Save the date for the 3rd annual Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference, August 7 & 8, 2019 in Durham, NC! The conference provides an opportunity for fleets and transportation professionals to experience the latest vehicle technology, tools, and resources designed to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. The event will include keynote presentations, 50+ panelists, breakout sessions, indoor vehicle/equipment display, and plenty of networking opportunities. Pre-conference events will take place August 6, which will include the Green Fleet Awards Forum along with the NC Smart Fleet and Mobile Care Awards!
Who should attend? Public & Private Fleet Managers
State Government Leaders
Municipal Government Officials
Clean Cities Coalitions & Stakeholders
Alternative Fuel Trade Organizations
Academic Leaders & Researchers
Attendees can learn & share about: Alternative Fuels (including biofuels, CNG, electric, propane, renewable diesel)
Advanced Vehicle Technologies
Motor Fleet Management
Vehicle Sharing Technologies
Vehicle Right Sizing
Autonomous Vehicles & Future Technologies
Stay tuned for more updates! For more information, visit the website, and contact Allison Carr at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-515-9781 for any questions.
WHAT: The Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo, organized by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University and the N.C. Department of Transportation, offers this event for fleet managers and transportation-related decision-makers at organizations of all sizes. The conference will showcase the latest on technologies in the biofuels, natural gas and propane arenas. There will also be a strong focus on data-driven decisions and technologies.
WHEN: August 22: 8:30am – 6:00pm; Reception 6:00pm-7:30pm
August 23: 9:00am – 4:00pm; (2:30pm-4:00pm NC Smart Fleet Awards/Keynote)
WHERE: Durham Convention Center
301 West Morgan Street, Durham, NC 27701
WHO: Keynote speakers include:
• Scott Curran, PhD, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
• Robert Gordon, DeKalb County, Georgia Government Fleet Management Department
• Tony Posawatz, automotive innovation leader
• Chris Werner, Director of Technical Services, NC Department of Transportation
Plenary panel speakers
Future of Sustainable Transportation
• LoreanaMarciante, Smart City Challenge Initiative
• Scott Phillippi, UPS Corporate Automotive Engineering
• Stuart Weidie, Alliance AutoGas
• Scott Curran, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
• Michael Abraczinskas, NC Division of Air Quality
• Michael Buff, Electrify America
• Alexa Voytek, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Energy Programs
• Debbie Swartz, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
• Joe Annotti, Glandstein, Neandross & Associates (moderator)
Over 50 speakers will present their expertise in Breakout Sessions with three tracks including Data & Solutions; Alternative Fuels & Advanced Technologies; Policy & Technology. View Agenda
Over 40 exhibitors will showcase products, services, and vehicles in the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference Expo Hall. Vehicles on display will include plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles from Toyota, Mitsubishi, Chevy, and Chrysler. Other vehicles fueled by natural gas and propane will be displayed, including a heavy-duty Freightliner CNG trash roll-off hoist truck. View Exhibitor List
The City of Raleigh has more than 2,000 registered vehicles in its fleet used for a wide variety of services, including the police force, garbage, maintenance and repairs, public utilities, water and sewer and more, according to Fleet Services Superintendent Travis Brown.
Along with the wide range of vehicles, Raleigh also has a large number of alternative fuels and alternative vehicles to match.
The City, which isn’t new to the 100 Best Fleets list, uses 385 vehicles with B20 biodiesel, over 1,000 E85 flex fuel-compatible vehicles, 223 hybrids, 18 electric powered neighborhood vehicles, 25 vehicles that use propane, and 7 that use natural gas.
Brown, who has worked with the City of Raleigh for 16 years, said the City has been working to transform the fleet even before he arrived, when the City was already using biodiesel.
Brown said that so many alternative fuels have been introduced into the fleet because they help to reduce emissions, improve air quality, promote domestic energy production, help decrease fuel costs, and can help farmers.
The goal of the City is to take care of its citizens, Brown said – and using alternative fuels is a part of that.
“It’s about being a good steward of a city, and trying to do the right thing,” Brown said.
Raleigh also uses anti-idling technology in many of the police fleet vehicles. The Energy Xtreme Law Enforcement anti-idling system allows vehicles to operate their full electrical system (including lights, camera and radio) without using the vehicle’s engine, according to the City of Raleigh website.
After the first quarter of the anti-idling technology usage, about 962 gallons were saved from 29 vehicles that used it, according to the website. The projected annual savings were estimated at $63,199.
Previously, many City police vehicles were driving Ford Crown Victorias, and now they’re driving hybrid sedans – which Brown said saves a lot of money when it comes to fuel. The Crown Victorias were getting around 13-18 miles per gallon (MPG), he said, and the hybrids get around 30-38 MPG.
“It’s been a good investment on return, going that way,” Brown said.
In addition to alternative fuels, the City schedules vehicle replacements every year to ensure the fleet is kept modern.
Raleigh also uses a maintenance management system, which provides GPS information for departments on engine faults, idling, equipment and accountability.
