In the thick of winter, the common wisdom is that when you are gearing up to take your truck out in the cold and snow, you should step outside, start up your engine, and let it idle to warm up. But contrary to popular belief, this does not prolong the life of your engine; in fact, it decreases it by stripping oil away from the engine’s cylinders and pistons.

In a nutshell, an internal combustion engine works by using pistons to compress a mixture of air and vaporized fuel within a cylinder. The compressed mixture is then ignited to create a combustion event—a little controlled explosion that powers the engine.

When your engine is cold, the gasoline is less likely to evaporate and create the correct ratio of air and vaporized fuel for combustion. Engines with electronic fuel injection have sensors that compensate for the cold by pumping more gasoline into the mixture. The engine continues to run rich in this way until it heats up to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

“That’s a problem because you’re actually putting extra fuel into the combustion chamber to make it burn and some of it can get onto the cylinder walls,” Stephen Ciatti, a mechanical engineer who specializes in combustion engines at the Argonne National Laboratory, told Business Insider. “Gasoline is an outstanding solvent and it can actually wash oil off the walls if you run it in those cold idle conditions for an extended period of time.”

The life of components like piston rings and cylinder liners can be significantly reduced by gasoline washing away the lubricating oil, not to mention the extra fuel that is used while the engine runs rich. Driving your car is the fastest way to warm the engine up to 40 degrees so it switches back to a normal fuel to air ratio. Even though warm air generated by the heater core will flow into the cabin after a few minutes, idling does surprisingly little to warm the actual engine.

The best thing to do is start the car, take a minute to knock the ice off your windows, and get going. The obvious caveat here is that if it’s below freezing, you need to make sure your defroster is working before you go tearing out of your driveway. Don’t be the person peering through a porthole in your ice-covered windshield. Some cars, like certain Land Rovers, expedite this process with electric heating elements in the windshield.

Also, hopping into your car and gunning it straightaway will put unnecessary strain on your engine. It takes 5 to 15 minutes for your engine to warm up while driving, so take it nice and easy for the first part of your drive. Performance cars often enforce that process with a graduated rev limiter—you don’t get full RPM until the engine is up to temperature.

Warming up your car before driving is a leftover practice from a time when carbureted engines dominated the roads. Carburetors mix gasoline and air to make vaporized fuel to run an engine, but they don’t have sensors that tweak the amount of gasoline when it’s cold out—they use a mechanical system called a “choke” to temporarily restrict the air intake and run a richer mixture.

This is a crude way to adjust the air-fuel ratio, and anyone with a carbureted engine can attest that it’s hard to drive under load when the carb is choked. It’s easy to stray too rich on the mixture and foul your spark plugs. As a result, you do need to let older cars warm up before driving or they will stall out. But carbureted engines were on their way out by the late 1980s.

We asked Volvo, which conducts cold-weather testing in the Arctic, whether their new cars need any sort of warmup, and the answer was an ever-so-slightly qualified no. According to Volvo, “It’s best to just give the engine a few seconds to build oil pressure before driving normally. Good oil quality and condition are crucial for protecting the engine in cold start conditions.”

The engine block heater

If only there were a way to get your car’s fluids up to temperature—and thus get the heater and defroster going—before actually starting your car. Well, there is: an engine block heater. Block heaters use an electrical element to preheat your engine’s fluids so it’s ready to go (and easier to start) when the temperature drops, thus explaining the three-prong plug poking out of the grille of your neighbor’s definitely-not-hybrid F250. They’re a common option on trucks, with Chevy charging only $100 for a block heater on a new Colorado (gas or diesel), but they can also be retrofitted to just about any vehicle.

Aftermarket block heaters are also inexpensive, and can be well worth the money when you consider the reduced wear and tear (and generally more pleasant mornings) they deliver.

So that’s it. Unless you’re rolling in a 1970s Chevelle—which we assume isn’t your daily driver—bundle up, scrape off your car, and get it moving.


