How The Fuel Industry is Pivoting from Petrol to Charging Stations
We all know that fuel is key to modern society – we fuel our vehicles, we fuel our bodies, we fuel our minds. But the key to fuel is allowing it to modernize with society as it evolves – especially if you’re a company in which fuel (or fueling equipment) is one of your primary offerings.
But the question is, how do you transition from a world so reliant on petrol and diesel fuels to a world headed towards decarbonization and electrification?
In this episode of Fleet FYIs, I’ve got Allen Goetz with me from Gilbarco – and he’s going to share exactly how Gilbarco, and the industry itself, is faring and weathering this change.
How The Fuel Industry is Pivoting from Petrol to Charging Stations | Fleet FYIs Podcast, Season 2 Episode 20
Gretchen Reese (00:06):
Hey there. Welcome to Fleet FYIs, the weekly podcast by Utilimarc, that reveals how you can make the most of your data for smarter fleet management. My name is Gretchen, and every week you’ll hear from me and some of the industry’s finest in candid conversations that will shed some light on not only two decades worth of data insights, but some of the industry’s hottest talking points and key metric analysis with the aim to help you better understand your fleet from every angle. But before we begin, if this is the first time you’ve heard our show, thanks for stopping by. I’m so glad you decided to come along for the ride with us, but I’ve got a quick favor to ask you, once you’ve finished today’s episode, if you could take a few minutes to leave us a review on your favorite podcasting platform, we would really appreciate it.
Gretchen Reese (00:51):
Give us a rating, five stars I hope, or tell us what you liked or leave us a comment or a question about what you’ve heard in today’s episode. But if we haven’t yet covered a topic that you’re interested in hearing more about, let us know we would be happy to go over it in detail in a later episode. If that sounds good to you, let’s get back to the show.
Gretchen Reese (01:11):
Hi everyone. And welcome back to another episode of the Fleet FYS podcast. I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying these, can I call them autumnal days that we’ve got now and still ahead of us when the chill starts to set in? I can’t believe I just used the word autumnal. That seems a bit crazy to me, but we all know that the changing of seasons can act as a fuel, so to speak for a lot of trends that we see today. And the automotive industry is one that is not exempt from this. We all know that the fuel is the key to modern society. We fuel our vehicles. We fuel our bodies. We fuel our minds, but the key to fuel is allowing it to modernize with society as it evolves, especially if you’re a company in which fuel or at least fueling equipment is one of your primary offerings.
Gretchen Reese (02:05):
But the question is, how do you transition from a world so reliant on petrol and diesel fuels to a world heavily headed towards de-carbonization electrification. In this episode of Fleet FYIs, I’ve got Allen Goetz with me from Gilbarco and he is going to share exactly how Gilbarco and the industry itself is fairing and weathering this change. Let’s dig in, shall we? Hey Allen, welcome to the Fleet FYIs podcast. It’s so great to have you here.
Allen Goetz (02:44):
Thanks. Thanks for having me.
Gretchen Reese (02:46):
So we’ve chatted a bit before, but for those listening today that might not know who you are just yet, could you tell me a little bit more about yourself and what your role is at Gilbarco?
Allen Goetz (02:55):
Yeah, sure. So, so my name is Allen Goetz, and I’m a market development manager for Gilbarco Veeder-Root. Uh, my background has always been in working with fleet, so I’ve got about 15 years in the, uh, in the industry. Started off as a, an aspiring inside salesperson in the fuel card world and worked my way through, uh, an up the ladder to being an outside sales guy, and covering topics ranging from vehicle telematics to route optimization software. I’ve been with Gilbarco Veeder-Root now for, uh, getting close to four years, maybe three and a half, and have been in this position for more than a couple of years and, uh, very excited to have a chance to talk to you about the topics today.
Gretchen Reese (03:34):
Yeah. So can you tell me a little bit about what the history of Gilbarco is itself? Like what’s the ethos of the company, what’s your bread and butter? What’s Gilbarco all about?
Allen Goetz (03:44):
Sure. So, so Gilbarco Veeder-Root is a, is a global organization. Uh, we’re headquartered out of Greensboro, North Carolina, and, uh, for a company of our background, uh, 155 years of experience, uh, big, big, I guess success point is that we’ve built six out of 10 fuel dispensers across the United States. So when you pull up to the gas station, if you’re not immediately familiar with our company, uh, you would, you would certainly know us by product. When you pull up to the gas station before you, uh, start using the pump, before you hit the little yellow and black button to select your fuel grade, if you look above or below that, you’ll probably see our logo.
