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State of Sustainable Fleets Finds Growth of Clean Vehicle Market, Despite Outlier Year

May 26, 2021 GMT
State of Sustainable Fleets Report 2021
State of Sustainable Fleets Report 2021

SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Clean technology consulting firm and producers of the annual Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA) has updated its annual State of Sustainable Fleets report with the 2021 Market and Trends Brief, an analysis examining the current state of today’s leading on-road clean vehicle technologies for fleet operators. The assessment’s findings are sourced via hundreds of survey results from medium- and heavy-duty fleet operators across the U.S. as well as industry data and the author’s independent technical analysis.

The 2021 State of Sustainable Fleets assessment confirmed that, even in an extreme outlier year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of clean technologies continued to rapidly accelerate, with an increase in fleet orders and deliveries for natural gas and battery-electric vehicles as well as for lower carbon renewable fuels. Fleet survey data found that many clean vehicle technologies and fuels are providing both economic and environmental sustainability benefits when each fuel and technology is best matched to the right application and duty cycle. The analysis indicates that the coming years will be strong for the growth of the sustainable fleet technology sector with 83% of surveyed early adopter fleets indicating they plan to increase their use of clean vehicle technologies in the next five years.


Produced with support from the report’s title sponsors Daimler Trucks North America, Penske Transportation Solutions, and Shell Oil Company, and supporting sponsors Cummins, Inc., DTE Energy, and Geotab, the report offers additional insights into the key trends shaping the clean vehicle market. The assessment focuses on the leading sustainable fuel and vehicle technologies being adopted in the medium- and heavy-duty fleet sectors: gasoline/diesel fleet and engine efficiency, natural gas vehicles, propane vehicles, battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, and renewable fuels for each of the technology options. The analysis covers public, private, and for-hire fleets, including school, municipal, shuttle, urban delivery, refuse, public utility, transit, regional-haul, and long-haul sectors.

Fleets reported significant business benefits when clean vehicle technologies are mature and appropriately suited to their sector, including fuel cost savings, improved total cost of ownership, and reduced maintenance. The improved environmental performance of these technologies also remained a benefit consistently confirmed by surveyed fleets. The year’s assessment concludes that leading fleet operators are utilizing a mixture of clean technologies along with incumbent fuels and efficiency measures, enabling them to realize immediate emission reductions while satisfying their own increased commitments on sustainability, and demands from customers for the same. This diversified technology landscape has created a multi-fuel near-term reality for many of today’s fleets. In support of this, the report put forward five key findings:

  • Fleets report superior total cost of ownership and fuel costs savings when operating on the mature technologies of compressed natural gas in the refuse, transit, and dedicated heavy-duty sectors and on propane in the school, paratransit, and urban delivery sectors.
  • Battery-electric vehicles are poised to become a leading clean fleet technology in three to five years. Commitments by several large fleets will require vehicle deployments in the tens of thousands per year. While vehicle costs remain high for this developing technology, and OEMs are just beginning to enter serial production, investment to build this market is already enormous and growing.
  • Fuel producers and vehicle makers continued investing hundreds of millions globally adding to the billions of dollars already committed to build a foundation for fuel cells, doubling the number of models coming to market, mostly for transit and Class 8 tractors.
  • Two powerful drivers—policy mandates and ambitious sustainability goals—are creating demand for all clean technologies and will continue to drive growth.
  • Sustainability benefits, including the emissions reduction potential of vehicles and fuel, are improving for nearly all existing clean vehicle technologies, including efficiency, renewable fuels, and cleaner vehicles. Sustainability benefits remain a top motivator for fleets.

“At Daimler Trucks, we are proud to provide highly efficient and reliable trucks to our customers so that they can keep our collective world moving,” said Rakesh Aneja, head of eMobility at Daimler Trucks North America. “Thanks to the close collaboration with our customers through our process of co-creation, we will continue to build on our legacy while further reducing our carbon footprint with the introduction of zero emissions battery-electric commercial vehicles.”

“As the transportation industry continues its efforts to run cleaner, we are excited to be at the forefront of this movement,” said Drew Cullen, senior vice president, fuels and facility services, Penske Transportation Solutions. “Once again, we are pleased to serve as a report sponsor. Our electric truck efforts at Penske have gone well and its success is a great example of a truly collaborative public and private partnership.”

