I last attended the SEMA Show in Las Vegas about eight years ago. It’s amazing how much things change…and how much stays the same!
For those who don’t know, the SEMA Show is an annual trade show and exposition in Las Vegas for the paint, body and aftermarket automotive industry. Picture every wheel, tire, air filter, exhaust and all the parts in between in attendance and on display. Most manufacturers use highly customized demonstration vehicles in their booths to display their wares. The size, attendance and energy far surpassed my expectations. I’ve worked in or around the automotive industry for most of my professional life and hold cars and trucks as one of my top personal hobbies.
Without further ado, here are my top five impressions from SEMA 2017:
1. Trucks, trucks, and more trucks
Americans still love trucks. It should be no surprise that both Ford and Chevy are celebrating century anniversaries selling theirs. Plus, a pickup is still the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. Lifted, lowered, polished or dirty. Highly polished or fully wrapped in custom paint, graphics and extreme levels of personalization. Customized for the boulevard or modified for the mountain. Americans (present company included) love trucks.
Continue reading “Top 5 Impressions from SEMA in Sin City!”
Today, we’re happy to announce our $22 million Series D round, which adds great new strategic partners to the XL team. Constellation Technology Ventures (CTV) is the venture capital arm of Exelon, one of the largest utilities in the United States, and IKEA Group is a global leader with a strong commitment to renewable energy and fleet vehicle electrification. These partners enable us to broaden our fleet electrification solutions, achieve larger scale, and help more customers reduce fuel usage while saving money and reducing emissions. We were able to attract such great partners because XL has remained focused on developing electrification solutions that are both low-cost and highly scalable.
The XL team has done tremendous work and has been very disciplined over the years while successfully navigating major swings in oil prices and lots of noise in our industry. We have been able to achieve more than many of our competitors who have come and gone, and we’ve done it with a relatively lean budget for this industry. XL has systems in fleets across the US and Canada that have accrued over 50 million miles, and our production rate is now over 100 per month. To put this in perspective, Tesla had around 4 million customer miles when it went public.
Continue reading “XL Hybrids scales fleet vehicle electrification with IKEA and Constellation Technology Ventures”
You’ve done your research into XL Hybrids. You’re excited about the fuel savings and sustainability benefits of deploying XL technology. And you’ve ordered your new vehicles with XL3 Hybrid Electric Systems. Now it’s time to decide how you’re going to visually demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.
We recommend you go BIG and go BOLD! Let’s make your vehicles into ‘mobile billboards’ that announce your corporate sustainability leadership.
Adding “hybrid” decals, and/or graphical wraps to your fleet vehicles can deliver big benefits. Green branding shows your customers and community you’re making a meaningful difference in the environment. Vehicle signage strengthens awareness of your company’s brand, business strategy, and products and services.
In fact, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America says that decals and vehicle wraps can create as many as 30,000 to 70,000 impressions a day depending on the location of the vehicle. Whether moving along the highway, parked in front of your business, or picking passengers up, your green-branded vehicles will get noticed.
Continue reading “Let Them See You’re Driving Green”
As an avid “gearhead” I could not miss the opportunity to attend the 50th Annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show in Las Vegas, along with the concurrent AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo) conference. Representing XL Hybrids, I had many great conversations and meetings with our current and potential suppliers, and with automotive industry experts. While SEMA is largely a consumer show, many companies with technology offerings for commercial fleet customers – the types of customers XL Hybrids targets with our commercial vehicle electrification solutions – were on display.
Walking the aisles, I observed that within the ever-expanding lineup of automotive technologies there are several significant commonalities with the strategic path XL Hybrids is taking:
– Rise of the connected vehicle
– Downsizing of engines
– Increasing sophistication of vehicle branding efforts
– Ability to install a product on both new and existing vehicles, and
– Global distribution and installation networks of automotive companies
Continue reading “Observations from SEMA: How XL Hybrids Aligns with Emerging Automotive Trends”
Recently I attended the Fleet Technology Expo (FTX) in Chicago. One especially well-attended session at the conference was titled “The Future Fleet Vehicle.” The panel included representatives from two truck original equipment manufacturers and another from a national fleet. The panelists discussed how the design of a work truck can actually improve fleet driver efficiency in the field. They agreed that increasing fleet driver efficiency in the field yields enhanced overall value for companies in terms of improved customer service levels, strengthened branding, and more revenue.
This premise rang true for me. At XL Hybrids, we develop and deploy fleet electrification and connected vehicle technologies that improve a vehicle’s miles-per-gallon (MPG). Part of our value proposition to fleets is that a more fuel-efficient vehicle with a higher MPG yields a more productive driver in the field.
Continue reading “Companies, Stop Losing Revenue to Low MPG Vehicles!”
In our recent webinar, top fleet professionals from Yale University and the City of Boston shared their strategies for using electric hybrids to cut emissions in van and chassis fleets.