Allen Goetz (04:22):
Um, something like 160,000 gas stations in the United States, something like 12 fueling positions each, 60% market penetration, chances are good that you have used one of our products. And so, um, we also do significant business in, uh, the commercial industrial and fleet space. So for a company who’s got this great tradition in being a solutions provider, thinking about the fuel of the future just makes a lot of sense. And that’s why we kind of focused on immobility as, uh, an area for growth and strategic investment over the past several years.
Gretchen Reese (04:58):
Interesting. So can you tell me how a fuel infrastructure company starts delving into electrification or starts to pivot to focus on that?
Allen Goetz (05:06):
Yeah, absolutely. So you might think for a company like ours, uh, alternative fuel would be a bit of a dirty word, but that’s really not the case. If we start to think about, uh, bio-balloons and ethanol you, you’ll know that those fuels were very caustic for engines, and guess what, they’re also very caustic for fuel dispensers. So we’ve really had to embrace those, uh, alternative fuels, dating back to 10, 15, maybe even 20 years. On top of that, our company has made significant investments in CNG and LNG compressors, and we even own, excuse me, CNG and LNG dispensers, and we even own a fuel compressor company, a CNG compressor company called ANGI.
Allen Goetz (05:49):
So, uh, these alternative fuels have been a part of our overarching approach, and dating maybe five years or more, we really started to make decisions about how we wanted to enter into the immobility space, because we, we do see this as the fuel of the future.
Gretchen Reese (06:08):
So tell me a little bit about the alternative fuels then. Um, CNG and you said, was it LMG or LNG?
Allen Goetz (06:14):
LNG, Liquified Natural Gas.
Gretchen Reese (06:16):
LNG, okay, just making sure I have my acronyms, right. (laughs) I always like the expanded version of acronyms, but that’s just a me thing. Um, how did you start getting into these alternative fuels or what was the starting point for Gilbarco as the step prior to moving to the electric chargers?
Allen Goetz (06:31):
Sure. Well, you know, for, for the alternative fuel space, there’s been a lot of, uh, success stories and there’ve been a lot of people left high and dry. I think that when, uh, when we take a fuel dispenser and we really boil it down, ultimately its goal is to meter and dispense a fuel. And whether that’s, you know, lamp oil, which is where our company got their start, or if it’s gasoline or diesel at a convenient store or a press natural gas, liquified natural gas, whatever, uh, even into the electronic space. It’s, these are just, uh, requirements that, that a end user expects to be able to interact with one of our products and ultimately obtain the fuel that they’re looking for.
Allen Goetz (07:13):
And whether that’s, uh, paid for immediately at the location where the field was being dispensed in this case electronics, or if it’s being captured for use, uh, for billing purposes later down the line, uh, these are just, uh, the, the ways that we do business. And so it is a very natural flow for us to be bringing these solutions to the market for, uh, convenient stores, for fleets, for public access, workplace charging, uh, all, all sorts of different places for, for this opportunity.
Gretchen Reese (07:42):
Do you think that this change, and I should say this pivot maybe to alternative fuels and then now following to electrification, do you think that was more consumer driven meaning trying to fit the market that’s already demanding it? Or do you think it was top level executives or even, you know, engineers, that sort of thing saying, you know, this is the future, this is where we need to look ahead?
Allen Goetz (08:01):
Yeah. I mean, if I was to, to take that back at a, a macro economic level and, and maybe interject some of my own personal experiences, uh, four years ago, I had a chance to travel to China. And when I landed in Beijing, I got off the airplane and walked out of the airport and you couldn’t see the clouds in the sto-, in the sky, and you couldn’t see the sun in the sky. Uh, that’s because of the le-, incredible levels of pollution, uh, that exists in China. And one way or the other, we all live on this little blue marble. And eventually that level of pollution will cause problems, that’s, that’s my personal belief. So when, when I think about a country like China, and I think about it from an economic standpoint, uh, being a communist country, they have the ability to dictate production at the government level.