Read More

Originally published on the Automotive Fleet website.

Matt Dyer marks his one-year anniversary as president and CEO of LeasePlan USA, a fleet management company headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga. He assumed this position on Jan. 1. Dyer previously served as the managing director for LeasePlan International and the CEO of LeasePlan UK, and brought more than 20 years of experience working for the fleet management company. 

Recently, Automotive Fleet spoke with Dyer on a variety of topics to get an update on the company’s Customer First program, its technology roadmap for digital transformation, and the other wide-ranging initiatives being launched by the fleet management company. 

Here’s what Dyer told us:

Automotive Fleet: As January 2020 marks your one-year anniversary as CEO and president of LeasePlan USA, what is your assessment of your first year? What were your goals in the first 12 months?

Matt Dyer: I have truly enjoyed getting my arms around all the U.S. market has to offer. One of my first objectives when I landed at LeasePlan USA last January was to assure we had a sense of ownership from employees to lead the business in the direction we want it to go. This started with empowering each employee to put the customer first and assuring we had a culture and values in place to communicate this mission across the organization. 

From there, our Customer First program was born. This initiative – one of my key goals – is all about improving the driver and fleet manager experience, and we’re already making good progress. It is just astounding to see the team members rally around putting the customer first. And it’s out of this momentum that our customer wins with our innovative initiatives. From new, intelligent communication programs that enhance how we engage with drivers to improving service levels, to leveraging data to provide more meaningful information to drivers along the way.

I am pleased to see our Customer First program already paying off for clients. In one use case, as we look to improve the new vehicle delivery process, we’re seeing a significant reduction in the time it takes to deliver a vehicle once it arrives at the dealership. 

As you can see, this focus on a more digital and user-friendly customer experience is a top initiative. This carries over into product innovation as well. Fleet managers in the U.S. have huge opportunities to leverage the rapidly evolving benefits of technology coupled with connected vehicle services to deliver data-driven dividends for their organizations. I am extremely proud to see the transformation our team has led to provide flexible, cost-effective solutions that are integrated to provide 360-degree views of overall fleet performance and driver behavior.

Quite honestly, there have been many achievements in the short span of one year. As far as an assessment goes, my take is that we have an incredibly talented team here at LeasePlan USA who care deeply about our customers’ success. We are uniquely positioned to provide flexible leasing solutions, and our robust consulting program enables our clients to maximize their fleet budgets. Truly, our global service offerings far outweigh any other solution. 

AF: In the next 12 months, what are your short-term and long-term goals to grow the LeasePlan USA portfolio? How will LeasePlan USA differentiate itself from its competitors in the marketplace?

Dyer: As with any year, improving the service we provide our customers and drivers is our first and foremost priority. Putting the customer first — and at the heart of everything  we do — is a mantra at LeasePlan, and it’s really something that I believe sets us apart from our competitors. 

Ultimately, we’ll continue to add value and deliver advice that helps our customers improve their business, and one of the key ways in which we’ll do this is to focus on our technological roadmap and our digital transformation. As part of this initiative we’ll continue to invest heavily in revolutionary technologies. LeasePlan is making fleet exciting again, and we’ll continue to offer the most agile leasing solutions and our out-of-the-box consultative services. We’re not your typical FMC in that respect. 

We also want to grow across all our key sectors: Corporate, International, Truck, SME, and Network. As for the long-term, we’re pushing hard to make sure we’re prepared in this new technological landscape for our clients. Flexible mobility services and complete digital sustainability will soon be expected of everyone in this industry, so we’re making sure in 2020 that we’re ahead of the curve and that we’re positioned as the go-to experts.

AF: What is LeasePlan’s industry-wide outlook for the U.S. commercial fleet market for 2020 and beyond? 

Dyer: We view the U.S. fleet market positively as there are great opportunities ahead. It’s also an important element of LeasePlan’s overall country network and crucial for our leadership role in the international segment. Though there are a growing number of economic clouds that we may have to navigate, LeasePlan is very well placed to support our customers and collaborate with our key suppliers moving into 2020 and beyond.

