Last month, we attended the Northern California Clean Fleet Expo, which took place October 16-18 at the McClellan Conference Center in Sacramento, California. The expo highlighted some of the latest trends in low-emission and zero-emission technologies, the latest in on- and off-road technologies, and insights from policy and regulatory leaders at the state and federal levels. The event was great, and we got an inside scoop into the latest trends in the industry by visiting exhibitor booths and attending several workshops run by industry experts, who spoke to themes that are quite interesting from a Fleet Management perspective—which we’ll touch upon throughout this blog post.
Three Revolutions that Will Change the Transportation Industry
The first workshop we attended, 3 Revolutions: Automation, Shared Mobility & Electrification, talked about the three big themes in relation to the future of vehicles: automated, shared, and electric vehicles. The workshop featured Jennifer Gress, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, and Mollie D'Agostino, Policy Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. Jennifer’s experience includes advising Mayor Steinberg on policies relating to housing and community development, transportation, and sustainability—and it was interesting to see her discuss some of the upcoming trends that will possibly change the transportation industry, like electric vehicles. This got us thinking about how electric vehicles will largely contribute to reductions in fuel costs for companies running fleets of vehicles, helping them reduce costs overall.
Mollie then talked about the “3 Rs,” as she puts it, speaking to how automated, shared, and electric vehicles are the three big revolutions that will shape the transportation industry. Her session spoke to the benefits of electric vehicles in the industry, such as lower auto ownership; improved mobility options; a reduction in impaired driving (from a societal impact perspective); and more. Today, as Mollie pointed out, shared, automated, and electric vehicles are currently operating in different cities across the country—Las Vegas, San Ramon, Arlington (on park paths), Ann Arbor, and Tampa—and demonstrations of their use have already taken place in Austin, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Rochester, Minnesota, Detroit, and several other cities. What’s interesting, yet problematic, with automated vehicles (as Mollie explained throughout her session) is that they could potentially increase congestion on the roads as they now enable travelers who wouldn’t normally drive to move about from one place to another. She also gave some insight about VMT (Vehicle-Miles Traveled), noting the differences in VMT between personally owned automated vehicles and automated vehicles within the taxi fleet category in the years to come.
In addition, when it comes to the estimated costs of travel in 2025 by mile, including vehicle operations, maintenance, insurance, fuel, and time, ride-hailing electric vehicles and automated vehicles will prove to be much cheaper when fully implemented in the future. Her findings and discussion in this session just goes to show the positive impact that electric and shared vehicles will have down the road—allowing companies running fleets of vehicles to save costs and improve their bottom line.
Technology Behind Clean Vehicles and their Incentives
The second session we attended, titled Clean Vehicles and Incentives 101, mainly discussed the technology behind clean vehicles and the incentives associated with them. There were speakers from a variety of companies present: CALSTART, AB Trucking, Tetra Tech, Inc., California Air Resources, Ryder, and more, who discussed a range of topics within the clean vehicles segment and their role in contributing to a better future. Ultimately, the goal of a clean vehicle initiative is to reduce regulated criteria emissions like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter harmful to the environment. The implementation of clean vehicles will be a huge win for the industry—allowing companies that are specifically conscious about the environment to rest assured that the vehicles on the road will be contributing to fewer environmental consequences.
Overall, the Northern California Clean Fleet Expo was a great event to attend—it was really informative and we got to meet plenty of interesting people from all areas of the industry and chat about the trends in store for it.