The most challenging part of managing a fleet, Brown said, is communicating and educating – getting the word out to all staff about changes and plans, and educating on new ways of doing things and how those changes are beneficial.
Brown said he addresses it as much as he can by having meetings with service departments and providing data on fuel usage.
When running a fleet, Brown advises doing research, networking with those in the same industry to see what works for their fleet, looking at your own to figure out what could work for yours, and attempting to do some forecasting.
“There’s so much technology out there, and the automotive industry is changing so much,” Brown said. “Don’t look at necessarily what’s happening today – try to find what’s coming up three years down the road. You don’t want to get something approved, and then it’s outdated.”
Looking ahead, Brown said Raleigh hopes to push more telematics, eventually adding the technology to all vehicles being used. Currently, Raleigh uses a maintenance management system, but the City would like to upgrade to a web-based system so they can provide more transparency to users and customers.
Learn more about the City of Raleigh’s alternative fuel use by visiting the website here.
The goals of Wake County’s fleet are the same as most: to carry out productive, safe, efficient and sustainable service at the lowest cost possible.
But the smartest and most successful way to achieve that goal, they have found, is by implementing new technology to continuously track data and uncover information.
“It doesn’t appear to be moving fast, but there’s a lot going on,” said Fleet Director Thomas Kuryla as he walked around the vehicle shop at Wake County General Services Center. “Even on slow days when there isn’t a lot of mechanical work, there’s a lot of planning and data analysis.”
Wake County has been on the 100 Best Fleets list every year since 2010, once placing number three out of the country.
There are about 1,000 vehicles in the fleet, including cars, trucks, trailers and boats, with emergency response vehicles representing half.
About 60 vehicles run on diesel, and 20 run on B20 biodiesel, Kuryla said. 400 of their vehicles are E85 compatible. Wake County hasn’t purchased new hybrid or electric vehicles in about 3 years, but around 50 hybrid vehicles are currently in the fleet.
Out of the 1,000 vehicles and 200 that are serviced, there are a total of 10 mechanics.
“Our vehicles are in good enough shape that we don’t need as many,” Kuryla said.
Wake County has a preventative maintenance program in place that averts as many repairs. Vehicles are also sold with less mileage than most fleets. Many fleets keep their vehicles too long, Kuryla said, which means they’re stuck in the shop more for repairs, resulting in more downtown for drivers.
“By keeping our vehicles ahead of the game, we provide more service than other fleets out there,” Kuryla said. “People will say, ‘No, we can’t afford a new car…’ They need to think long-term and look at the big picture.”
Maintenance in the fleet is also done swiftly.
“At some places, the vehicles will spend two weeks in repair,” Kuryla said. “Here, they wait and leave — they’re working on it within 15 minutes and they’re out in less than an hour unless it’s a major repair.”
Kuryla has been Wake County Fleet Director since 2002, and he has orchestrated and seen many changes. One of the first adjustments Kuryla recommended was to transform and redesign the service and parts departments so that they were connected, and could communicate openly as a team.
“In a lot of industries, they’re battling each other,” Kuryla said. “We really wanted them to be teamed together.”
Kuryla said a big success Wake County’s fleet has had is with telematics, a system that collects data from vehicles when they’re on the road to improve efficiency. Telematics tracks the vehicles’ locations, miles per hour, time spent idling, starting or stopping too fast, whether or not the driver is wearing his or her seatbelt, and more. Drivers will be alerted with a beep when going beyond their limits, and supervisors are also automatically notified in some instances.
When telematics was first installed on the vehicles, drivers were getting a lot of beeps, Kuryla said. It didn’t take long for that to reduce considerably.
Additional upgrades and changes are still to come.
Recently, the fleet introduced reusable oil filters, which increase the life of oil and keep them from ending up in a landfill. The reusable filters were put on 20 vehicles and tested for over a year. Kuryla plans to have all of their vehicles transitioned within 6 months.
The oil is also tracked with software that automatically changes intervals and notifies departments when the oil needs changing.
This year, they plan to introduce a drive over tread depth tire reader, which will generate data on the pressure and alignment, measuring the tread depth of each tire to decide whether or not it should be replaced.
Kuryla said the biggest challenge for their fleet is a common one — making advancements within the budget.
“We try to do our research and data analysis to justify why we want to do something,” Kuryla said. “Like the oil filters. Saying ‘I want to spend $75,000 buying filters’ – someone would say, ‘You’re crazy.’ But we just spent a whole year testing and found that we’ll have that buyback very quick.”
Kuryla suggests when trying to implement changes for a fleet, it’s helpful to talk to those who will be affected by asking their suggestions and opinions. For example, the new tire depth reader is talked about openly in the shop on purpose, Kuryla said. He hopes to increase interest and encourage discussion. When the oil filters were implemented, the mechanics openly discussed their experience and then helped come up with a better system.
“Get buy-in for everything you do.” Kuryla said. “Ask what would you like? What would make your job better? Get them involved. ”
This week, we take a look at UNC Charlotte‘s fleet and talk to Automotive/Motor Fleet Supervisor Christopher Facente. The university has been a part of the 100 Best Fleets three years in a row, improving its place each time.