This is also a transformational era for transportation. Key decision makers are moving fleet strategy from the bottom line to the top line, and as more customers are looking to outsource and get support for key administrative areas of their fleet, LeasePlan can step in to help. Our ‘As-a-service’ offerings are going to revolutionize the way we do business, but we’ll always treasure the direct, personal connections we have with our clients. 

AF: What are LeasePlan’s initiatives in meeting the needs of its U.S. headquartered multinational clients? What role can LeasePlan USA play in helping to streamline governance of multinational fleet operations and to harmonize the services LeasePlan offers on an international level?

Dyer: Having previously been managing director of LeasePlan International, I can tell you from experience that the success of global relationships comes from having great relationships in place at both a country and an international level. The first job, therefore, is to deliver a great service on a country basis for our customers.

We then need to add value at both the global and local levels through reporting, consultancy, support for fleet policy improvements, OEM selection and new mobility and sustainability solutions when the time is right. Our knowledge on the markets in which we operate through wholly-owned LeasePlan entities is crucial given that similarities and differences clearly exist.

Also, the relationships that we have with our LeasePlan colleagues supporting international clients in other countries helps us to provide the right insight, at the right time.  

AF: Your prior experience as CEO of LeasePlan UK focused on leading key initiatives that put the customer first. What initiatives do you have in place to optimize and enhance the client experience at LeasePlan USA? What additional initiatives will you implement to further enhance the customer experience and customer satisfaction? 

Dyer: I’m glad you asked about this because customer satisfaction is a real passion of mine – and as I’ve already said I truly believe that LeasePlan differentiates itself in this area. We’re always looking to improve our products and services for our customers and drivers, and there’s a strong focus on this initiative through our Customer First program.

We’ve been working hard to identify key customer processes and to improve them across the business, developing and improving important customer tools such as the My LeasePlan app and ePlan. Developing our digital journey and digital touch points is critical as we are seeing that a growing percent of our clients and drivers prefer to interact with us almost exclusively through these channels. 

But we can’t be complacent. To continue being able to provide a top-notch service delivery, we are implementing a number of exciting initiatives, along with some key appointments within the leadership team. I’m pleased to now have Loni Metter as senior vice president of client experience. Loni and her team are committed to delivering industry-best service, listening to client feedback, setting standards and monitoring performance and making improvements to service based on what matters most to our customers. We also have a keen focus on driving employee satisfaction with several new initiatives, and this is imperative because it starts from within. 

AF: What new initiatives has LeasePlan USA implemented to assist clients in making their truck fleets more productive and cost-efficient?

Dyer: The application of our telematics solution and our predictive maintenance scheduling program have shown great results for our medium-, heavy-duty truck fleets.

Being able to visualize key data points and translate them into meaningful messaging for our clients to communicate to their drivers, has eliminated a lot of the guesswork for them. Now they know where to look to tighten up on productivity and cost-efficiency issues. We’re looking forward to extending our client participation in these services in 2020.

AF: LeasePlan foresees mobility solutions as the future of fleet management. How will this vision specifically manifest itself in commercial fleet applications?

Dyer: For any business-critical fleet we need to develop the capability to reduce and minimize vehicle off road time, because it’s immensely disruptive and costly. Any services, therefore, that support this and help us to reduce downtime, such as – Repair, Maintenance and Tire Management, Accident Management, extensive Safety solutions – are crucial. Second, we need to adapt flexible capabilities.

Modern business-critical fleets need different combinations of fleet and leasing solutions to work across short term project work through to long term needs. LeasePlan has the capability to meet this breadth of needs. Truly sustainable mobility is all about optimizing the use of data and adopting the right digital capability to enable clear decision making – decision making on powertrain, technology, and future fleet management for the right driver populations at the right time. Data and digital need to work hand in hand.