Allen Goetz (08:46):
And several years ago, China came out and said that they wanted the leapfrog, the rest of the world in production of, uh, low cost, high quality electric vehicles. And, and ultimately their reason for doing it is their populace is becoming more affluent and they’re choking to death. Uh, people wanna drive, but they can’t afford anymore, uh, emissions in China. And so with, with the Chinese government making the statement about, uh, electric vehicles, if I was an OEM like a Ford or GM, or, uh, Volvo trucks or Navistar or whomever, I, basically a Chinese company who can dictate, uh, the government dictates production, sits down across the table and says, “I wanna eat your lunch.” W-what are you gonna do? You’re going to have to make a pivot to, um, a, a competitive product, and in this case, that’s, that’s electric vehicles. And I think that’s why we’re seeing these commitments coming from Ford, GM, Mercedes, you know.
Allen Goetz (09:47):
And pick your OEM, they’re saying that they are going to move to 100%, zero emission vehicles by 2035, 2040, whatever. So for a, for a company like Gilbarco Veeder-Root, it, it, you don’t really have to read the tea leaves too deep to say, “Gosh, what do we do if the gas station doesn’t have gas in the future or the fleet doesn’t use gasoline in the future?” Uh, it’s a, i-i-it’s a logical step for us to continue our capabilities as not only a hardware provider, but a software provider and a service partner going into the future, making sure we can cover what our customers are looking for.
Gretchen Reese (10:23):
Absolutely. And, um, I guess this can kind of stem off of this a little bit because we’ve kind of covered how your organization, you know, sees the transition from fuel to electric. But how do you think the industry itself is handling that transition? I mean, obviously depending on your region and depending on your, you know, I could call it a love affair with internal combustion engines or not, you know, there might be some pushback or there’s gonna be some overwhelming support. So I’ll turn this over to you. How do you find the transition from fuel to electric, um, industry-wide?
Allen Goetz (10:53):
Yeah, well, you know, industry is very broad. So I, I typically try, and break down these thoughts between, uh, classes of vehicles that are being operated. And there’s a lot of pros to going electric for, for fleet operators. Uh, if we take it off, take it out the small end of things, you can electrify your, your small sedans with low mileage, uh, low duty, low duty range. It’s pretty easy to take a Chevy, you know, Chevy Malibu and turn it into a Chevy Bolt. Uh, the charging infrastructure for smaller vehicles is pretty inexpensive to own and operate. And a lot of fleets have started by dipping their toes in, into electrification starting with low hanging fruit.
Allen Goetz (11:34):
If this was, uh, you know, a commercial operation, it might be salespeople, uh, and their vehicles. If it was a government operation, it could be, uh, parking enforcement or tows enforcement, those vehicles are typically pretty low mileage. If I move it upper on in the vehicle classifications, we hit a challenge. And the, the challenge is a paucity of commercially available electric light duty, medium duty vehicles. And, and by that particularly, I mean, pickup trucks and step vans. So with, uh, Lordstown launching your endurance vehicle last year and Ford Motor Company launching the F-150 Light, being in the eTransit vehicles, we know that here in maybe the next year or so, this gap will start to be filled.
Allen Goetz (12:21):
And so a lot of our fleets who have sustainability goals or mandates that come from the governor that come from the mayor, that come from the council, um, they’ve been dying to electrify pickup trucks, they just don’t have a pickup truck they can buy yet. So I think, you know, that’s a, that’s an area where a lot of vehicles will be moving, a lot of fleets are going to be interested. If I was to continue to move up the vehicle spectrum, and we started talking about the more medium duty and heavy duty vehicles, you might note that there’ve been a lot of pilot programs that are being run by some of the largest fleets in the country. And these pilot programs have been primarily driven by available grant dollars. So you might think about vehicles, uh, yard spotters in, uh, in LTL freight facility or, um, relatively low mileage, 18 wheelers that are performing a delivery route.
Allen Goetz (13:17):
What we’re seeing though is, uh, commercial OEMs in the class six, seven, and eight space are starting to release their vehicles. And these commercial offerings are incredibly exciting for the medium duty and heavy duty fleet operators, because they are looking at a significantly lower cost to operate the vehicle both for fuel and for preventative maintenance, even though the cost of the vehicle is, uh, potentially, uh, uh, uh, a volume magnitude of order, a couple of volumes of magnitude of order. The overarching cost of operating that vehicle over the life of it will turn into a really significant return on investment. And so we’re seeing a little fleets, big fleets and everywhere in between taking a hard look at, uh, electrification and finding it to be a sound option for a lot of their use cases.