There are 500 vehicles in the fleet, and about 150 of them are electric — ranging from Nissan Leafs to smaller work trucks, Facente said.
Older, less fuel-efficient vehicles have been replaced with utility carts and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), and most of the fleet’s Ford Rangers are now NEV Global Electric Motorcars (GEMs). The total cost of ownership, potential future repairs, and life-cycle costs are calculated to keep the fleet up to date and sustainable.
Facente said to keep improving on the fleet, he’s looking at more sustainability in general. There is already a recycling program in place, and the fleet reduces waste by carrying out practices such as recycling oil filters and enforcing a no-idle policy on campus.
“We looked at our processes, started to streamline little things…” Facente said. “It’s slow, but it does take time to implement these changes. As we work on them, we get better.”
UNC Charlotte also has a robust maintenance program for electric vehicles, which are maintenanced monthly, Facente said. The repairs are tracked through Archibus, a centralized data platform, and history is checked for repeat problems/technician faults.
The fleet restructured the campus into zones and put maintenance shops near areas where the fleets work. In the old system, there was a central base dispatch to anywhere on campus. Now, each zone has electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians and are never over 3 miles from the buildings they service. Telematics have also been put on vehicles.
With all of the different changes, Facente handles it by communicating.
“You’re always going to have challenges with change,” Facente said. “Getting an employee to give up a truck and go to an EV can be a challenge. But if you take your time, explain the benefits, you can pretty much get everyone on board.”
As for advice, Facente suggests having a top-down strategy so that upper management approves, and being sure to not make a sudden change. In addition, taking the time to do a lot of homework to find the correct vehicles that will fit your fleet is vital.
“Electric works for us, but it may not work for everyone,” Facente said.
To share ideas among employees freely within the fleet, there is a brainstorming session every month, a fleet email group to share ideas, and a shop meeting weekly where technicians are encouraged to share ideas and problem-solve. The fleet has a Learning and Development center on campus with a variety of soft skill classes for every staff member.
Along with brainstorming meetings, there is a staff meeting every quarter where teams are recognized for their job performances. The safe team award is also given when the team goes without accidents.
(Facente would like to thank Associate Vice Chancellor Phil Jones and the late Larry Lane, who was his predecessor getting the program started.)
This week, Fuel What Matters features 100 Best Fleets of the Americas winner City of Durham.
City of Durham’s fleet, which consists of about 1,520 vehicles and equipment, is a typical municipal fleet with cars and trucks (both light/heavy duty), refuse collection vehicles, police and fire vehicles, and construction equipment, according to Fleet Management Director Joseph Clark.
Durham has received the 100 Best Fleets Award every year since 2010, has been named as a Top 50 Fleet by the Leading Fleets Award Program from 2014 to 2018, and has multiple times been recognized for the Green Fleet Awards.
“We are proud to be afforded the opportunity to both participate and be recognized,” Clark said of the 100 Best Fleets award. “Our highest ranking has been 7th, but we are optimistic for the future.”
Clark said he thinks the City of Durham fleet’s careful cost analyzation to determine what works well for the organization and its stakeholders is what the fleet does best.
Durham uses a Fleet Information Management System that captures accurate relative data; and dealer and OEM level software and technician training. The fleet also benchmarks other leading agencies in their successes and failures to minimize missteps and maximize returns; and uses optimized tuning equipment, advanced telematics and idle reduction technology to increase fleet efficiency.
“Our recognition is tied to our dedication to managing the fleet utilizing some of the best and latest tools available,” Clark said.
Durham also has plan in place with a goal of reducing annual maintenance cost and average cost per mile, increasing average fuel economy, and reducing fossil fuel consumption, Clark said.
Through the years, underutilized vehicles have been removed, allowing the fleet to decrease in size. Clark said this has been done by outsourcing police upfit builds, remarketing used vehicles within the City, and adopting a sustainability plan that includes fuel reduction goals, right-sizing and right-typing vehicles, utilizing smaller engines in police vehicles, eliminating 4-wheel drive when not needed, and more.
To keep improving on the City of Durham’s fleet, Clark said they hope to further invest in hybrid vehicles, along with continued investment in anti-idle technology.
In addition to reducing fossil fuel use and right-sizing vehicles, Durham’s fleet also implements programs for its staff.
The fleet holds monthly staff meetings where discussion is focused on topics that encompass the whole organization, Clark said. The City has a program called Idea Starter that encourages new ideas and has a pool of funds to contribute to selected ideas.
“Recognition is a key component that encourages ideas to be brought forward,” Clark said. “We push a continuous learning philosophy.”
Throughout the years, the fleet has also faced challenges. There was a period of time when economic factors forced underfunding of fleet replacement — a deficit that created a backlog of vehicles, Clark said. The fleet continues to try to remedy the backlog while investing new ideas when opportunities exist.
When it comes to advice, Clark suggests “buy-in from the top.”
“Buy-in from the top is paramount — if upper management does not support the idea, it will be difficult to be successful,” Clark said.