AF: How is the digital transformation progressing at LeasePlan USA? What’s been accomplished and what are the next steps to accelerate the rollout of digital solutions for your clients?

Dyer: We’ve made great inroads into our transformation journey in 2019, and our driver engagement studio has marked a huge leap forward for us. Ultimately, we’re aiming for the best user experience with the highest amount of automation possible.

Automating some of the more mundane tasks allows us to put human resources into more important touch-points, and allows us to have more meaningful interactions with our customers. Our intelligent engagement platform will really allow us to expand and scale moving forwards in 2020. 

AF: How do you envision vehicle connectivity and new data-centric fleet applications impacting the future evolution of the fleet management industry and LeasePlan’s service offerings?

Dyer: Telematics has come a very long way already, but we’re seeing increased levels of interest from clients interested in taking advantage of these never before-seen fleet insights, that’s why we developed OneConnect. Preventive maintenance planning can be entirely data-driven versus still using a discomforting amount of guesswork based on relatively unscientific tracking methods. The occurrence of accidents will also be drastically reduced. 

Being able to discover connections never considered before is just one facet of new total connected vehicle telematics systems, as our clients now stand to enjoy a much higher level of customer service. 

The importance of big data backing up these new technologies can’t be understated, and we’re going to need to make sure that we have the capability to manage this data and reshape it in a way that enables us to provide the best value for our clients. Maintaining a device and data agnostic design approach is also going to be essential to our success in this environment. 

AF: LeasePlan has embraced zero-emission vehicles and is one of the 10 founding members of the EV100 global initiative committed to accelerating the transition to EVs. As a charter member of the EV100 initiative, what are you doing to accelerate the adoption of EV fleet vehicles?

Dyer: Our role is to provide the right advice and data to identify what opportunities exist, while also recognizing that we’re here to support our customers’ businesses, so our recommendations have to make sense and be appropriate for the needs of the clients. We’re working closely with the OEMs to ensure we understand the pipeline of zero emission vehicles plus the expected volumes which will be needed for the U.S. fleet market.

Clearly, we also want to do our part and we will also pursue the right opportunities to transition our employee fleet to net zero emissions. This is a global initiative but it’s something we’re especially focused on here at LeasePlan USA. As our employee vehicles approach the renewal stage, for the appropriate driving patterns, we’re encouraging hybrid and EV adoption. 

Read More

Getting behind the wheel before dawn or after sunset requires extra caution. Here are six tips to help you stay safe.

Mile for mile, driving fatalities are three times more likely at night than during the day. Here’s what you can do to stay safe.

See and be seen

Clean your vehicle’s windows inside and out frequently. Make sure the windshield wipers are working, and give the headlights, taillights, and mirrors a regular wipe-down, too.

Watch for wildlife

Deer, raccoons, and other animals often roam at night. Use your high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic, and watch the sides of the road for sudden movement. If an animal jumps in front of your car, don’t swerve. Just hit the brakes.

Light your path

Headlight lenses can get scuffed and dull after years of use. The good news: Refurbishing can double their illuminating power, and a mechanic can quickly handle the job for a fraction of the cost of new lenses.

Avoid the glare

Don’t stare at oncoming headlights. Shift your gaze to the right side of the road until the other vehicle has passed.

Drive defensively

At times when other drivers are more likely to be drowsy, distracted, or intoxicated, it’s critical to obey speed limits and give other cars a wide berth.

Stay alert

It’s easy to get dangerously sleepy during a late-night drive. Avoid driving after your usual bedtime, and take frequent breaks during long trips. Having a passenger for conversation can also help. If your eyelids suddenly feel heavy or you can’t remember the last few miles, find a safe place to pull over and get some rest.

Source: AAA

Read More
As long as crashes happen, juries will want to know what a company has done to prevent them.