“Based on Shell’s long history of providing fuels and lubricants that deliver efficient performance for fleet operators, we are pleased to support the latest research from GNA that spans the spectrum of fuel types from conventional liquid fuels, to biofuels and alternative fuels like hydrogen and battery electric,” said Patrick Carré, vice president, commercial road transport sectors & decarbonization, Royal Dutch Shell. “We continue to work closely with our customers in the midst of growing demand for low-carbon energy products and services, in line with our strategy to accelerate the transition to net-zero emissions, in step with society.”

“This year’s analysis and extensive fleet survey reinforces what we have been witnessing across the industry,” said Erik Neandross, CEO of GNA, the firm authoring the report. “With the total cost of ownership increasingly being confirmed across multiple clean fuel and technology options, fleets continue to expand their commitment to and investment in these sustainable vehicle options, a trend we fully expect to continue to accelerate in the coming few years.”

Unique to findings this year, the assessment includes insights from non-adopter fleets — those that have never used one of the four leading clean vehicle drivetrains included in the assessment. Data and insights from these non-adopter fleets help better evaluate their readiness and perceived, or actual, barriers to technology adoption. Notably, these fleets report they would need to be convinced of total cost of ownership benefits, proven performance of clean vehicles by similar fleets, and improved fueling availability – much of which is reported in this analysis – before implementing clean vehicles.

Executives from the report’s title sponsors will discuss the findings and the outlook for the market during a virtual launch event on Wednesday, May 26, 8:30 am (PT). The report sponsors will also be joined by John Morris, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Waste Management, which operates one of the largest clean commercial vehicle fleets in North America. Executive panelists include:

  • Rakesh Aneja, head of eMobility, Daimler Trucks North America
  • Patrick Carré, vice president, commercial road transport sectors & decarbonization, Royal Dutch Shell
  • Drew Cullen, senior vice president, fuels and facility services, Penske Transportation Solutions
  • John Morris, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Waste Management
  • Erik Neandross, chief executive officer for Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA) will moderate the discussion.

For more information about the report and the launch event series, visit www.StateofSustainableFleets.com.

About Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA)

GNA is North America’s leading consulting firm specializing in the development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies, near-zero and zero emission vehicles, and low carbon fuels for transportation and commercial use. GNA’s core expertise is providing strategic support to develop and bring technologies to market, clean fleet strategy development and execution, managing relationships with key public agencies, grant writing and administration, as well as implementing effective outreach, communication, and education programs. www.gladstein.org

About Daimler Trucks North America

Daimler Trucks North America LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company, the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

About Penske Transportation Solutions

Penske Transportation Solutions is the umbrella brand for Penske Truck Leasing, Penske Logistics, EPES Transport Systems and Penske Vehicle Services. Our businesses provide innovative transportation, supply chain and technology solutions to keep the world moving forward. Visit www.GoPenske.com to learn more.

About Shell Oil Company

Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in more than 70 countries. In the U.S., Shell operates in 50 states and employs more than 17,000 people working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future.

About Cummins, Inc.

Cummins Inc., a global power leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from diesel, natural gas, electric and hybrid powertrains and powertrain-related components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, batteries, electrified power systems, hydrogen generation and fuel cell products. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), since its founding in 1919, Cummins employs approximately 57,800 people committed to powering a more prosperous world through three global corporate responsibility priorities critical to healthy communities: education, environment and equality of opportunity. Cummins serves its customers online, through a network of company-owned and independent distributor locations, and through thousands of dealer locations worldwide and earned about $1.8 billion on sales of $19.8 billion in 2020.

About DTE Energy

DTE Energy is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric company serving 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan and a natural gas company serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE portfolio includes energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, renewable natural gas, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading. As an environmental leader, DTE will reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions by more than 80 percent by 2040 to produce cleaner energy while keeping it safe, reliable and affordable. DTE is committed to serving with its energy through volunteerism, education and employment initiatives, philanthropy and economic progress. Information about DTE is available at dteenergy.com, empoweringmichigan.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com.

About Geotab

Geotab is advancing security, connecting commercial vehicles to the internet and providing web-based analytics to help customers better manage their fleets. Geotab’s open platform and Marketplace, offering hundreds of third-party solution options, allows both small and large businesses to automate operations by integrating vehicle data with their other data assets. As an IoT hub, the in-vehicle device provides additional functionality through IOX Add-Ons. Processing billions of data points a day, Geotab leverages data analytics and machine learning to help customers improve productivity, optimize fleets through the reduction of fuel consumption, enhance driver safety, and achieve strong compliance to regulatory changes. Geotab’s products are represented and sold worldwide through Authorized Geotab Resellers. To learn more, please visit www.geotab.com and follow us @GEOTAB and on LinkedIn.

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SOURCE Penske Transportation Solutions