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Sustainable fleets report: Clean vehicle market growth accelerates

June 21, 2021 By    

Clean technology consulting firm Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA) released 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 firm says.

The assessment focuses on the sustainable fuel and vehicle technologies being adopted in the medium- and heavy-duty fleet sectors: propane-fueled vehicles, gasoline/diesel fleet and engine efficiency, natural gas vehicles, battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and renewable fuels for each of the technology options.

According to GNA, the 2021 State of Sustainable Fleets assessment found that, even in an extreme outlier year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of clean technologies continued to rapidly accelerate, citing an increase in fleet orders and deliveries for natural gas and battery-electric vehicles as well as for low-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, GNA says. In addition, the analysis indicates 83 percent of surveyed early adopter fleets plan to increase their usage of clean vehicle technologies in the next five years.

Fleets reported significant business benefits when clean vehicle technologies are appropriately suited to their sectors, including fuel costs savings, improved total cost of ownership and reduced maintenance. The improved environmental performance of these technologies also remained a benefit consistently noted 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.

That diversified technology landscape has created a multi-fuel, near-term reality for many of today’s fleets, GNA says. In support of this, the report put forward five key findings.

1. Fleets report superior total cost of ownership and fuel cost savings when operating on propane autogas in the school, paratransit and urban delivery sectors, as well as compressed natural gas in the refuse, transit and dedicated heavy-duty sectors.

2. Battery-electric vehicles are situated to become a prominent clean fleet technology in three to five years, the report indicates. Commitments by several large fleets will require vehicle deployments in the tens of thousands per year.

3. Fuel producers and vehicle makers continued to invest hundreds of millions globally to build a foundation for fuel cells, doubling the number of models coming to market, mostly for transit and Class 8 tractors.

4. Two powerful drivers – policy mandates and ambitious sustainability goals – are creating demand for all clean technologies and will continue to drive growth, GNA says.

5. 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.

This year’s analysis and extensive fleet survey reinforces what we have been witnessing across the industry,” says Erik Neandross, CEO of GNA. 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.”

Featured image: Yuliia/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

About the Author:

Carly McFadden is associate editor at LP Gas Magazine. She is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and a native of Cleveland, Ohio. McFadden can be reached at cmcfadden@northcoastmedia.net.

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