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XL and General Motors Streamlining Vehicle Electrification for Fleets

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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.
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XL and General Motors Streamlining Vehicle Electrification for Fleets

Making California’s HVIP program work better for fleet operators

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At their best, incentive programs for vehicle technologies seed an early, innovative market, getting potential users comfortable with new technology. This has been the goal of CARB’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project voucher project (HVIP) in California.

HVIP was created to accelerate the adoption of commercial hybrid vehicle technologies in California, and reduce fleet fuel use and emissions. The program has had successes, but also areas for potential improvement. Now in 2018, with some recent changes to HVIP that XL Hybrids has supported, the program is a great way for fleet operators in California to take advantage of hybrid (HEV) and plug-in (PHEV, EV) technology.
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Making California’s HVIP program work better for fleet operators

The XL Hybrids PHEV Pickup Truck: It’s a Ford Truck

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Imagine the scene: Automotive executives at an industry conference test-driving electrified and hybrid vehicles from various independent companies, including Ford models upfitted with XL Hybrids technology. The test track is filled with commercial trucks of all shapes and sizes demonstrating different technologies. A van driving on the track starts to slow down. Instead of the usual sound and motion of normal breaking, the van sounds like someone is pounding from inside the cargo hold, trying to escape. Heads turn to see the commotion.

This scene proves an important point for any company developing and deploying electrified technology for commercial vehicles: When fleet industry folks buy a commercial vehicle, they want it to drive and sound like an OEM-quality vehicle: Same drivability, same reliability. And when it comes to electrified vehicles, fleet driver experience often means more to the fleet manager than the financial and sustainability savings.
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The XL Hybrids PHEV Pickup Truck: It’s a Ford Truck

XL Hybrids Gets Latest CARB Approval, Continues Push into California with First-Ever PHEV Ford F-150s

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The XL Hybrids team aims to make our vehicle electrification technology available to as many fleets as possible. To that end, California fleets now have more product options from XL.

We just received approval for plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) Ford F-150 pickup trucks in the Golden State – an industry first.

In fact, XL has the most approvals to sell into California – in the form of executive orders, or EOs, issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for aftermarket vehicle electrification in the fleet industry. In addition to PHEV F-150s, we also offer hybrid-electric (HEV) systems for certain model year Ford Transit vans, GM vans and cutaways, and Ford E-Series cutaways. Making our products available to the California market, which is a bellwether for electrified vehicle technology, is a focus of XL Hybrids.
Continue reading “XL Hybrids Gets Latest CARB Approval, Continues Push into California with First-Ever PHEV Ford F-150s”

XL Hybrids Gets Latest CARB Approval, Continues Push into California with First-Ever PHEV Ford F-150s

How e-commerce and last-mile delivery fleets are leapfrogging passenger cars and driving adoption of new tech

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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.
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How e-commerce and last-mile delivery fleets are leapfrogging passenger cars and driving adoption of new tech

Why was an XL Hybrids employee in Ford’s booth?

Eddie Ford

I arrived at the recent Greenbuild and Architecture Boston Expo in Boston, and promptly was asked to change my shirt.

Why? I arrived wearing my crisp XL Hybrids button down shirt. However, my Ford Motor Company booth mates had other ideas for my attire. Since I would be working in Ford’s booth for the next two days at the Expo, I would now be wearing a shirt with The Blue Oval instead.

XL Hybrids van in Ford’s booth
Why was I at the Greenbuild Expo? Ford invited my company, XL Hybrids, to display a Ford Transit van upfitted with our XL3 hybrid-electric system. At an expo focusing on trends like sustainable buildings and architecture and with an expo attendee list filled with representatives from major building construction companies with fleets of thousands of work trucks and vans, Ford aimed to educate these Expo attendees about Ford’s electrified vehicle offerings with the XL Hybrids transit van as a booth centerpiece. (You can see from the photos that the XL Hybrids van looked great in Ford’s booth!)
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Why was an XL Hybrids employee in Ford’s booth?

Live, from New York: Verizon reorders fleet vehicles from XL Hybrids!

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Keeping a telecom network up and running is an important and challenging job. Millions of customers depend on telephone, cable TV and Internet service in cities every minute of the day. So, when Verizon, which operates a telecom network spanning 15 states along the Eastern seaboard, specs out its fleet of telecom service vans, the company only selects vehicle equipment that is rugged and effective enough to operate for years of driving in dense metropolitan areas where traffic, weather and road conditions can be tough and unpredictable. And when Verizon was looking for a vehicle electrification technology to improve its fleet’s fuel economy, Verizon decided to team up with XL Hybrids and deploy our hybrid-electric upfit system for Chevy Express cargo vans.

What started as a small successful pilot of 16 vans in 2015, and then another 36 vans in 2016, has now expanded to nearly 300 vans, highlighted by Verizon’s recent deployment of 234 new hybrid-electric vans to service New York City customers.

“Given the size of our company and the number of people we connect across the globe, Verizon has a unique opportunity and responsibility to have a positive impact on the environment,” said James Gowen, chief sustainability officer for Verizon. “With the addition of these hybrid vehicles, our fleet is as efficient as ever as we continue to use less fuel year after year. We thank NYSERDA for their partnership in helping to make this happen.”
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Live, from New York: Verizon reorders fleet vehicles from XL Hybrids!

Top 5 Impressions from SEMA in Sin City!

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I last attended the SEMA Show in Las Vegas about eight years ago. It’s amazing how much things change – and how much stays the same!

For those who don’t know, the SEMA Show is an annual trade show and exposition in Las Vegas for the paint, body and aftermarket automotive industry. Picture every wheel, tire, air filter, exhaust and all the parts in between in attendance and on display. Most manufacturers use highly customized demonstration vehicles in their booths to display their wares. The size, attendance and energy far surpassed my expectations. I’ve worked in or around the automotive industry for most of my professional life and hold cars and trucks as one of my top personal hobbies.

Without further ado, here are my top five impressions from SEMA 2017:

1. Trucks, trucks, and more trucks
Americans still love trucks. It should be no surprise that both Ford and Chevy are celebrating century anniversaries selling theirs. Plus, a pickup is still the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. Lifted, lowered, polished or dirty. Highly polished or fully wrapped in custom paint, graphics and extreme levels of personalization. Customized for the boulevard or modified for the mountain. Americans (present company included) love trucks.
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Top 5 Impressions from SEMA in Sin City!

XL Hybrids scales fleet vehicle electrification with IKEA and Constellation Technology Ventures

Bloomberg_$22m_Investment Blog

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.
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XL Hybrids scales fleet vehicle electrification with IKEA and Constellation Technology Ventures

Let Them See You’re Driving Green

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You’ve done your research into XL Hybrids. You’re excited about the fuel savings and sustainability benefits of deploying XL technology. And you’ve ordered your new vehicles with XL3 Hybrid Electric Systems. Now it’s time to decide how you’re going to visually demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.

We recommend you go BIG and go BOLD! Let’s turn your vehicles into mobile billboards that announce your corporate sustainability leadership.

Adding hybrid decals, and/or graphical wraps to your fleet vehicles, can deliver big benefits. Green branding shows your customers and community you’re making a meaningful difference in the environment. Vehicle signage strengthens awareness of your company’s brand, business strategy, and products and services.

In fact, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America says that decals and vehicle wraps can create as many as 30,000 to 70,000 impressions a day depending on the location of the vehicle. Whether moving along the highway, parked in front of your business, or picking passengers up, your green-branded vehicles will get noticed.
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Let Them See You’re Driving Green