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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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”
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.
Continue reading “Making California’s HVIP program work better for fleet operators”
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.
Continue reading “The XL Hybrids PHEV Pickup Truck: It’s a Ford Truck”
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”
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”
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!)
Continue reading “Why was an XL Hybrids employee in Ford’s booth?”
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.”
Continue reading “Live, from New York: Verizon reorders fleet vehicles from XL Hybrids!”