 50th Annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show in Las Vegas, along with the concurrent AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo) conference. Representing XL Hybrids, I had many great conversations and meetings with our current and potential suppliers, and with automotive industry experts. While SEMA is largely a consumer show, many companies with technology offerings for commercial fleet customers – the types of customers XL Hybrids targets with our commercial vehicle electrification solutions – were on display.
Walking the aisles, I observed that within the ever-expanding lineup of automotive technologies there are several significant commonalities with the strategic path XL Hybrids is taking:
– Rise of the connected vehicle
– Downsizing of engines
– Increasing sophistication of vehicle branding efforts
– Ability to install a product on both new and existing vehicles, and
– Global distribution and installation networks of automotive companies
Continue reading “Observations from SEMA: How XL Hybrids Aligns with Emerging Automotive Trends”
This article first appeared in The Fuse on September 21, 2016.
If you have read Vincentric’s recent lifecycle cost analysis,, which shows only seven of 29 hybrid vehicles offered in the 2016 model year had a lower total cost of ownership than their gasoline counterparts, you are now armed with some valuable information when you purchase your next vehicle. However, you may not have the whole story on hybrids.
While the Vincentric research accurately finds that in most cases today, purchasing a hybrid car or hybrid SUV simply doesn’t pencil out, this picture of hybrids changes dramatically when you look at hybrid-electric commercial vehicles like trucks and vans, which have much lower base MPG ratings than cars and SUVs, are driven more miles per year than typical consumer usage, and have longer life cycles on the road where all financial benefits to operators can be accrued over a longer period of time.
Let’s look at a sample case that is very typical of commercial vehicle duty and life cycles. Say a fleet shuttle bus or work truck drives 100 miles per day for 250 work days per year in urban and suburban stop-and-go driving, and gets 8 MPG over a 10-year lifespan. This vehicle will use $70,000 worth of fuel over its 10-year life, assuming the current $2.25-per-gallon price holds over that time.
Continue reading “Vincentric’s Hybrid Vehicle Analysis Omits the Best Economic Opportunity: Commercial Trucks”