Charging forward with fleet decarbonisation
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5 strategies to accelerate your fleet’s energy transition

The world’s population is projected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. With the rising pace of growth looming, the demand for urban mobility is rapidly climbing. As pressure on global transport infrastructure mounts, more and more cities are increasing investment in energy-efficient solutions – like zero-emission vehicles – to support the development of safer, cleaner and more resilient transportation networks for all communities.

Zero-emission mobility through electric battery and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is accelerating as the world acts to systematically reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. Over the past few years there has been an increase in focus by governments and industry toward the transition to zero-emission vehicles.

Transitioning a fleet of any size, if not done thoughtfully, can be costly and time consuming. In addition to replacing your vehicles, there are many other factors to consider, and it is beneficial to review your options before getting started.

Through decades of experience supporting the transportation and fleet industry, our zero-emission mobility specialists identified five strategies to accelerate the energy transition journey through fleet decarbonisation.

#1 Involve your stakeholders

When beginning fleet decarbonisation, a major step is getting buy in from all stakeholders. There are a variety of stakeholders to consider such as those internal to your organisation in addition to your partners, suppliers, and customers. Stakeholder parties can include government and municipalities, utilities, transit organisations, private industries, operators, mechanics, maintenance support, and your end users.

Overcoming resistance to change among stakeholders often requires increasing their understanding that traditional modes of transportation may no longer be effective, identifying funding available to support these transitions and bringing awareness of progress across the industry to improve vehicle range.

To get your stakeholders on board you must include them in the process. Get them involved in developing a transition plan and understanding their concerns. Surveys and interviews are excellent tools to determine the stage each stakeholder is on the journey and workshops are useful to foster collaboration. At Wood, we support clients to conduct stakeholder mapping exercises by using these tools and resources.

#2 Maximise your return

Transitioning fleets requires initial capital cost, and it’s important to ensure that you are maximising your investment and taking advantage of the opportunities available. Around the world, we are seeing carbon taxes increase and a fleet transition can help mitigate these rising costs. In addition to the private funding available to support transition programs, many governments are developing funding programs and grants. For instance, the Canadian, American and British Governments have all introduced multi-billion-dollar transition funding programs for fleets, infrastructure, supply chain and adoption.

There are plenty of prospects available to help offset some of the initial capital expenditures. Our transit specialists work with clients in both the public and private industries to identify ways to maximise returns. This includes reviewing options from grant funding, partnering with governments, identifying pilot programs, and developing business cases to secure capital.

#3 Develop a comprehensive approach

Now that your stakeholders are engaged and your program has received some initial funding, it’s easy to think that the next step is a strategy to replace the vehicles – but without considering anything else. There is so much more to think about before making any investment decisions, which is why our third strategy focuses on the importance of developing a comprehensive approach.

A roadmap is an important tool for this strategy since there are many components to consider for a journey that could easily span decades. Fleet managers need to right size their fleets when commissioning new vehicles and decommissioning old vehicles must be a planned process. Mobility needs must be personalised to fit the routes and geographic locations being serviced.

Initially it’s essential to identify where you are in the journey and ensure you identify common challenges typically faced in fleet decarbonisation. Wood’s cloud based proprietary digital tool ZeroEmissionSimTM is used for simulation and scenario mapping to model the best solutions for zero-emission fleet adoption. Using a digital twin, the tool can simulate infinite possibilities for fleet selection, infrastructure layout and route planning. The software includes a financial component to allow for a full 360-analysis of impacts and costs associated with this energy transition over a 15, 20, to 50-year horizon.

#4 Use your data

After the approach is mapped, it’s important to collect insights, review and learn from your data. Route, charging, passenger, emissions and fleet information is crucial to monitor and consult during fleet implementation and transition.

The amount of data collected varies by organisation, with some having full telematics set up and others generating little to nothing. A prominent lesson learned from the industry is that if you do not review your data it can approximate incorrect results. Fleets can experience cost overruns and it can even result in rescoping your entire execution.

As a best practice, you’ll need a team that can sift through the data. This team and data provide visibility into potential gaps and allow you to make informed decisions about your complex operations. Data permits you to monitor and view your emissions, engage with your transport duty cycles, and know where your assets are and how they are performing at all times. Curated data mapping allows for continuous learning and the best application for route selection, asset maintenance and operator engagement

At Wood, our zero-emission mobility transportation specialists use our ZeroEmissionSim tool to avoid these data pitfalls. It uses set data parameters to log, monitor, and consult data for various transit applications.

#5 Engage with your workforce

It is essential to engage current employees and think about the workforce of the future. Existing vehicle fleets have drivers, mechanics and technicians supporting the day-to-day asset lifecycle of these vehicles. These workers have been trained and qualified on traditional internal combustion engine vehicles and associated infrastructure.

As part of a transition, fleet managers must consider the changes needed to transition personnel operate and repair zero-emission fleets. Often the current workforce is unfamiliar with driving, maintaining, and repairing electric and hydrogen vehicles and associated infrastructure.  Establishing training plans and succession planning will be required to reskill the teams for the future.

Above all, impacts to safety need to be considered, including ordering new and additional PPE, updating safety orientations, and ensuring those working with or nearby new equipment and materials are handled with the utmost care. Standard operating procedures to support these new vehicles should also be developed.

Transitioning for the future

Communities are adopting zero-emission mobility and investing with tomorrow in mind. We all play a role in the global energy transition as consumers, employees, producers, and technical specialists. Remember that there is value in early engagement of these strategies, and transitioning will be a marathon, not a sprint.

Visit our Zero-Emission Mobility page for more information on Wood’s fleet decarbonisation capabilities or to get in touch with our specialists.

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