With each new model year, trucks can come equipped with a bevy of vehicle improvements and modifications. When XL’s automotive partners introduce a design change to one of their vehicles, our electrified vehicle engineering team gets excited. Take the MY18 Chevy Express and GMC Savana vans, for example. The big vehicle change this year? The addition of a 4.3L gasoline engine.
To support the change, XL recently engineered our XLH hybrid electric system for General Motors Express and Savana passenger / cargo vans with GM’s new 4.3L engine. In doing so, we remain compatible with all engine and wheelbase configurations of this popular GM van model, and further extend our industry leadership on the variety of electrified vehicles we’ve made available.
For years, fleets have been hearing about the impending rise of electrified pickups. They’ve kept a hopeful eye on the market, waiting for these versatile vehicles to revolutionize the work truck industry with their high performance and low environmental impact. Unfortunately, many of those early claims short-circuited, along with the companies trying to bring those products to market.
As a result, there’s a healthy skepticism today around any claims of an electrified pickup truck that can simultaneously meet the needs of the driver, the fleet manager, and the sustainability executive. But that vision has very much become a reality, with XL’s Fleet-Ready™ electrified versions of America’s best-selling trucks. Our hybrid electric Ford F-250 and plug-in hybrid electric F-150 pickups are here today. They’re road-tested, independently validated, and racking up sustainable mileage for commercial and municipal fleets across North America.
Since 2009, XL has been revolutionizing the fleet industry with hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric versions of some of the industry’s most popular and proven OEM vehicles, including box trucks, cutaways, stripped chassis, transit vans and more. We’ve now added electrified Ford F-series pickups to our product lineup, and the response – from the media, environmental agencies, and, most importantly, our customers – has been tremendous. Here are a few of the highlights.
We recently had a chance to drive one of the newest hybrid plug-in pickup trucks available. Now that it’s over, we think this could be the moment in time we look back to in 20 years when we’re driving hybrid micro pickups with payload capacities of more than 5,000 pounds.
All right, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much.
The truck we drove in the Los Angeles area was built by XL, a Massachusetts company that develops and provides electric vehicles for commercial and municipal fleets. In April in Detroit, we drove a Ford Super Duty F-250 equipped with XL’s hybrid power assist system. Our short drive in that truck, which was equipped with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine, resulted in a 25 percent gain in fuel economy over a regular Ford F-250 without any substantial trade-offs.
For fleet maintenance professionals, introducing new vehicle technology usually raises concerns about serviceability, reliability and the risk of downtime. While benefits like MPG improvement, safety enhancements, and extending PM’s are promising, all of these can be wiped out by unforeseen service headaches.
So before moving forward with your next green fleet vehicle selection, make sure your service and maintenance team is part of the decision-making process. Chances are, your vehicle service managers will help you more thoroughly assess the pros and cons of a new technology – and save time, money and headaches later.
What boxes need to be checked for your service team? See the list below.
MEDFORD, Ore. – RVTD is already seeing savings after adding six hybrid vans to their fleet earlier this year.
“It’s a very simple system that has a great effect add a net cost about $9500 for the up charge,” says RVTD’s Operations Manager, Tim D’Alessandro, “We’re thinking it’s going to be about the 3.5-year range to 4-year range; these vehicles typically go 5 to 7 years, so the return on investment is definitely there.”
Short-term savings are centered around fuel costs, “We don’t have a vehicle to relate side-by-side to you,” explains D’Alessandro, “but when we look at this vehicle type and what it traditionally gets and what it’s getting for fuel economy, we’re at about 23% fuel economy increase.”
It’s only June, but 2018 has been quite a year for XL. Building from the momentum of last year’s record sales, significant product introductions and substantial funding by major industry investors, we’ve continued to surge by adding many of the largest commercial and municipal fleets in North America to our customer portfolio, and are on pace to double our staff size by the end of the year. And last night, we were honored by Boston Business Journal as one of their Best Places to Work in 2018.
When XL was founded (as XL Hybrids) back in 2009, the green transportation market looked very different than it does today. The average price of gas in the U.S. was $1.84 (diesel was $2.27) and electrification for fleet vehicles was in its infancy. In fact, very few of the companies selling hybrids, plug-in hybrids, or all-electric fleet vehicles in 2009 are around today.
California has the toughest emissions regulations in the nation, and some cities’ are even tougher. Los Angeles County and two cities are electrifying vehicles to promote sustainability.
XL is upfitting a combined 38 hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric trucks and vans to improve fleet efficiency, increase MPG and reduce CO2 emissions.
The municipalities expect to see a 25 percent increase in MPG on hybrid electric models and a 50 percent MPG increase in plug-in hybrid electric models compared to their standard gasoline fleet vehicles. The orders represent the first hybrid electric cargo and passenger van purchases for Los Angeles County and the City of Long Beach.
If you were asked to rank the following green fleet vehicles in order of their net CO2 emissions savings over standard, gas-powered vehicles, from highest reducing to least reducing, how would you order them?
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Truck (PHEV)
Hybrid Electric Truck (HEV)
Battery Electric Sedan (BEV)
(Hint: If you guessed the order above, you’d be right.)
Surprising? Not when you look at the full picture of relative net CO2 emissions.
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.
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?