In May 2019, a jury awarded a plaintiff $15 million in a case in which a truck driver, talking on his cell phone, failed to stop for stationary traffic, critically injuring a driver who had stopped. As an expert on the case who was asked to testify on the company’s lack of an effective cell phone policy, I can say that one reason the jury was compelled to find in favor of the stopped driver was that the delivery company was taking no significant actions to prevent the crash, other than telling drivers in their welcome packet to not use their phones.

I wrote “…there appears to be no evidence that (the delivery company) took adequate steps necessary to prevent (their driver’s) behavior despite knowledge of the risks of phone use of any kind by its drivers and clear evidence available to fleet safety professionals that fleets with strict cell phone policies have fewer crashes.” The company had no training around their policy, no monitoring or enforcement related to the policy, and knew drivers were using phones while driving, perhaps because calls were made to drivers while they were on the road.

As I say in my talks on the subject, cell phones are designed by smart folks to make them enjoyable to use. What bored driver on a long haul can ignore everything the internet can bring them when it is at the tip of their fingers? And once a driver succumbs to temptation, the devices are almost impossible to ignore. A simple conversation can take a driver’s mind off of the roadway sufficiently to make them miss stopped traffic, and there are many more engaging things drivers do with their devices.

Given the allure of the phones, the only defense is a strong policy. A strong policy must completely ban the devices. That is less of a challenge in this day and age when phones can be put in drive mode allowing for music or maps. And the ability for a white-listed caller, such as a dispatcher, to have a call come through if they are willing to call twice in short succession permits a driver to know the call is important and they need to pull over to take it or call back. And managers need to make sure to follow the policy, too.

The ban must come with education and cover all employees. Drivers need to understand the risk of the behavior, with real examples of what can happen, such as the crash described above. Companies must monitor for employees who fail to follow the ban. That can be as easy as checking phone records when there is a crash, as easy as a phone-based telematics and monitoring system and as thorough as in-car camera systems.

One Fortune 100 company I have worked with saw their crashes decline by 72% below the industry average when they followed these rules. But it took time for employees to understand the rules and that the company was serious about enforcing them. When I last checked, their stock was up, and they were doing well. The only thing that was down was crashes.

As long as crashes happen, juries will want to know what a company has done to prevent them. And companies that don’t have a good answer will rightfully be seen as putting the driving public at risk and placing themselves, and their employees at risk.

By Paul Atchley, PhD, eDriving’s Brain Scientist Advisor

eDriving’s Brain Scientist Advisor Paul Atchley, PhD, is the University of South Florida’s Senior Associate Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Studies. As a Professor of Psychology, he specializes in research in cognitive factors, including the implications of multitasking on driving.

Source: eDriving

Read More

Trucks. We sure do love them in America. We’ve all heard passionately loyal truck owners say they would never consider switching brands. And, looking around, we can easily see the love people have for their trucks by the thousands of dollars in customizations they make to them. Deeper-sounding exhaust systems, lift kits that raise common light-duty trucks to monster-truck levels, larger wheel and tire combinations for crawling over boulders and through the deepest of mud bogs. There’s no mistaking it, American truck owners revel in driving trucks that not only get the job done with ease but look amazing doing it.

The question is, what do the current attitudes surrounding truck ownership, both passenger and commercial, mean for the receptiveness to the clean, quiet, and often elegantly designed electric trucks currently being conceptualized by new startups and legacy brands? Not to mention acceptance of worlds-apart styling like Tesla’s Cybertruck?

No doubt, the use-case benefits of electric trucks are glaringly obvious if well-executed. Despite the potential long-term benefits though, there are many challenges for electric, and the first is the mental shift necessary for truck owners to switch from the proven performance of their diesel trucks to smaller, silent, emission-free trucks that appear less capable. And that’s just for personal light-duty trucks. Commercial light-duty trucks and larger Class 8 semis pose much bigger problems for the adoption of electrified drivetrains when considering the impact higher payloads and longer distances have on battery systems and charging infrastructure.