Gretchen Reese (14:08):
What do you think some of, um, you could say, even from a fleet level, large or smaller, even on the consumer side, what do you think some of the biggest roadblocks or maybe challenges, or I guess you could even call them a barrier if you want to, um-
Allen Goetz (14:20):
Gretchen Reese (14:20):
… I’m just throwing in every synonym I can. Um, what do you think are some of the biggest roadblocks to the path to electrification?
Allen Goetz (14:27):
Sure. For, uh, you know, maybe we start with consumers. The biggest roadblock that consumers have is, uh, is range anxiety. And that’s, what’s the, the industry term that’s been coined that people are afraid they are going to go out and not be able to make it back. And ultimately, I think as the vehicles continue to get better, the, the ranges are continuing to improve. Elon Musk has, like him or don’t like him, he has proven that he can make a car that will, you know, lick a quarter of that and link a Corvette in a quarter mile and still be, you know, very economically feasible. Uh, for, for a consumer, they’re starting to realize that this is a direction of interest for them. But I think we’re their, their, this range anxiety problem comes in, it’s just really a matter of perception and understanding.
Allen Goetz (15:16):
Average American family is gonna have two vehicles and, you know, you know, maybe a sedan and a minivan. Okay, great. Well, are you gonna electrify both of these vehicles next year? Probably not. Could you electrify your sedan next year? Probably. So are you gonna take that sedan on every road trip? Probably not, you’ll have the mini van to go across country. But when we think about, uh, the opportunity to perform level one charging in your garage, never before have you had a gas station in your garage. Never before, have you started a commute on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with a full tank. These are some pretty exciting opportunities for, for the consumer to, to move.
Allen Goetz (15:59):
I-if I pivot and I think more about the commercial fleets, you know, their, their challenges, uh, come again at the magnitude of order because instead of individual vehicles pulling electricity off the grid, you could be talking about, um, substantial power coming out, uh, to, to fill these vehicles battery packs full of electrons. And I think, you know, the solutions that, that come to play there are going to involve more about smart charging and software, software on the side that will enable a fleet to deploy some smart charging strategy use and power management strategies. And I can give you a couple of simple examples there. If, if I was a, a fleet and my business day is done at 5 o’clock, the vehicle comes in and it plugs into a charger and it starts charging, I have probably just committed a charging full port in that I’ve started charging at what may be the highest daily, you know, the hourly rate time of use rate coming from the utility.
Allen Goetz (17:00):
So if that vehicle plugs in at five and it charges from 5 o’clock till midnight, from 5 o’clock to 9 o’clock is the most expensive time for them to use energy. That’s when everybody’s using energy, they come home, they turn on their ovens, air conditioners are running. Through smart charging we can solve for a very simple challenge like that by allowing that fleet operator to plug the vehicle in at five, but maybe the smart charger doesn’t start charging until 9 o’clock or 10 o’clock or whatever. And they’ve still got plenty of hours to fill that battery pack full of electrons until six or seven in the morning when that fleet vehicles starts running again.
Gretchen Reese (17:39):
So can you tell me a little bit then about the difference between like a level one and a level two charger just for people that might not know the difference yet?
Allen Goetz (17:46):
Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, there’s, there’s questions about levels and there’s questions about plugs and if it’s okay, I’ll probably address them both.
Gretchen Reese (17:53):
Go for it.
Allen Goetz (17:53):
So when we, when we think about level one charging, if you can put on your imagination cap and imagine you just came home with a brand new electric vehicle a sedan, and you’ve it brought it home and you go, “Holy smokes, what did I just do? How am I gonna charge this thing?” The, the likely answer is that you have purchased with the vehicle, a very inexpensive level one charger. And this level one charger is gonna plug into a standard consumer wall outlet, and it’s gonna plug into your vehicle, and it’s basically a fancy extension cord. Um, it’s going to allow for a, a fairly modest amount of power flow from a standard wall outlet into your vehicle. And guess what?
