U.S. fleets looking to “go green” continue to grow in number. With constant pressure to lower fuel costs, comply with environmental mandates, and meet business needs, companies seek to increase their use of alternative-fueled vehicles.
“As corporate green mandates prompt more of our customer base to come to ARI for help, we see a trend that balances green with the needs of the business,” said Tom Donato, senior VP of sales and marketing. “This means that today’s customers want environmentally and fiscally responsible fleets — the steak and the sizzle.”
In response to the increase in corporate green initiatives, ARI has stepped up its EnviroFleet Program, first announced in 2001. “Through EnviroFleet, we’re customizing solutions that help customers realize the business value of their green investments by cutting emissions and fleet costs through lower fuel consumption and higher fleet operating efficiency,” Donato said.
EnviroFleet Solutions for a Sustainable Fleet
ARI offers emissions reduction solutions for car, truck, and equipment fleets of all sizes and levels of complexity. The company helps fleets with trucks and diesel vehicles reduce the environmental impact of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate, as well as carbon emissions.
ARI’s EnviroFleet program can improve vehicle efficiency and lower fuel consumption, thus shrinking a fleet’s overall emissions footprint and even helping generate savings. The company’s profiling and benchmarking technology can measure a fleet’s carbon footprint, show the link between fuel use and fleet practices, and interpret the impact of CO2 and other chemicals released into the air.
“Through best-practices tools and the latest technology, we can deliver strategies for vehicle right-sizing, spec’ing, and selecting vehicles by work application, telematics-based route efficiency planning, and emission reductions and savings tracking,” said Jim Creighton, VP of global strategic services, who joined ARI in 1983. “All of which helps fleet managers put on the road vehicles that are both environmentally and fiscally responsible.”
Creighton is currently responsible for global consulting and sales activities, including direct involvement with ARI’s environmental initiatives. He also is actively involved in the company’s Partners in Excellence quality assurance program, and he facilitates ARI’s strategic planning group.
EnviroFleet an Enterprise-Wide Initiative
EnviroFleet helps ARI’s client fleet operations substantiate, quantify, and promote their contributions to corporate green mandates.
“EnviroFleet is an enterprise-wide program that is one of our company’s key strategic planning initiatives,” he said. “We have incorporated green into the DNA of our organization.”
The core of the program includes helping fleets reduce the impact of CO2, NOx, and particulates via customized environmental consulting services that include:
Creighton also works with ARI overseas partners to stay ahead of the curve.
“Our scope extends outside North America,” he said. “For instance, in Europe, carbon emission limits are already mandatory, and while they are currently voluntary here, it’s only a matter of time until they’re law.”
Creighton emphasizes that working closely with ARI’s global partners is essential to incorporating services into one package. He asks questions such as, “How do they monitor and track? How are they handling products and services and the environmental impact?”
Also critical to the program’s success is collaboration with professional and governmental organizations, such as the Clean Cities Coalition, EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership, and the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute (AFVi).
“We reach out to these organizations because they help us stay current on trends, legislation, and technology,” Creighton said.
EnviroFleet Seminars Provide Insights
ARI conducted an EnviroFleet seminar in San Diego in October for fleet managers and decision-makers. The seminar featured presentations by Leo Thomason, AFVi cofounder and training director. Thomason addressed the use of alternative fuel vehicles as an important part of a green fleet strategy.
In addition, Creighton and Jeff Robley, ARI’s national truck sales manager, educated attendees on the advantages of utilizing hybrid vehicles in their fleets. Creighton and Robley addressed federal incentives offered today to companies taking advantage of alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicles for business use, regenerative braking, significant fuel savings opportunities, and reductions in idle time.
“People love to hear reality rather than only hearing about the theory,” Creighton said. “So we also presented case studies during the seminar.”
One case study discussed at the seminar involved a real estate management company that operates 1,000 vehicles, primarily compact SUVs and small pickups. The fleet’s main concerns were becoming more environmentally conscious, operating safely and in all climates, garnering potential marketing as a “green” company, and meeting local emission standards.
Consulting with the company, ARI defined its current baseline, determined what currently worked for the company, what drivers required to do their jobs and what they would like to see changed, and improvement possibilities.
ARI determined the fleet was a perfect fit for hybrid operation. Not only would hybrid use lower harmful emissions and fuel costs, but the company would enhance its corporate image, lower maintenance expense, and lengthen brake life.
The seminar was one of several ARI holds across the U.S. to help educate companies on the benefits of EnviroFleet and other green measures.
Other ARI education efforts include Webinars, white papers, case histories, vehicle-specific alternate-fuel training, the EnviroFleet newsletter, and a detailed reference library that includes manufacturers’ hybrids, government ratings, and alternate fuels; information on industry trends, regulatory, and other relevant issues; and client initiatives and industrywide best practices.