XL Hybrids has received approval for plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) Ford F-150 pickup trucks in the Golden State of California – an industry first.
In fact, XL has the most approvals to sell into California – in the form of “executive orders,” or EO’s, issued by the California Air Resources Board, or CARB – for aftermarket vehicle electrification in the fleet industry, according to the automaker. In addition to PHEV F-150s, XL Hybrids also offers hybrid-electric (HEV) systems for certain model year Ford Transit vans, GM vans and cutaways, and Ford E-Series cutaways.
Any fleet operator who has looked into increasing MPG or saving on vehicle fuel costs is, no doubt, familiar with CARB, one of the most influential agencies in the sustainable energy field. Its mission, which has been chartered due to California’s history of regional air quality problems, is to protect “the public from the harmful effects of air pollution,” and to develop “programs and actions to fight climate change.” CARB’s mandate covers many industries and is particularly influential in the fleet vehicle space.
According to XL Hybrids, among the many things the Board does is issue executive orders that allow for alternative-vehicle technologies – many of which can increase fuel economy – to be legally sold in California. For example, before HEV, PHEV, compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquid propane (LPG) vehicles can be sold and operated in California, these technologies must be tested in laboratories and verified by CARB.
It should be noteworthy for fleet operators that CARB may have even tougher standards coming. CARB board chair Mary Nichols recently told Bloomberg that there is a need to, “pretty much replace all combustion with some form of renewable energy by 2040 or 2050,” in order to cut emissions by 80% from 1990 levels. This means California may severely limit internal combustion engines over the next 20 to 30 years. This would have huge ramifications on just about everyone – consumers, fleet operators and especially automakers.