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by John McCaw
John McCaw

4 min read

Maximize Sustainability Impact Through Diversified Alternative Energy Vehicle Adoption

June 30, 2023

John McCaw
by John McCaw


Growing environmental concerns and increased government regulations are driving alternative energy vehicle (AEV) adoption in the transportation sector. In fact, organizations like Comcast and Clif Bar & Company have already rolled out their own alternative energy fleets. But despite these efforts, many transportation and sustainability professionals still believe the misconception that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) alone hold the key to achieving widespread AEV adoption.

The reality is that BEVs won’t be practical at scale for years due to scarce vehicle supply and inadequate BEV charging infrastructure. As a result, it’s tempting for industry leaders to wait until BEVs are feasible at scale to make adjustments to their fleets — which doesn’t help them meet short-term emissions reduction goals.

But even if infrastructure and availability concerns are resolved, BEVs may not present the most feasible option among the vast range of energy sources. For instance, BEVs are practical and efficient for short hauls, but charging requirements make them unsuitable for use cases like long-haul trucking.

It’s clear that the shift to clean energy requires careful consideration and planning from transportation and sustainability teams. A portfolio approach to AEV adoption can help teams overcome industry hurdles — and meet emissions reduction goals and climate legislation deadlines.

Why take a portfolio approach to AEV adoption?

It may take years for BEVs to scale. But there are a number of ways you can incorporate AEVs into your transportation network right now. By embracing a polyfuel approach — the use of multiple energy sources to power vehicles — you can diversify your fleets with various AEVs, each offering unique benefits and reducing your transportation network’s carbon footprint.

A holistic approach to AEV adoption also allows you to consider factors ranging from length of haul to evolving policy and infrastructure. This comprehensive view enables you to implement changes to your transportation network that promote long-term emissions reduction.

Here’s why this approach is critical:

  • The complexity of fuel efficiency in modern transportation networks: Suppose you have the choice of deploying either a BEV or a fossil fuel truck for a cross-country haul. It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that EV adoption is the more sustainable option. But you have to account for a vehicle’s full life-cycle emissions. For example, a BEV truck in West Virginia, where 91% of electricity generation comes from coal-fired power plants, may not result in a lower life-cycle emissions profile compared to a newer fossil fuel truck with a high fuel efficiency.
  • Risk mitigation: As we transition to a polyfuel future, we’ve seen a growing range of AEVs emerge, from plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. It’s impossible to predict what the future of these alternative energies and infrastructures will look like, but by diversifying your portfolio you can mitigate risk.

A holistic approach is critical for achieving widespread AEV adoption. To meet your emissions reduction targets, consider consulting with a third-party transportation management technology partner. The right partner can help you track your scope 1 and 3 transportation emissions, equip you with the information to develop relevant and actionable goals, and help you make more informed decisions about AEV adoption.

In addition to identifying a strategic transportation management technology partner, you’ll also need to stay informed about the various incentives and tax credits available to help fund AEV adoption. By leaning on these tools and tactics now, you can set up your organization for a more sustainable future.

Electric vehicles aren’t the only option for AEV adoption

Most people think of BEVs when they hear a polyfuel approach. However, there are countless ways you can begin AEV adoption today — beyond EVs. A portfolio approach to AEV adoption enables you to integrate multiple alternative energies into your transportation network strategy, allowing you to make meaningful progress toward your short- and long-term emissions reduction goals or targets.

Connect with Breakthrough to learn how our CleanMile solution can help you track your scope 1 and scope 3 emissions, as well as create a strategy for AEV adoption that’s tailored to your transportation network.

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