June 13, 2024

Hollis Kresse

Electric Powertrain

Pitfalls: Lessons learned from Alternative Fuel Vehicle Infrastructure and Fleets

Introduction

Increasingly, corporate fleets are turning to alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) as a way of reducing environmental impact and improving fleet efficiency. To fully benefit from these new technologies, it is important to have an understanding of the different types of AFVs available, as well as what factors can affect your decision-making process. In this post we’ll look at some of the pitfalls to avoid when implementing a corporate vehicle fleet that relies on alternate fuels such as natural gas or hydrogen.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) are a viable solution for reducing the environmental impact of a fleet.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) are a viable solution for reducing the environmental impact of a fleet. However, they are not right for every fleet. AFVs have higher initial costs than traditional vehicles, and their operating costs may be higher as well. In order to determine if an AFV is right for you, it’s important to understand your needs and goals and then determine if those align with your current situation.

The first step in choosing an AFV must be to understand the business case.

The first step in choosing an AFV must be to understand the business case. The cost of vehicles and fuel is only part of the equation; you also need to consider maintenance costs, which can vary widely depending on how your fleet is currently maintained.

The second step is determining whether or not your current fleet needs replacing or if it will suffice for another year or two. If you’re planning on replacing all vehicles at once anyway–and assuming that new technology doesn’t make existing models obsolete–you may want to wait until next year’s models come out before making any purchases now.

The next, and equally important, step is examining how to make the infrastructure work for you.

The next, and equally important, step is examining how to make the infrastructure work for you.

  • Fuel cost. This can vary from city to city and state to state. It’s important that you understand what kind of fuel costs are associated with running your vehicles on alternative fuels before making a decision about which ones to use in your fleet.
  • Availability of public charging stations or private stations within your company’s parking lot(s). Are there enough charging stations available? Will they be available when needed? Are they located in convenient locations around town where employees live or work? Do they offer enough power output so that employees won’t have to wait too long while their vehicle charges up at full speed (which could be several hours)?
  • Location of fueling station(s) relative to commuting routes taken by most drivers who will use them regularly (i.e., not just once per month). Are these locations easily accessible either via public transportation (if applicable) or by carpooling with another employee who lives nearby?

When looking at fuel delivery options, consider what’s best for your day-to-day operations.

When looking at fuel delivery options, consider what’s best for your day-to-day operations. For example, if you have a lot of vehicles operating in and around the same area and need to refuel frequently, it may be more cost effective to use a central fueling station that can be staffed by just one person rather than multiple stations spread out over a large geographical area.

For fleets with longer travel distances or large numbers of vehicles, understanding where drivers are going to refuel will help determine which type of infrastructure makes sense for them (public or private).

The type of fuel you choose will also dictate where you can refuel and how often.

When choosing a fuel type, you must also consider where and how often you can refuel. The availability of alternative fuels varies significantly across the country. For example, some states have no ethanol stations at all while others have several hundred. Similarly, there are many more natural gas stations in California than in South Dakota.

The location of these fueling stations matters too: if your vehicle is designed for hydrogen but there aren’t any hydrogen pumps within 50 miles from home or work, then it doesn’t matter how efficient it might be–you won’t be able to use it as intended! Similarly, if there isn’t an electric charging station within walking distance from where you park every night (or even worse: if there isn’t one at all), then buying an electric car could become inconvenient very quickly

Don’t assume that all alternative fuel stations are created equal.

  • Don’t assume that all alternative fuel stations are created equal.
  • There are a lot of differences between stations, including:
  • Price
  • Refueling time (for example, compressed natural gas [CNG] vehicles can take longer than electric cars to refuel)
  • Hours of operation (some stations may not be open 24/7 or on weekends)

Carefully examine all aspects of alternative fuel vehicles to ensure they work with your fleet needs

In addition to the cost of the vehicle itself, you should also consider:

  • The cost of fuel. If you’re purchasing a fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles, how much will it cost to keep them running? You’ll need to factor in both initial costs (such as replacing tires) and ongoing expenses (like regular maintenance).
  • Maintenance requirements for your fleet. What kind of service can be performed on these vehicles? Do they require special tools or equipment that you don’t currently have access to?
  • Infrastructure considerations. Does your organization have access to fueling stations that support particular fuels, like hydrogen or natural gas? If so, what’s their availability like–are there enough stations nearby where drivers can fill up between trips without having to drive long distances away from base every time they need more power? And if not–what would changing over look like anyway? This is worth exploring before making any final decisions about which types work best within your context because otherwise it could end up costing far more than expected later down line when suddenly faced with an expensive transition process after already having invested heavily into one type versus another

Conclusion

In conclusion, we can say that alternative fuel vehicles are a great option for reducing your fleet’s environmental impact. However, before making any decision about which vehicle or fueling station is right for you, it’s important to carefully consider all aspects of the technology. The type of fuel chosen will dictate not only where you can refuel but also how often–and this needs to be taken into account when looking at day-to-day operations such as route planning or delivery schedules. You might also want to consider how hard it would be on your current infrastructure if they were suddenly inundated with new types of vehicles needing different types of fuel stations (such as hydrogen).