Can Your Fleet Be Sustainable Without EVs?
With a major lack of electric vehicle options to replace medium- and heavy-duty ICE trucks, EVs are unfortunately not viable for many utility fleets yet. As manufacturers continue to prioritize the electrification of non-commercial cars, SUVs and pickup trucks, fleets in need of heavier duty electric equipment are left without options.
This doesn’t make ICEV fleets a lost cause for sustainable practice though.
With sustainability being such a hot topic of the past decade, experts and advocates have evaluated how nearly all human activity could be improved to be greener. This is good news for fleet managers who do, in fact, have options for moving forward with sustainability goals, despite the lack of EVs.
Transportation has relied heavily on fossil fuels since the beginning of the 1900s. The fact is that fossil fuels are relatively cheap to produce and they are abundant. Another major perk of continuing to use fossil fuels is that the infrastructure needed to produce, refine and transport the fuel has long been established.
Biofuels, on the other hand, are a new option that transforms raw biomass into liquid fuel. The various fuel types, like ethanol and biodiesel, repurpose vegetable oils, animal fats, crops and other natural waste products.
These alternatives to tradition petroleum-based fuels are a great option for fleets trying to implement greener operations. In addition to repurposing what would have been discarded, biofuels offer a drastic reduction in CO2 emissions compared to fossil fuels. This is a big win for fleet managers who want to hold onto their ICE vehicles for a bit longer.
Telematics collects data from across your fleet in real time. This allows managers to have daily, unified access to how their vehicles are performing, driver behavior, engine diagnostics and more. While these data insights are key in helping fleets optimize operations, they are also a great tool for promoting sustainable practice.
It is evident that idling is a necessary part of the job for some vehicles. So being able to distinguish the “good” idling from the “bad” is a necessary first step for reducing idling time and cutting back on vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.
Another great use for fleet telematics is the ability to track vehicles on-the-job. Managers can carefully plan more efficient work routes that consolidate various stops into one trip and are as direct as possible. They can also identify any extra stops made by drivers to limit inappropriate personal use of company vehicles and fuel.
Similarly, telematics systems can highlight aggressive driving, speeding and harsh breaking. Not only do these behaviors put your driver at risk, but they raise your gas mileage and emissions significantly. Driving recklessly also causes wear and tear on your vehicle and tires, which will ultimately lead to sooner replacement of the vehicle or parts.
Telematics is also useful because it allows fleets to utilize predictive maintenance. The benefit for managers here is two-fold. By working vehicles until they tell you they need servicing, as opposed to relying on an OEM-set schedule, managers save money on maintenance and prolong their vehicles’ lifespan. In terms of sustainability, however, predictive maintenance is key in keep vehicles performing efficiently and emitting as little pollution possible.
Recycling vehicle parts
Many parts of a vehicle can be recycled, including oils and fluids, batteries, engines, scrap metal, glass and tires. Materials like metal, glass and rubber from tires are broken down and transformed into other products. Engine oil is cleaned for reuse. Many other car parts in good condition are simply saved to be used as replacement when another vehicle of the same model is in need.
To arrange for disposal, most local governments have a dedicated branch to assist. Additionally, AAA offers free battery recycling every Earth Day, making it even easier for drivers and fleet managers.
The bottom line
At the end of the day, electric vehicles will not be plausible for most utility fleets for a very long time. This is ultimately in the hands of manufacturers who are mostly concerned with producing passenger EVs for the rest of the population first. This is understandable, but the takeaway here is that sustainability is not all or nothing. Any fleet can take even one or two of these considerations into their strategies and do their part in making the world a bit greener. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and every fleet can start out wherever possible for them.
If you’re interested in finding out more about telematics and other sustainability solutions that fit your fleet’s needs, schedule a demo with a member of our analytics team today.