Allen Goetz (18:33):
For most consumers in America, they drive 30 miles a day. If a level one charger puts something like two or three miles back on that vehicle in range over an hour, and you park your vehicle from seven at night to seven in the morning, you’ve got 12 hours of charging at, uh, three miles an hour. You just put 36 miles of range back on the vehicle, or had the capability to put 36 miles of range back on the vehicle that only drove 30. Guess what? You’ve got a full, full tank. Level one charging works for most consumers, but the wheels fall off the wagon, pardon the pun there, when you drive more than 30 miles a day. So if we’re talking about a fleet operator or a consumer who has a longer commute, or maybe a consumer who wants to electrify, but they live in a condo or an apartment complex, and they don’t have access to a wall outlet or garage, level two charging is a great solution.
Allen Goetz (19:30):
Uh, level two charging for, uh, for a consumer is going to run off the same power that powers your electric dryer at your house or at a commercial location, it’s the power you have in the building anyways. So these chargers are gonna put something like 20 to 25 miles of range back on the vehicles battery pack over the course of an hour. And for a company like Gilbarco Veeder-Root, this opens up opportunities for us to work with, uh, public parking facilities. It allows us to employ chargers with, uh, with partners at the library, the, the civic center. You’ll see level two chargers at the grocery store, the movie theater. You’ll also start to find them popping up as dedicated specialized chargers for fleet use, where maybe the public never sees that there’s a charger behind the public works facility and that’s where the fleets parks their vehicles and charges them overnight. We do a ton of business in that space as well.
Allen Goetz (20:29):
Uh, at the top of the pyramid is, DC fast charging or level three charging. And, and this is really where, uh, we start to see applications for the convenient store industry, you know, and for fleets who are operating large vehicles. Uh, for the C-store, nobody wants to hang out at the gas station for four hours to charge a vehicle. Consumers are very well-trained that they should, you know, pull in, stop by, maybe spend 15, 20 minutes and then be on their merry way. For a road trip, maybe it’s 20 or 30 minutes. 20 to 30 minutes on a DC fast charger will take a vehicle, a sedan from a battery percentage in the 10s up to a battery percentage near 80%. That’s a lot of range that you’ve just added to your vehicle for the road trip.
Allen Goetz (21:13):
Conversely, on the fleet side of things, uh, when we think about big vehicles, we think about refuse trucks. We think about, uh, box trucks or, or full on 18 wheelers, the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the battery pack, the bigger battery pack, the bigger the charger needed to make it capable of performing the work it needs to do in the day within the duty cycle or charge time available. So, so that’s, I guess a quick summary on level one level two, or level three chargers. And, uh, you know, we, we talk about plugs next or whatever, wherever we wanna go.
Gretchen Reese (21:45):
Let’s go for plugs. Why not? (laughs)
Allen Goetz (21:48):
Sounds good. So, so plugs, we get a lot of questions about plugs in, in my line of business. So I think most consumers have come to an understanding that Teslas have their own proprietary plug. And yeah, they should do.
Gretchen Reese (22:00):
Allen Goetz (22:02):
Those Tesla drivers, however, don’t want to be limited to only a Tesla charging facility outside of their level one charger in their garage. So most consumers who, who drive Teslas keep, uh, an adapter in their vehicle that will allow them to plug into some of the other more common plugs, uh, here in the United States or around the world. Uh, in the US the most common level two charging plug is called a J1772. And that is the industry standard, that’s what you’ll see on GMs, Fords, uh, vehicles coming over from Europe, that is their, their standard plug. Um, Japanese vehicles, you’ll see more of a chain more style connector. It’s for their DC fast charge requirements. Or on a, uh, on American or European vehicle, the connector for the, for DC fast charge is called the CCS1.
Allen Goetz (22:54):
But when, when consumers are making a decision about what vehicle to purchase, uh, charging stations are becoming more and more standardized to J1772 and CCS1 in the United States. And, uh, I think here recently, there was some, some media, some news that came out of Tesla saying that they were going to start to open their supercharger network to other vehicles. Uh, less like anything else that Elon Musk does that, that press release was very light on details, but understanding that Tesla has built a, a very impressive network of charging stations around the country, the ability for competitors Nissan Leaf or Chevy Bolt to pull into those locations, that’s pretty exciting.
