Charging of a Freightliner eCascadia

Ready, set, plug in: EVs drive new business model for leasing, rental operations

July 13, 2023
“In theory, EVs should work in favor of leasing or rental due to the complexity of implementing solutions and the infrastructure required to support it,” said Kurt Hollinger, VP of national accounts and leasing at Volvo Trucks North America

As the electric vehicle market for commercial vehicles continues to grow, leasing and rental operations are actively planning for a plugged-in future, experts said.

“We see the EV segment being in the very early stages, but it definitely adds complexity around range, application, and charging,” said Jim Lager, executive VP of sales and rental at Penske Truck Leasing. “We can reduce the risk and exposure to unknowns for fleet operators. We can provide one-stop support for customers, which includes vehicles, funding, help in securing grants, and charging.”

Leasing and rentals offer an excellent way for companies to test out new technology without committing to up-front acquisition costs, which can be quite high, Andrew Keane, director of franchise operations at Paccar Leasing, noted. “We’re working to help franchises and our customers identify, apply for, and obtain grant funding to lower their capital investment as they transition to electric vehicles.”

“In theory, EVs should work in favor of leasing or rental due to the complexity of implementing solutions and the infrastructure required to support it,” said Kurt Hollinger, VP of national accounts and leasing at Volvo Trucks North America. “Another benefit of working with leasing companies is their ability to devote the necessary resources to deployment and carry the capital expense.”

Related content: What will a national EV charging system look like?

Rental fleets are a perfect avenue to introduce battery-electric trucks to new customers, related Lee Brodeur, VP of services and solutions operations and leasing at Mack Trucks. “What has changed is that the leasing company has to provide new expertise around battery life, charging, and route planning,” he added. “This requires different experts, skill sets, and tools to assist lease and rental customers with anything they need to introduce EVs into their fleets.”

“We expect fleets to have a higher propensity to outsource EVs due to challenges with vehicle acquisition and financing, new services, charging, and infrastructure,” said John Barlow, VP of global asset management at Ryder System. “Having a provider that can cover the EVs, as well as the charging and services required, is critical for making EV adoption and implementation a simple solution.”

“Electric vehicle operation and infrastructure will have a substantial impact on our fleets’ operations, and DTNA is committed to supporting our customers on this journey,” said Greg Treinen, VP of on-highway market development at Daimler Truck North America.

“When that transition happens, it is going to change our industry exponentially, and our value proposition to our customer is going to look a lot different than it does today,” said Dean Vicha, president of NationaLease. “We’re talking to OEMs, partners, and customers all the time about this. We’re gathering data as to how these trucks are going to operate, what our value proposition is going to be to our customers, and how to become the EV lessor of choice in the marketplace."

Related content: Early adopter fleet opens up about EV range, charging in real world

“At the end of the day, customers just want their assets to be used to deliver their product in the most cost-efficient way possible because that’s what gives them an advantage over their competition,” Vicha continued. “We are going to do the leg work on the front end and have the relationships and support network to take care of these trucks. That is what we have to be learning about and adopting right now.”

Treinen said: “Daimler Truck North America has a team of experts, Detroit eConsultants, who have worked with customers over the past several years to help electrify commercial trucking fleets. This team is able to support customers in right-sizing infrastructure, choosing ideal chargers, navigating rebates and incentives, assisting with site selection, providing connectivity insights, and offering photovoltaic and energy storage options and more.

Freightliner also maintains the leading dealer network in North America, which is well-prepared for the transition to battery-electric vehicles. With over 90% of the Freightliner dealer base having completed a proprietary EV Masters Sales training course, dealers are fully equipped to answer EV questions and evaluate the best use cases for eCascadia and eM2 as well as identify potentially relevant EV rebates in a specialized database.”

This article originally appeared on FleetOwner.com.

About the Author

Seth Skydel

Seth Skydel, a veteran industry editor, has more than 36 years of experience in fleet management, trucking, and transportation and logistics publications. Today, in editorial and marketing roles, he writes about fleet, service, and transportation management, vehicle and information technology, and industry trends and issues.

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