With the increasing prevalence of alternative-fuel vehicles in today’s commercial fleets, one of the big question marks has been whether they will bring with them an equally healthy resale market.
One way fleet managers are finding to sell out-of-service alt-fuel vehicles (AFVs) is via www.AFVResale.com.
Designed for Fleets, Open to All
Greg Zilberfarb, CEO and president of TSN Communications and an alternative-fuel expert who has been involved with the industry since the 1990s, started the site about a year ago, specifically for fleets.
“AFVResale.com gives fleets an open forum for consumers everywhere looking to buy and sell previously owned alternative-fuel vehicles and equipment, which is something that’s really lacking in the alternativefuels industry,” Zilberfarb explained. “The reason we established this site is because the demand is there. As people and companies become more environmentally and cost conscious, they begin researching AFVs.”
Since launching in February 2012, the site has listed numerous vehicles, including ones powered by electricity, compressed natural gas (CNG), and propane autogas.
Propane autogas has been, by far, the most popular alternative-fueled vehicle type listed on the site. “The reason for propane autogas’ popularity may be because propane autogas players are most familiar with the site,” said Zilberfarb, who is also an alternative-fuel vehicle consultant for the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC). He added that he hopes to increase awareness across the entire AFV industry to attract a wider breadth of product offerings.
While the site is open to anyone, the typical customer profile has been fleet managers looking to add to their existing alternative-fuel fleet. “However, the reasonable prices of the previously owned alternative-fuel vehicles listed on AFVResale.com make them an ideal fit for fleet managers looking to ‘test the water’ with an alternative fuel,” Zilberfarb noted.
Posting an Alt-Fuel Vehicle
The site was designed to be a trouble-free way to buy and sell alternative-fuel vehicles, according to Zilberfarb, who added that this is why the AFVResale.com team created an “incredibly simple sales process.”
Anyone may create an account. This allows the account holder to post any pre-owned alternative-fuel vehicle he or she has for sale. There’s even an option to log in using a Facebook account to make the process more seamless.
When a potential buyer sees a vehicle they’d like to purchase, he or she can contact the seller directly via the posted contact information. From there, it’s up to the buyer and seller to agree on a price.
The streamlined, easy-to-navigate site reflects the simplicity of the buying and selling process. Vehicles can be listed with or without photos.
Zilberfarb said the quality of the vehicle under the hood is much more important than what the hood itself looks like. “We’ve found that price, mileage, and fuel economy are most important to buyers of previously owned alternative-fuel vehicles,” he said.
However, Zilberfarb said that a posting’s success is typically tied to how detailed it is. “The best advice I can give about posting vehicles on AFVResale.com is to be as descriptive as possible,” Zilberfarb advised.
“Buyers are looking for the make and model, mileage, price, and type of fuel it uses. Whenever possible, we suggest using photos, so the buyer can immediately see the product they’re looking to purchase. The seller will also want to ensure they’re providing good contact information so that prospective buyers are able to contact them quickly.”
As for the future of AFVResale.com, Zilberfarb sees the volatile market for gasoline as consequently creating a market for alternative-fuel vehicles. “By providing an online marketplace, AFVResale.com helps make pre-owned alternative-fuel vehicle sales easy and convenient,” said Zilberfarb.
“Alternative-fuel industry members can benefit through paid advertisements on the site. The number of visitors to the site has already been pretty impressive, and, with demand for AFVs continually on the rise, the possibilities for AFVResale.com are pretty exciting.”