by Laura Berry
The Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo is the largest advanced transportation technology and clean fleet conference in North America. This year’s event, May 9-12, 2022, in Long Beach, California, was exceptional in many ways. Below are three highlights, from the Black & Veatch attendees’ perspective, that made ACT Expo 2022 stand out.
1. The Momentum Was Tangible
Anyone still doubting whether the transition to zero-emission transportation is happening would be an instant believer after stepping into the exhibit hall. Automakers, and especially truck manufacturers, doubled down on new vehicles, with announcements such as Volvo Trucks VNR Electric models with more range and faster charging, a new Mack Truck refuse program, and Daimler Truck North America’s word premier of the electric Freightliner eCascadia. All-electric truck and bus manufacturer Lion Electric celebrated a major milestone of 10 million miles driven to date in the company’s class 5 to class 8 commercial urban trucks and all-electric buses and minibuses. In addition, industry stakeholders attended in force – surpassing last year’s attendance by 3,500 for a new record of 8,500 attendees, which is a sign of the times. Not only has the zero-emission transition been building for over a decade, but supportive policy and high diesel prices are propelling the industry forward at an exciting pace.
2. Alternative Fuel Vehicles Staked Their Place
Although battery electric vehicles reigned the exhibit halls and Ride and Drive, fuel cell, hybrid and natural gas vehicles made a noticeable presence. In the opening day keynote, senior executives from industry-leading companies Penske Transportation Solutions, Daimler Truck North America and Shell agreed that to get to zero, multiple solutions will be necessary. Hydrogen will need to be part of the mix if the world wants to meet the Paris Agreement,” said Carlos Maurer, executive vice-president, sectors and decarbonization, at Shell. Hyllion’s hybrid and Hypertruck ERX models were on display. Another up-and-comer, Hyzon Motors, announced plans to convert used diesel trucks into and existing fleets to fuel-cell electric. Cummins and Daimler Truck North America also announced a partnership to fit Class 8 Freightliner Cascadias with hydrogen fuel cells.
3. Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Needs are Vast
From the vantage point of the Black & Veatch booth, the need was how to deploy zero-emission fleets at scale. Now that vehicle manufactures are increasing production, fleets are going from a handful of vehicles to hundreds. “We’ve said it for years, and we can’t emphasize enough, the importance of planning for zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, even before the first vehicles are ordered,” said Dean Siegrist, Assoc. Vice President, Black & Veatch. Planning will ensure that clean energy needs can scale alongside the vehicles, and that fleets have their choice of the cleanest, lowest cost power source at any moment. For battery electric vehicles alone, the International Council on Clean Transportation estimates the U.S. will need 1.3 million workplace chargers; 900,000 public Level 2 chargers; and 180,000 DC Fast chargers by 2030. With zero-emission mandates in place, and the inflated cost of fossil fuel and diesel, the competitive advantage will go to businesses that plan and develop now.
Those who need to see it to believe it can make plans to attend the 2023 ACT Expo, which will move to a larger venue in Anaheim, California, May 1-4. For those ready to transition a fleet to zero-emission, Black & Veatch created the eBook, Fleet Decarbonization: A Guide to Cost-Efficient Zero-Emission Vehicle Transition, available for free download.