Gretchen Reese (23:39):
Absolutely. Well, the crazy thing was, is I actually noticed this, um, the last time I was at a Target in person, and, and didn’t do all my target shopping online, but there was a huge bank of Tesla charges and then a huge bank of every other charger that you could possibly have there. I mean, I wasn’t sure exactly the type because I don’t drive an electric car. However, it was really interesting to see the difference because, you know, I always thought that all charges were at least similar enough, you know, that it wouldn’t be brand specific. But fascinating to know about, especially with the inclusion of the adapters there.
Allen Goetz (24:11):
Gretchen Reese (24:13):
They’re kind of like, um, almost you could even equate it to, uh, the iPhone, the headphones, um, the ones that have the little lightning cable on the bottom and needing an adapter for every other device that you want to plug it into.
Allen Goetz (24:23):
That’s right. It’s, you’re, you’re spot on there. Tesla is the iPhone and, uh, CCS1 and J1772, are the Android approach.
Gretchen Reese (24:31):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). (laughs) Love it. Um, so can you tell me how you see EVs beginning to make an impact for global sustainability kind of along those lines?
Allen Goetz (24:40):
Sure, absolutely. So if we, if we think about, um, emissions and in, in general, and maybe I’ll start by paraphrasing something that the, uh, that Arnold Schwarzenegger said when he was governor of California. Uh, Arnold had a room full of people, and he said, someone asked him about sustainability and electric vehicles. And he said, “Well, if I was to lock you in an airtight room with a running vehicle, would you rather it be an internal combustion engine or a, a battery electric?” And that’s really what it boils down to. Uh, ultimately, uh, the science shows. I mean, we, we produce emissions when we have individualized, uh, engines running and creating power. Now, economies of scale will tell you that, uh, centralizing the production of power is going to be significantly more efficient than each of us at a traffic light generating our own power.
Allen Goetz (25:30):
So do EVs pull power off the grid? Obviously, everybody says, yes. Is the grid 100% clean? No. Is the grid today cleaner than it was 10 years ago? Yes. Is there opportunity for improvement? Yes. There’s data available from the so-, uh, I think it’s the society of Concerned Scientists that show what your mile per gallon equivalent would have to be in a gasoline vehicle today to be as clean as an electric vehicle. And depending on where you live in the country, some of those figures are in the 50 mile per gallon range and some range up to the triple digits. So ultimately by, by making a transition to electric vehicles, we are allowing for a greater economy of scale coming out of our power facilities. We’re allowing for the capture of energy from the sun, from the wind, uh, potentially someday from title.
Allen Goetz (26:29):
We are, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re moving in a direction that is going to leave us with a cleaner environment and less emissions for our kids and our grandkids. And I think you don’t have to be, uh, a gun-ho tree hugger to think that this is going to be the path of the future. And on top of it, with these, uh, the things that we mentioned previously from the OEMs, if they’re not making internal combustion engines anymore, you’ll have to buy what’s commercially available. So electrification, maybe on your radar whether you care for it to be or not.
Gretchen Reese (27:03):
Yeah. I think that’ll definitely be interesting, you know, just to see, not just the adoption rate, um, or not adoption rate, the adoption rate. That’s more what I meant to say. Um, but then also just to see how the attitudes change surrounding EVs and, you know, driving an electric car too. I mean, you know, one thing I hear a lot, granted, you know, I’m in a very Northern climate state, you know, a lot of people say, well, you can’t have an EV here because it’s too cold. It won’t run. There will be issues with the heating and cooling system, because if you’re trying to heat it a battery won’t get your air warm enough to defrost your windshield completely like a fuel powered car can. And there’s so much pushback, but yet at the same time, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen someone with an EV have that exact issue, but it’s just kind of this misconception or this notion that might not be as good.
Allen Goetz (27:54):
Yeah. It’s, and there are challenges, uh, you know, does, does cold weather impact your a, ability to use the vehicle? It impacts the battery. It also impacts your need for HVAC. You have to have heat and there’s no, uh, cacophony of little explosions going on under the hood generating heat, like in an internal combustion engine. So do EVs have less range when it’s cold outside than an internal combustion engine? Yes. For most consumers, is that a problem? No. (laughing) Most consumers are not going to be driving 250 plus miles a day. And so the likelihood of that actually being an issue is very small. Again, I stick to the idea that the, the average American household, if it has two vehicles will electrify one and the other will electrify as the technology continues to get better. The batteries are getting better, you’re able to pack more electricity into a variety of different combinations of, of chemistry in the battery pack today than you could three years ago, five years ago, certainly 10 years ago.
