Penske Leader Column: Vehicle Electrification in Focus at Penske
Sustainability takes a strong corporate commitment and an integrated team approach to make it happen. At Penske, we are dedicated to readying our businesses for the future of electrification, decarbonization, and enhancing our overall sustainability as responsible corporate citizens.
Penske Transportation Solutions operates and maintains one of the largest truck fleets with more than 372,000 vehicles. For decades, we’ve been involved in actively managing our waste streams and working through programs such as the U.S. EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership to improve our fuel economy and reduce our fleet’s emissions.
In 2018, Penske became the first commercial fleet in North America to take delivery of a fully electric truck from Daimler Truck North America. Since that time, we have only accelerated our efforts to help drive fleet electrification by ordering and running numerous other vehicles from OEMs including light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in North America.
To help make this happen, we have also begun building out an extensive charging network in California to support these new vehicles.
To accomplish introducing these new vehicles, it takes a tremendous corporate commitment and an incredible team. We’re fortunate to have this at Penske from our environmental, fuels and compliance teams, to our procurement and physical operations, at more than 1,300 locations across North America.
A key path forward for our transportation business today is electrification.
Our founder Roger Penske has made it our collective responsibility to contribute to a healthy environment in our communities. Our stakeholders want this from us, our communities ask this, and our associates are pleased to work with a company that cares.
Some of our key learnings with electric trucks are:
- Driver satisfaction: Truck drivers, who have been spending years operating diesel vehicles, are blown away by the experience of driving a battery-electric truck or tractor.
- Noise reduction: Not only is the dramatically quieter ride a huge benefit to drivers, but it also alleviates the majority of the noise emitted externally, making for less disturbance in the neighborhoods where trucks operate.
- Power: The torque, acceleration and ability to maintain speed on inclines is a unique capability of an electric powertrain. Again, this leads to an enhanced driver experience, but there’s an external impact here as well. How many times have you been stuck behind a line of tractor- trailers, on an incline, on an interstate or highway?
- Zero-tailpipe emissions: Let’s be honest, there are still emissions created somewhere to create the energy that fuels a BEV, but this tech will allow us to attack emissions at the source of energy production, as opposed to every single vehicle powerplant cruising the planet. And it allows us to increasingly utilize clean, renewable energy as it becomes more available.
We’ve gained tremendous ground on the vehicle front, but we won’t stop there. Each and every day, we are identifying and deploying more best practices across the supply chain that will strengthen our sustainability efforts.
In addition to enabling our customers to blend battery-electric vehicles into their operations, we’re continuing to take a closer look at our facilities, waste streams, additional fuels and propulsion systems and renewable energy, while continuing to support original research like the State of Sustainable Fleets Report.
We move the things that move the world forward. If we stay true to our purpose and focus on the long term, while adapting to this changing world around us, we will deliver durable returns to shareholders, customers, our associates and the community at large.
By Bill Combs
Vice President Sustainability