Green Fleet Planning

There is no standard definition for ‘green fleet’ in Webster’s dictionary, and asking Alexa is futile – even Siri will be stumped! However, at Fleet Challenge we know that successful green fleets tend to focus on two overarching goals:

  • To optimize efficiency (i.e., mode of travel, fuel, route planning, operations, managing driver behaviors, best practices, fleet/vehicle size, etc.)
  • To increase the use of alternative/ renewable fuels and sustainable technologies
Low-Carbon Solutions

Fleet Challenge maintains that to be successful, well-planned and executed low-carbon, green fleet plans should be sustainable – both environmentally and financially. For this reason, our approach to developing sustainable low-carbon, green fleet strategies for our clients is based on data modeling of the current situation and a number of go-forward scenarios.

To achieve optimal efficiency in completing green fleet analysis and planning, our team uses our own data-modeling software tool “Fleet Analytics Review” (FAR™). FAR is used extensively by Fleet Challenge to analyze complex fleet planning initiatives, in order to develop challenging, yet realistic and achievable green fleet plans that are cost-effective.

The proprietary FAR software tool uses historical cost metrics and vehicle operating data (i.e., miles/kms-driven, fuel usage, repair and maintenance costs, unit age, cost of capital, downtime, residual value, etc.) to establish the fleet’s fuel usage and GHG emissions baseline, but also financial and service levels (i.e., utilization, availability/uptime) performance. FAR highlights the exception units – vehicles whose function is sub-standard regarding cost and performance; it identifies the reason(s) why, thereby enabling management opportunity for action(s).

With the fleet’s FAR baseline established, the software is then used to model go-forward fuel usage and GHG reduction methods. FAR takes into consideration the operating expense (Opex) implications and assesses whether capital expense (Capex), investment, or up-charges for premium (e.g., more fuel-efficient) vehicles or fuel-saving technologies and/or best practices will be offset by Opex reductions.


If an alternate or renewable fuel (such as natural gas, propane, biodiesel etc.) or electrification (such as battery-electric or plug-in hybrid, mild hybrid, etc.), or some other energy source were under consideration as a means of saving fuel (and emissions), FAR calculates whether the investment in vehicle conversion costs, and/or fueling infrastructure, or electric vehicle supply (charging) equipment (EVSE), would yield a net operating reduction, and in what time frame.

Fleet Modernization

Newer vehicles are (generally) more fuel-efficient and issue less GHG emissions. In this context, FAR is especially useful in calculating the Opex impacts of vehicles retained in the fleet beyond their viable age and when salvage values are diminished. Aged, earlier technology vehicles consume more fuel and consequently produce more GHGs. Older vehicles (usually) cost more to operate, are less reliable and may also present a safety risk – FAR calculates and quantifies these impacts in a business case format.

Electric Vehicles

Is this the end of the ‘ICE age’? (ICE=internal combustion engine). Globally, some jurisdications have already legislated the end of the internal combustion engine. It is clear that vehicle electrification has reached it’s tipping point – sales of EVs are rising with some manufacturers exeeding their sales targets of EVs, and demand for electric vehicles often exceeding supply.

For fleet managers, light-duty battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hydrid (PHEV) options (cars, SUVs) are here and now. Coming very soon are electric pickups, medium and heavy trucks, all of which have been announced by major, and emerging auto/truck manufacturers. It’s only a matter of time when EV trucks will become commonplace. And with electic vehicles comes (usually) lower operating costs, less moving parts, reduced maintenance demand and of course, zero tailpipe emmissions.

For fleet managers, its time to start thinking about, and planning for EVs and EV charging equipment. Todays EVs have greater range than ever, but some applications may not be suitable candidates for electrification at this time.

EVs will have an additional acquisition cost even with sudsidies (if available and applicable). For maximum impact and return on investment, and in consideration of capital budget planning, the correct placements in your fleet must be carefully considered.

To assist fleet managers in making these types of cost-benefit EV decisions, Fleet Challenge recently developed a new EV Cost-Benefit tool. The tool is used to make data-based analysis for a variety of fleet and vehicle types, from cars up to class 8 trucks. The tool compares the total cost of ownership (TCO) for EVs to standard ICE vehicles.

The tool uses actual, average operating metrics from our own proprietary fleet database (almost 50,000 vehicles) to make evaluations as to EV cost/benefit. For a Powerpoint desription of the tool click here

The tool is available free of charge for the asking from Fleet Challenge, RSI (our not-for-profit). Click here to request a free copy

Green Fleet Recommendations

With our FAR analysis of the available low-carbon, green fleet options completed we will present our detailed recommendations and implementation strategies for you, our client’s consideration.

For each scenario Fleet Challenge will present the strengths, weaknesses, risks and benefits to help inform fleet management personnel in decision-making around which of the strategies should be adopted and when they should take place. These decisions should be made with consideration for budgets and cash flow planning, current and expected future business climate, and corporate culture.

Green Fleet Success Factors

From our team’s work in developing low-carbon, green fleet strategies for more than 15 years, we have observed that certain elements lead to the highest rates of successful implementation. These include:

  • A corporate culture that encourages environmental leadership 
  • An internal “champion”
  • Commitment to greening the fleet – from the ground floor operational level up to the most senior level of the organization 
  • Carefully managed risk – and a willingness to experiment 
  • A strong green fleet commitment – stated in policy, clearly defined timelines and responsibilities
  • Procurement policies that take into consideration life cycle costs of vehicles
  • Carefully prepared green fleet plans that are based in reality and practicality
  • Reliable and consistent fleet operating data 
  • Measurable, measured, and achievable goals – with a degree of stretch
  • A strong communications team to share successes

Contact Fleet Challenge today to discuss your green fleet plans and objectives.

Please visit the E3 Fleet Standards Program, our affiliated not-for-profit green fleet accreditation program.

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