Ron Gitelman, Fleet Management Program Administrator for Yale University shared an overview of Yale’s Sustainability in Transportation program, which has a goal of reducing the environmental and financial impact of the University’s transportation needs while enhancing the quality of life for all users of New Haven’s streets. As part of the program’s initiatives, Yale’s fleet includes seven vans with the XL3® hybrid electric drive system and Ron noted, “They are exceeding our expectations for emissions and fuel savings and the green branding really helps our image here in New Haven.”
Ron told participants the hybrid shuttles are exceeding expectations for CO2 emissions reduction and fuel savings. “We are seeing great uptime. We started about one and a half to two years ago and we have seen no downtime due to the hybrid system. “When asked what drivers think about the hybrid shuttles, Ron told the audience, “The bus managers tell me the drivers really enjoy it, I have heard no complaints about it, they find it easy to use and believe me if there were problems with driving it, I would have heard the complaints by now.”
Ron finished is presentation by saying, “I foresee us continuing to order more hybrid vehicles.”
Continue reading “Watch our Webinar for Proven, Quick Wins for Meeting Fleet Sustainability Goals”
Watch Video Now!
At XL Hybrids, we have designed our XL3 hybrid-electric system to be simple to install – so simple that it can be completed by one technician in just hours. Standard automotive tools and a vehicle lift are all that’s required. In this short clip, we give you a behind-the-scenes tour as I install the XL Hybrids system in a General Motors van for the City of Boston.
I begin with the XL Hybrids electric motor, which is installed behind the vehicle’s transmission. A lithium ion battery pack is installed behind the rear axle. Both motor and battery are connected to an inverter on the vehicle’s frame rail. A closed-loop cooling system and wiring harnesses finish it off. That’s all there is to it. With all components installed, I take the vehicle for a short test drive to verify that detailed performance data is being reported, including MPG improvement.
Continue reading “XL Hybrids System Installation on a GM Van Takes Just Hours”
This article first appeared in The Fuse on September 21, 2016.
If you have read Vincentric’s recent lifecycle cost analysis,, which shows only seven of 29 hybrid vehicles offered in the 2016 model year had a lower total cost of ownership than their gasoline counterparts, you are now armed with some valuable information when you purchase your next vehicle. However, you may not have the whole story on hybrids.
While the Vincentric research accurately finds that in most cases today, purchasing a hybrid car or hybrid SUV simply doesn’t pencil out, this picture of hybrids changes dramatically when you look at hybrid-electric commercial vehicles like trucks and vans, which have much lower base MPG ratings than cars and SUVs, are driven more miles per year than typical consumer usage, and have longer life cycles on the road where all financial benefits to operators can be accrued over a longer period of time.
Let’s look at a sample case that is very typical of commercial vehicle duty and life cycles. Say a fleet shuttle bus or work truck drives 100 miles per day for 250 work days per year in urban and suburban stop-and-go driving, and gets 8 MPG over a 10-year lifespan. This vehicle will use $70,000 worth of fuel over its 10-year life, assuming the current $2.25-per-gallon price holds over that time.
Continue reading “Vincentric’s Hybrid Vehicle Analysis Omits the Best Economic Opportunity: Commercial Trucks”
This article first appeared in The Fuse on August 24, 2016.
Bravo to Elon Musk and President Obama. They continue to think big by setting ambitious goals for U.S. vehicle electrification, backed by multi-billion dollar commitments to various all-electric vehicles and charging stations.
Last month, the Obama administration announced loan guarantees of up to $4.5 billion to build electric-car charging stations, and support broader electrification. Back in June, Mr. Musk unveiled Tesla’s Master Plan Part Deux. Besides calling for an audacious solution of vertically-integrated solar panel-charged Tesla sports cars, Part Deux also includes plans to build an all-electric pickup truck, an electric heavy-duty semi-truck, and an electric bus concept that would turn a bus driver into a “fleet manager.” Musk said his overall goal is for Tesla to offer an array of products and services to accelerate the transition away from oil.
Continue reading “XL Hybrids Continues To Fill The Gap In Elon Musk & President Obama’s All-Electric Vehicle Plans”
Questions we at XL Hybrids often hear from fleet customers about the XL3 Hybrid Drive System include:
– “How do I wrap XL Hybrids upfits into my new vehicle purchases?
– “How do I retrofit my vehicles already in service?”
– “Can XL Hybrids systems be installed on leased vehicles?”
– “Does XL Hybrids offer hybrid systems in Canada?”
Our goal is to make it simple. Yes, on new vehicle purchases, you can order XL3 systems at the same time as you order your vehicles. We can work directly with your preferred dealer to provide quotes, detailed production information, and the right upfitter ship-thru codes. In terms of upfitters, we have sales and installation partnerships with Ford and General Motors ship-through partners such as Leggett & Platt® CVP, the Knapheide Manufacturing Company®., Adrian Steele®, and , Farmbro® in Canada. These installation partners can upfit new vehicles or retrofit existing ones and are located throughout the US and Canada.
Continue reading “XL Hybrids Makes it Easy to Order XL3® Hybrid Electric Drive Systems”