Personal truck purists may be a hard sell

The electric truck and SUV concepts we’ve recently seen from Rivian certainly look like electric vehicles both on the outside and the inside. Then there is the polarizing design of the Tesla Cybertruck that in no way resembles anything we’ve ever seen. This might not be a good thing when attempting to maximize the adoption of new technology. It’s not easy convincing salt of the earth, hard-working diesel dually drivers that turning on the heat will now require taking their leather work gloves off so they don’t mar up the pretty touchscreen control system. Some may say it’s not really a truck if you have to be that gentle with it, and understandably so. There is work to be done, after all.

Considering the light truck market is the darling of the automotive industry with dominant annual sales numbers when compared with other vehicles in auto-maker lineups, some legacy brands are cautiously contemplating anything that may turn off their intensely brand-loyal buyers. Daimler Trucks North America CEO Roger Nielsen believes the focus at this stage shouldn’t be on rushing to market, but on acquiring knowledge and building customers’ confidence in this technology. “I don’t want to get caught in some kind of race,” Nielsen said during a media roundtable in October. “What we’re trying to do is get the most experience that we can.”

Trucks with electric powertrains certainly possess the potential to displace fossil-fuel trucks when it comes to utility. The incredible low-end torque capabilities of electric motors can make doing hard-working truck things easier without the fossil fuel costs, air pollution, and mechanical malfunctions of diesel and gas motors. Additionally, when building a vehicle from the ground-up, there is more room for adding benefits such as onboard pneumatic systems that can both run tools and adapt the suspension to varying needs. Indeed, if the Tri-Motor Cybertruck features and performance stats are legitimate, buyers will have some real reasons to overcome any qualms they may have about the styling.

Perhaps some brands will serve truck buyers who prefer a more classic truck style by finding ways to simply swap out the powertrains, leaving the rest of the truck visibly identical or only slightly modified. In fact, Ford is developing an electric version of its F-150, rumored to roll out as early as 2021. They even made a publicity video of the truck pulling a train full of fossil-fuel-powered F-150’s. That’s at least one legacy brand going the traditional-style route. If there’s one thing the legacy truck brands know, it’s how to make trucks that scratch the style itch of people who prefer a truck that looks more brawny than graceful. It will be exciting to see how they introduce EV trucks into their lineups with styling that doesn’t discourage purists from giving them a chance.

Commercial trucks are a much bigger challenge

Challenging as it may be for electric to gain acceptance in the personal light-duty truck market, the big commercial Class 8 semis that play an integral roll in our country’s economy pose even greater challenges for electric implementation, but much less due to aesthetics or perceptions of weakness. It’s a no-brainer for any fleet to switch from diesel to a powertrain made up of electric motors and batteries if it can crank out the same miles in the same amount of time. Currently, that’s the main hurdle to overcome for companies working on electric technology for commercial trucks. “The coast-to-coast Class 8 sleeper, I think, is a long way from being electrified purely as a battery-electric vehicle,” said Darren Gosbee, Vice President of Engineering at Navistar, Inc. “The battery technology, we believe, has to go through another revolution of development to be able to get to a point where the energy density of the battery is there.”

Beyond the engineering struggles with long-haul trucks, there are still infrastructure considerations that can make electrifying even a local-only fleet cost-prohibitive or too disruptive to the organization. The massive batteries of EV trucks require staggeringly large amp loads to recharge, and the electrical service necessary to deliver the amount of power needed to recharge even a few EV rigs can totally max out the electrical capabilities of the building. Upgrading existing buildings might be too costly, or worse, it may be necessary to completely move operations to facilities in an area with more adequate support from local electric utilities. This, keep in mind, is the major challenge companies are having that operate local route trucks that are back in the depot each night. For long-haul fleets, the infrastructure complications go much further.

Most obviously, the biggest challenge for OTR fleets is that there needs to be significant charging infrastructure put in place along the routes that long-haul trucks frequent. Just think about all of the trucks filling up the lots and ramps at rest areas every single night. Most idle all night long to maintain power supplies for the comforts of sleeper cab living. What if instead, they needed to charge up? That’s a real problem.

