Organizations with transportation fleets are continuing to emphasize shorter truck life cycles, according to an industry benchmarking survey from Fleet Advantage, a provider of financing, fleet data analytics, fleet management services, and life cycle cost management for heavy-duty Class-8 trucks.
The majority of respondents in the survey (59%) indicated they are operating their trucks five years or less before replacement, which continues to support today’s greater focus on shortening asset life cycles. This number was also 59% last year, up from 45% two years ago, Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Fleet Advantage said in the report.
One reason for that rising emphasis on operating newer vehicles is that most respondents (40.7%) listed improved fuel economy as the top motivating factor in securing new trucks, followed by lower maintenance and repair expenses (33.3%).
Another 18.5% mentioned they are focused on right-sizing the number of trucks in their fleet to align with economic conditions. Furthermore, slightly more than a quarter of respondents (25.9%) said they feel today’s higher costs of fuel, maintenance, and borrowing make long-term contracts less attractive.
In other results, the survey showed that fleets are shifting their focus from electricity to hydrogen as the preferred alternate fuel to move their trucks. Results last February showed that 65% of respondents said they were most interested in electric trucks, while 15% cited hydrogen and 25% CNG. But the latest research revealed that 33.3% planned to choose electric vehicles (EVs) and 38.5% would pick hydrogen.
The survey also showed that various fleets have unique timelines in how soon they wish to bridge over to alternate fuels. One reason for that condition is that all fleets have a unique adoption “bridge” to cross, the researchers said.
Fleet Advantage says its Electric Vehicle Analytic Navigator (EVAN) tool is one way to help companies sharpen their estimates of that process. The software compares total cost of ownership (TCO) for a diesel versus an electric class 8 vehicle, with modeling that evaluates fuel and mileage data versus kWh comparisons from the first year through a six-year life cycle.
“It continues to be clear that business agility, financial flexibility, and a strategic eye toward future fuel options remain front and center for companies with transportation fleets and for-hire fleets,” Brian Antonellis, CTP, Senior Vice President of Fleet Operations, for Fleet Advantage, said in a release. “We’re seeing the bridge to alternate fuel technology continue to shrink, and now fleets are beginning to realize they need the right analytic tools to identify the adoption time that makes the most sense for their organizations.”