Incentive programs for new vehicle technologies are often put in place to support faster adoption by commercial fleets. These incentive programs can both help justify deployments of earlier stage technologies, and enhance return-on-investment calculations.
While a broad range of incentive options have been rolled out over the years, the specific type that is proving to be very versatile and effective, especially among fleets, is voucher programs.
Voucher programs, which have launched in certain cities and states over the past several years aimed at commercial fleets, essentially offer point-of-sale rebates on the purchase (or sometimes, the lease) of a range of eligible alternative technology vehicles. The fleet customer gets an immediate discount off the regular price of new vehicle technology, while the vehicle or technology provider (not the fleet) performs the back-end diligence to get reimbursed by the voucher program administrator.
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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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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”
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”
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.
Continue reading “Top 5 Impressions from SEMA in Sin City!”
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”
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At XL Hybrids, we have designed our XL3 hybrid-electric system to be simple to install – so simple that it can be completed by one technician in just hours. Standard automotive tools and a vehicle lift are all that’s required. In this short clip, we give you a behind-the-scenes tour as I install the XL Hybrids system in a General Motors van for the City of Boston.
I begin with the XL Hybrids electric motor, which is installed behind the vehicle’s transmission. A lithium ion battery pack is installed behind the rear axle. Both motor and battery are connected to an inverter on the vehicle’s frame rail. A closed-loop cooling system and wiring harnesses finish it off. That’s all there is to it. With all components installed, I take the vehicle for a short test drive to verify that detailed performance data is being reported, including MPG improvement.
Continue reading “XL Hybrids System Installation on a GM Van Takes Just Hours”
This article first appeared in The Fuse on August 24, 2016.
Bravo to Elon Musk and President Obama. They continue to think big by setting ambitious goals for U.S. vehicle electrification, backed by multi-billion dollar commitments to various all-electric vehicles and charging stations.
Last month, the Obama administration announced loan guarantees of up to $4.5 billion to build electric-car charging stations, and support broader electrification. Back in June, Mr. Musk unveiled Tesla’s Master Plan Part Deux. Besides calling for an audacious solution of vertically-integrated solar panel-charged Tesla sports cars, Part Deux also includes plans to build an all-electric pickup truck, an electric heavy-duty semi-truck, and an electric bus concept that would turn a bus driver into a fleet manager. Musk said his overall goal is for Tesla to offer an array of products and services to accelerate the transition away from oil.
Continue reading “XL Hybrids Continues To Fill The Gap In Elon Musk & President Obama’s All-Electric Vehicle Plans”
It is exciting to finally be able to talk about the elephant in the XL Hybrids garage! The recent debut of our XL LinkTM cloud-based connectivity and analytics system means we can finally share one of the critical ingredients in our recipe for delivering low cost fuel economy and sustainability: DATA.
Today, making smart and informed equipment purchasing decisions is just the beginning–not the end–of the story. Cutting edge connectivity and cloud technologies can now provide us with the data to validate these purchasing decisions by proving that equipment delivers and continues to deliver the performance promised. More than that though, they can empower us to leave behind the old, one-size-fits-all, depreciating model of purchasing and using equipment in favor of an adaptive, iterative program of progressive improvement tailored to the realities of a specific business. We developed the XL3® hybrid electric drive system hardware platform product with real time performance feedback precisely to enable our own cycle of innovation -> validation -> adaptation, and we are thrilled to be able to finally share our software platform product XL Link, one of the key components that allows us to continue to develop and improve our system’s performance, with our partners and customers.
Continue reading “The Critical Ingredient for Delivering Low Cost Fuel Economy and Sustainability: DATA”