Allen Goetz (28:58):
Uh, the cost of that battery is continuing to decline. There are some, some, you know, Wall Street magic numbers about what that cost per kilowatt should look like and we’ll see if we get there or not. But as the, the batteries improve the costs go down. The charging infrastructure continues to get built out, as we see, uh, these dollars flowing from the federal government, gosh, what a huge impact this is going to have on the industry to make sure the charging infrastructure is able to meet what a consumer’s demand is. It’s a, it’s a very exciting time to be in the business.
Gretchen Reese (29:32):
I agree. So what do you think, do you think we just debunked and invalidated range anxiety from its root cause? (laughs)
Allen Goetz (29:40):
Yeah, well. I hope that, I hope that a savvy consumer will do their own research and we’ll decide to electrify if it fits their needs. I think that’s really where it boils down to. And I also think that as we see more of EVs on the road, more people become comfortable with this. As it goes from, I once knew a guy who said he knew a guy who had an EV to, uh, my brother-in-law bought one. It becomes more acceptable. People are more willing to embrace the idea of, of running a vehicle that has 250 miles range. It, it just takes a little bit of time, but I think we’re moving in a very rapid clip to change some opinions about this, and it’s very exciting.
Gretchen Reese (30:20):
Yeah. I sure think so, too. So I’m curious what you think about like some of these 2030, 2040 sustainability commitments, ’cause you were talking about it a little bit earlier in the show. Do you think they’re actually achievable based on the plans that some manufacturers or even some organizations have already outlined?
Allen Goetz (30:37):
I think they’re gonna be a challenge. I think that, uh, 2035 is, is a pretty reasonable date. Uh, I think that a lot of fleets are, or fleets primarily are looking at, um, a phased in implementation approach and that’s probably the smartest way to go. No one is going to electrify 100% of their fleet overnight. The vehicles simply haven’t been available yet. Uh, the pickup trucks aren’t really, I mean, the F150 Lightning is launched, but it’s, it’s on pre-sale right now. Um, I think that in the next three or four years, people are going to be able to start to make that jump from a handful of Nissan Leafs to, uh, maybe a more significant deployment, maybe, uh, reaching, you know, 20, 30, 40, 50 vehicles in the fleet. They’re gonna start with a couple of F150 Lightnings.
Allen Goetz (31:24):
There’s going to be bugs. There’s going to be problems. There will be hiccups and, and speed bumps, but people will continue to work through them because they have a mandate coming from the government. Or maybe they’re just chasing a total cost of ownership number. Because these vehicles have something like 40% less parts, there’s a significant reduction in cost of maintaining the vehicle. And so that pencils out to make a lot of sense to people, and my joke is, you know, green has to meet green. You have to be able to run your fleet, uh, you know, in a prosperous manner. And, um, you can’t just think money on, on bad technology.
Allen Goetz (32:06):
So I think a lot of fleets are in pilot mode. They’re, they’re testing it out. The vehicles that are on the market today have proven to be commercially viable. So will people be able to meet their sustainability goals by 2030? Sure. If those goals have been smartly outlined, um, you know, are there, is there a, a dearth of available F1 or firefighting trucks? Well, no, there’s not a lot of choices on that market. Are people comfortable in replacing their ambulances? You know, their internal combustion, uh, ambulances with EVs? And maybe, maybe not yet, but, um, most fleets aren’t just firetrucks and ambulances, there are a lot of other vehicle options in there. And so that’s why it’s so exciting to see, uh, these vehicles coming out from so many OEMs in this trajectory.
Gretchen Reese (32:54):
Absolutely. So kind of pivoting a little bit, Allen, uh, can you tell me what some of the exciting things are that are happening at Gilbarco right now that are either in line with electrification and pivoting from fuel to EVs or what else is going on?