Trillium, which was acquired by Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores in 2016, is working on solutions for long-haul charging that go beyond reliance on the local electric utilities. The company, best known for its more than 200 public and private CNG fueling stations, is expanding into electrification through a partnership with EV Connect, an electric vehicle charging firm, to establish light-duty charging sites at four Love’s locations in California. Trillium’s managing director, Bill Cashmareck said the company is developing a vehicle charging system that would produce on-site power from generators, turbines, and potentially solar energy, giving customers the ability to take power-generation into their own hands and reduce or even eliminate utility charges. That concept could work at a public truck stop or even a customer’s private lot, Cashmareck said. “We think we’re coming up with some innovative solutions for the EV market if fleets choose to go that way.

It seems most of the talk about transitioning Class 8 semis to clean power is about going fully electric and not so much about developing diesel-electric hybrids. One reason is that diesel-electric hybrids still have to navigate the regulations required for diesel. “To me, a hybrid gives you the worst of both worlds,” said Martin Daum, head of Daimler’s global truck and bus division, “You still have to fulfill all the regulations on exhaust for any given diesel truck,” and then you add the challenges of introducing battery-electric technology. That said, there’s a compelling argument for having a powertrain configuration where diesel produces power for most of the trip and then switches to electric power for local deliveries in more sensitive areas where noise and pollution are a stronger concern. Johannes-Joerg Rueger, president of Bosch’s global commercial vehicles business, said in an interview at IAA, “For the last mile, being able to drive fully electric would certainly be a plus. It comes with a cost but would offer some additional options.” It seems that at least for now, the viability of hybrid powertrains in long-haul trucks is still up for debate.

While electrification for OTR fleets isn’t quite here en-masse yet, there is some near-term good news for commercial EV viability when it comes to light and medium-duty local fleets. With shorter trips, lower payloads, and trucks that are back in the local depot nightly, the light and medium-duty local commercial truck segments face far fewer challenges than the OTR Class 8 segment currently does, making them an ideal candidate for developing the technology further for their larger truck counterparts.

Peterbilt Model 220EV

One example is the new Peterbilt Model 220EV delivered to PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division in October of this year. Frito-Lay is starting off their Zero- and Near-Zero-Emission Freight Facility Project with six of the battery-electric medium-duty trucks in its Modesto, Calif. fleet. The zero-emission 220EV is powered by two battery packs for a total capacity of 148kWh, coupled with a Meritor Blue-Horizon two-speed drive eAxle. It boasts a range of more than 100 miles and only one hour needed to recharge, making it ideal for local pick-up and delivery routes.

Many more applications are in the works, too. “Peterbilt continues to lead the charge in electric commercial vehicle development. With Frito-Lay’s Model 220EV, Peterbilt will have 15 battery-electric trucks in three applications — city delivery, regional haul, and refuse — in customers’ hands running real routes and collecting real-world validation data,” said Jason Skoog, Paccar vice president and Peterbilt general manager.

This is exciting news for local delivery, refuse collection, and even tradecraft businesses with fleets, especially considering fuel consumption and maintenance costs are higher for city than highway driving, offering even greater returns on investment in electric fleets. Better yet, these companies will have even fewer barriers to adoption once localized power generation options become more prevalent in the marketplace. All this adds up to higher rates of adoption for light-duty and medium-duty electric trucks, paving the way for technological advances that will offer greater viability for electric in the Class 8 market.

One thing is for sure, and that is trucks of all sizes have an exciting new future ahead of them. Battery technology is only getting better, and the stakes for companies working on electric truck technologies are tremendous, creating huge incentives to invest in the research and development of electric truck tech. This means it’s only a matter of time until we enjoy remarkable new ways to love the trucks we drive and that drive the growth of our country.

Sources: Transport Topics, Automotive Fleet

Read More