Imagine the scene: Automotive executives at an industry conference test-driving electrified and hybrid vehicles from various independent companies, including Ford models upfitted with XL Hybrids technology. The test track is filled with commercial trucks of all shapes and sizes demonstrating different technologies. A van driving on the track by starts to slow down. Instead of the usual sound and motion of normal breaking, the van sounds like someone is pounding from inside the cargo hold, trying to escape. Heads turn to see the commotion.
This scene proves an important point for any company developing and deploying electrified technology for commercial vehicles: When fleet industry folks buy a commercial vehicle, they want it to drive – and sound – like an OEM-quality vehicle: Same drivability, same reliability. And when it comes to electrified vehicles, fleet driver experience often means more to the fleet manager than the financial and sustainability savings.
Continue reading “The XL Hybrids PHEV Pickup Truck: It’s a Ford Truck”
The XL Hybrids team aims to make our vehicle electrification technology available to as many fleets as possible. To that end, California fleets now have more product options from XL.
We just received approval for plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) Ford F-150 pickup trucks in the Golden State – an industry first.
In fact, XL has the most approvals to sell into California – in the form of “executive orders,” or EO’s, issued by the California Air Resources Board, or CARB – for aftermarket vehicle electrification in the fleet industry. In addition to PHEV F-150s, we also offer hybrid-electric (HEV) systems for certain model year Ford Transit vans, GM vans and cutaways, and Ford E-Series cutaways. Making our products available to the California market, which is a bellwether for electrified vehicle technology, is a focus of XL Hybrids.
Continue reading “XL Hybrids Gets Latest CARB Approval, Continues Push into California with First-Ever PHEV Ford F-150’s”
While we continue to hear about the future promise of “all-electric” and “self-driving” technologies in the automotive industry, we shouldn’t overlook the recent and immediate successes of the commercial fleet market, which has been just as innovative, if not even more so, than some of the futuristic technologies in the passenger car industry. Sure, these much hyped words and phrases are exciting, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they change the industry in the years to come. However, we’re years away from fully autonomous driving, or fully-electric vehicles taking over.
In comparison, e-commerce and last-mile delivery fleets are examples of commercial fleets that are really driving the adoption of new technologies. Examples include retailers like Amazon and Walmart that are providing quicker and faster shipping options to their customers, and package delivery fleets like UPS and FedEx that are using a range of alternative technology vehicles. Why are fleets leading the way? Because their annual vehicle mileage is so high and their MPG so low, resulting in significant annual operating costs. (By comparison, the average consumer drives only 12,000 miles per year and typically drives a conventional vehicle that already gets 20 to 40 MPG.) Fleets need higher MPG vehicle alternatives now that make sense, and some forms of vehicle electrification make economic sense today.
Continue reading “How e-commerce and last-mile delivery fleets are leapfrogging passenger cars and driving adoption of new tech”
I arrived at the recent Greenbuild and Architecture Boston Expo in Boston, and promptly was asked to change my shirt.
Why? I arrived wearing my crisp “XL Hybrids” button down shirt. However, my Ford Motor Company booth mates had other ideas for my attire. Since I would be working in Ford’s booth for the next two days at the Expo, I would now be wearing a shirt with “The Blue Oval” instead.
XL Hybrids van in Ford’s booth
Why was I at the Greenbuild Expo? Ford invited my company, XL Hybrids, to display a Ford Transit van upfitted with our XL3 hybrid-electric system. At an expo focusing on trends like sustainable buildings and architecture – and with an expo attendee list filled with representatives from major building construction companies with fleets of thousands of work trucks and vans – Ford aimed to educate these Expo attendees about Ford’s electrified vehicle offerings….with the XL Hybrids transit van as a booth centerpiece. (You can see from the photos that the XL Hybrids van looked great in Ford’s booth!)
Continue reading “Why was an XL Hybrids employee in Ford’s booth?”
Keeping a telecom network up and running is an important and challenging job. Millions of customers depend on telephone, cable TV and Internet service in cities every minute of the day. So, when Verizon, which operates a telecom network spanning 15 states along the Eastern seaboard, specs out its fleet of telecom service vans, the company only selects vehicle equipment that is rugged and effective enough to operate for years of driving in dense metropolitan areas where traffic, weather and road conditions can be tough and unpredictable. And when Verizon was looking for a vehicle electrification technology to improve its fleet’s fuel economy, Verizon decided to team up with XL Hybrids and deploy our hybrid-electric upfit system for Chevy Express cargo vans.
What started as a small successful pilot of 16 vans in 2015, and then another 36 vans in 2016, has now expanded to nearly 300 vans, highlighted by Verizon’s recent deployment of 234 new hybrid-electric vans to service New York City customers.
“Given the size of our company and the number of people we connect across the globe, Verizon has a unique opportunity and responsibility to have a positive impact on the environment,” said James Gowen, chief sustainability officer for Verizon. “With the addition of these hybrid vehicles, our fleet is as efficient as ever as we continue to use less fuel year after year. We thank NYSERDA for their partnership in helping to make this happen.”
Continue reading “Live, from New York…Verizon reorders fleet vehicles from XL Hybrids!”
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!”