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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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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