Supply chain issues, including the well-documented semiconductor microchip shortage, continue to impact automotive production by vehicle manufacturers around the globe. Fleet managers in North America are painfully aware of the continued disruption these delays can cause in their new vehicle orders, and while there have been signs of progress in recent months, most fleets would agree their 2021 and now 2022 order plans have been impacted as a result.
At the same time, the push for cleaner transportation has continued to accelerate. Municipal and commercial fleets alike are facing increasing pressure to adopt low or zero emission vehicles as part of government or corporate mandates, despite the overall lack of available clean transportation solutions today that are suitable for fleet use. It’s a challenging combination of circumstances, but not an insurmountable one.
Fleet managers facing electrification and carbon reduction mandates in the midst of the current automotive production environment need to consider bold new approaches in order to move forward on their sustainability goals. One such approach is a fleet electrification retrofit.
Retrofitting existing gas- and diesel-powered fleet vehicles with an electrified propulsion system is a viable path to sustainability for a wide range of applications. While acquiring new fleet vehicles today can be extremely challenging, the ability to upfit existing late model vehicles with brand new electrified powertrains is a seamless and cost-effective way to immediately move sustainability goals forward with existing inventories.
With less than a day’s labor by a certified upfitter, retrofitting an electrified drive system from XL Fleet can transform a factory OEM vehicle into a more fuel-efficient hybrid or plug-in hybrid model, by adding an electric motor, an advanced lithium-ion battery pack, and control software. No other significant modifications to the vehicle are required, and no changes are made to the internal combustion engine or transmission, which allows the factory OEM warranty to remain intact.
An electrification retrofit offers fleets a number of benefits over the more traditional approach of acquiring new vehicles, even when inventories are not constrained. But in the current environment, they can provide a critical path forward to meeting sustainability requirements, allowing fleets to:
- Electrify existing vehicle inventories already specified for the intended applications.
- Eliminate the need to wait months or even years to acquire new, fleet-capable electrified vehicles.
- Immediately begin realizing improved fuel economy and reduced emissions.
- Introduce electrified vehicles without adding substantial charging infrastructure or making other operational changes.
- Potentially leverage operating versus capital budgets, as well as time-constrained (use or lose) funding.
- Quickly and cost-effectively meet carbon footprint reduction goals, with emissions reductions of up to 25-50% depending on the system and circumstances.
Retrofitting fleet vehicles is an effective way for fleet operators to steer through the complex process of electrifying their fleets, particularly while navigating the challenges brought on by the ongoing chip shortage. Instead of waiting for vehicle inventories to be replenished, a brand-new electrification system can be installed onto existing vehicles, enabling fleets to make immediate progress on sustainability goals and start realizing fuel economy benefits.
For fleets looking to transition to cleaner, greener transportation, regardless of supply chain challenges, a retrofit is a viable option worth considering. Simply put, going “retro” can actually offer a smart path forward for forward-thinking fleets.