Allen Goetz (33:09):
Yeah, sure. So w-we’re seeing a ton of market activation that is, uh, being driven by available funds dollars or grant monies. So when, when Volkswagen got their hand caught in the cookie jar in the dieselgate emissions scandal, they had to cough up a couple of billion dollars and that got split up in between states based on impact, more or less a direct correlation based on population. So these Volkswagen environmental mitigation settlement dollars have been year marked with projects that involve charging infrastructure or a, a clean energy clean vehicle replacement. So I’ve seen a lot of market activation there. We’re seeing a lot of corridor charging programs where, uh, the requirements or the ideas to have a DC fast charge station, every 50 miles on the United States interstate system.
Allen Goetz (33:58):
Or what’s a great place for a road trip for a stop? I don’t know, let’s pick somewhere that’s well lit, 24/7, has an attendant, has a bathroom, has food and beverage options and welcomes strangers. Gosh, that’s, that’s the convenient store. Um, it makes a lot of sense to put a DC fast charger at convenient store. For the, the fleet side of things, something that’s new and very exciting from Gilbarco Veeder-Root is, uh, just last month we launched a new product called, um, an Amps2Go Series F19. And this is a, a level two charger that runs on the same voltage requirements, uh, 208 volt commercial power, single-phase power plant, it has an output of 19.2 kilowatts. That’s almost three times as much power coming out of the connector. For the upcoming, um, uh, lighter end of pickup trucks and into step vans and box trucks, those fleet vehicles are gonna benefit greatly from having a, a more powerful charge available. And so it was very exciting to be in our position right now.
Gretchen Reese (35:02):
Well, that’s good to hear. So, Allen, is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap this show up?
Allen Goetz (35:09):
No, I don’t think so. I really appreciate the time and the chance to circle up and talk a little bit about the industry and, uh, how excited we are to be in this space.
Gretchen Reese (35:17):
Absolutely. Me too. Um, and I’m sure that there will probably be a few, so just in case that is the case, if anyone would like to continue this conversation outside of Fleet FYIs, where can they find you?
Allen Goetz (35:29):
Absolutely. So you can head to the Gilbarco Veeder-Root website. Uh, take a look under products and you’ll see, uh, some pretty comprehensive listings of our EV charging information. Uh, certainly you’ll be able to find me on LinkedIn and reach out that way, or, uh, you know, reach out through the company website and give me via email and we can connect from there.
Gretchen Reese (35:47):
Awesome. Sounds good. Well, thank you again, Allen, I greatly appreciate the time out of your day today to sit down and record a show with me, and hopefully we’ll be able to do it again in the future.
Allen Goetz (35:56):
All right. Sounds good. Thanks for asking.
Gretchen Reese (36:10):
So from fuel to electrification, next taking on plug standardization and so much more, there’s a lot to learn as we witnessed the, some may call it once in a lifetime event of the transition to electric vehicles. Because when you think about it, once we go electric, especially as many of you know that petrol or at least the crude oil it’s made from is a non-renewable resource. So the likelihood of a switch, of a switching back is pretty slim at best. And that comes with a vast array of challenges. One, we’ll have to be nimble and tackling as we push forward with this movement.
Gretchen Reese (36:46):
And if you’re interested in delving more into the world of EVs, because like we said, it’s vast and there’s a lot of facets. So you need to make sure you’re well-informed, especially if you’re considering them as a purchase for your fleet, or if you’re a consumer looking to make the switch, make sure you listen to the kickoff episode of our new global sustainability series. It’ll give you a bit of an idea as to where exactly we are around the world, in our transition to electric vehicles. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on the electrification movement as a whole. Is it going the way you anticipated, Moving faster or slower? What do you think?
Gretchen Reese (37:17):
Send me an email connect with me on LinkedIn or use the hashtag Utilimarc Fleet FYIs, so that I can see what you think, because as always, I’d love to hear from you. So until next week, that’s all for me, ciao.
Gretchen Reese (37:32):
Hey, there, I think this is the time that I should cue the virtual high five, because you’ve just finished listening to another episode of the Fleet FYIs podcast. If you’re already wanting more content, head over to utilimarc.com, which is Utilimarc with a C, U-T-I-L-I-M-A-R-C.com for the show notes and extra insights coming straight from our analysts to you. That’s all for me this week so until next time I’ll catch you later.
If you or someone you know is interested in appearing on the Fleet FYIs podcast, please email our content manager for more information.