Clean Transportation: Perception vs Reality

It has been a busy summer at Roush. More than 150 different public and private fleets toured our facilities. They learned more about our advanced technology developments for transportation including propane autogas, natural gas, electric and autonomous vehicles. In talking with dozens of people with a wide variety of job responsibilities across these fleets, I thought it would be interesting to summarize some of the key themes.

Perception: Medium-duty electric vehicles are here and commercially viable

The reality is that EVs are still under development for the commercial truck and bus segment. Mass adoption has not yet taken place. There is work to be done on several fronts, including:

  • The integration of the technology and controls strategy needs to improve.
  • Battery cost must continue to come down.
  • Infrastructure needs must be addressed.
  • Service locations must be identified.
  • More OEM involvement needs to occur, so suppliers can start supporting much larger volumes and drive additional innovation.
  • 2nd life for the batteries once they are decommissioned from the vehicle.

Perception: Autonomous vehicles are ready for mass adoption

The reality is that huge advancements have been made. But, the industry is still in the testing phase. They are working through the myriad of technology challenges and safety issues involved in driverless vehicles. There are facets of AV technology deployed in cars and trucks today. Yet, full autonomy is still several years off according to the latest research.

Perception: Big Data on fleet mobility is everywhere

Reality: There have been huge advances in capturing Big Data as it relates to fleet mobility. By leveraging data, operators can reduce vehicle downtime, improve the safety of their operation, and optimize routes — and that’s just the beginning. Our own connectivity pilot program is helping fleet managers operate at peak performance levels and reduce the anxiety of fleets transitioning to a new energy source.

Perception: Propane is solely for backyard grilling

The reality is that it’s available for off-road applications, like forklifts and lawn mowers, and also for on-road transportation, like our Blue Bird buses and Ford commercial vehicles. More than 27 million vehicles travel worldwide with propane autogas in their fuel tank. There are over 1 million children safely riding to and from school on a Blue Bird propane school buses.

For 45 years, the name Roush has been synonymous with engineering innovation in mobility. Give us a call at 800.59.ROUSH to learn more about the future of clean transportation, and we look forward to hosting you on a tour!

Enjoy the last few days of Summer!