CHICAGO – A standing-room only audience attended the opening keynote address on future green vehicle offerings at the Green Fleet Conference, held September 15-16 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The first-time event drew a greater than anticipated 350 attendees, primarily commercial and public sector fleet managers.
The keynote address was given by Mike Antich, Automotive Fleet magazine editor, who presented a "Sneak Preview of Upcoming Green Fleet Vehicles: 2009-2013 Model-Years," covering future production plans for green fleet vehicles by 18 OEMs. His address led a packed two days of 17 conference sessions. Most sessions offered subject matter experts, primarily veteran fleet managers, who are currently implementing green fleet initiatives. These fleet managers shared best practices and expertise with audience attendees.
Session topics included green fleet cost-cutting strategies, greenhouse gas emission reduction programs, use of telematics and modified driver behavior to reduce emissions, fleet metrics, real-world hybrid fleet operating costs, hybrid vehicle remarketing strategies, carbon offsets, AFV lifecycle cost calculations, availability of green fleet funding and incentives, and 2010 diesel emissions standards.
In a keynote address, James Bruce, an attorney, engineer, energy and climate change issues consultant, reviewed pending and likely federal environmental-related legislation impacting the transportation and fleet industries.
Panel session members offered a wealth of advice and observations on green fleet issues, including:
- Use the Clean Cities program as a valuable local resource for alt-fuel vehicle information and support.
- All fleets benefit from publicizing their successful green fleet efforts.
- A multipronged approach is best for real-world green fleet implementation.
- A big challenge, particularly with hybrid vehicles, is the widespread lack of trained technicians to provide vehicle maintenance and repair.
- A gradual, multiphase program to implement green fleet initiatives will help promote its success.
- Utilize telematics not only to improve fuel efficiency, but also to reduce miles driven.
- Efforts to reduce vehicle idling is part of the bigger issue of changing driver behavior.
- The current consistently high resale value for hybrid vehicles may be impacted in the future by new technologies.
- When developing green fleet initiatives, particularly vehicle selectors, focus on fuel and emission reductions, not a particular technology.
More photos to come. Please check www.greenfleetconference.com for the conference photo gallery within the next few weeks.