Less than a month ago, the California Air Resources Board announced new regulations that aim to phase out fossil fuels in medium and heavy duty trucks by 2045. Known as Advanced Clean Fleets, the rule caused major concerns across the transportation industry and has sent many fleet owners and operators scrambling for solutions that will help their business comply with the ambitious timelines.
A new Los Angeles-based company, SVT Fleet Solutions, is hoping to capitalize on the coming wave of change by providing a one-stop-shop for fleet management that will enable owners to build and execute a plan to transition off of diesel and into zero emission technologies like batteries and hydrogen. “There really has not been any new fleet management companies in this space in over 10 years,” says Don Kelley, president of SVT. “I'm just thrilled that somehow– in some form or fashion–transportation is sexy again.”
With the advent of electric trucks, the economics of fleet management have undergone a seismic shift. Electric trucks are still much more expensive than their diesel counterparts, but their engines don’t wear and degrade as quickly. Not to mention the cost of refueling changes dramatically as the equation shifts from diesel to hydrogen or electricity. Even the process of recycling and disposing of the vehicle at the end of its life is dramatically different for zero-emission technologies. Though battery recycling is still in its infancy, the huge quantities of lithium need to power a class 8 truck’s battery represent a tremendous opportunity to recoup some of the costs of purchasing the vehicle that doesn’t apply at all to diesel engines.
There are of course, many original equipment manufacturers and charging companies offer their own fleet management systems to help users understand how, when, and where to recharge or refuel their trucks. But SVT is hoping to offer a more holistic approach. If you employ their services they’ll build a custom tailored solution for your company that aims to get you to your emissions goals on time and on budget.
In many cases, this will be a herculean task, and Kelley says the first step of getting fleets to believe in the service is establishing real credibility. To that end, SVP will leverage its owner, Velocity Vehicle Group—one of the nation's largest and best-known commercial vehicle companies. As the distributor for 14 different OEM brands, Velocity already has a wealth of knowledge about equipment, maintenance, and zero emissions alternatives. “[Velocity] have literally unmatched resources when it comes to sustainability, EVs, knowledge of the market, and understanding of the regulatory issues in California.” Kelley, who boasts 40 years of experience in the field of fleet management, says that it was Velocity’s involvement that convinced him to come aboard in the first place. “They have the kind of credibility that's required,” he says.
SVT only launched a few weeks ago, but according to Kelley the company is already getting inquiries from large companies in the United States and internationally. The team is still small for the moment–just three people total–but Kelley is hoping to grow rapidly as fleets begin to think seriously about how to move away from fossil fuels. “We are the first and only fleet management company that is sort of a single source resource for those large fleets and want to make that transition,” says Kelley. “We think we have something special and I'm really, really excited about it.”
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