The next stage of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Phase 2 emissions requirements will affect model year (MY) 2024 Class 8 tractors, and continued advances in electric trucks could change how original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requirements.

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Renewable diesel — an advanced fuel option that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while meeting the same specifications as petroleum diesel — can be added to existing fuel truck systems, to help lower a fleet’s carbon footprint. As a drop-in fuel that can be used in place of ultra-low-sulfur diesel, renewable diesel is helping bridge the gap as the trucking industry moves toward zero-emission vehicles without extra equipment or infrastructure cost related to battery-electric vehicles.

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In the third annual State of Sustainable Fleets Market Brief, released today and available at no cost, transportation fleets continued to report a resounding trend — their use of clean fuels and advanced vehicle technologies is rapidly progressing. Report title sponsors are Daimler Truck North America, Penske Transportation Solutions, and Shell Oil Company. Cummins, Inc. is a supply chain sponsor of the report.

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Penske Truck Leasing is adding Orange EV electric terminal trucks for use with customers across the U.S. The vehicles are designed for trailer-handling operations in truck yards, warehousing and distribution centers, container terminals and related operations where short-distance moves are required.

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Penske Transportation Solutions makes its return to the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in 2022 with an action-packed presence in Long Beach, California. The company is a Presenting Sponsor of the conference itself (which runs May 9-12) and a Title Sponsor of the third annual Gladstein, Neandross and Associates (GNA)-produced State of Sustainable Fleets Report.

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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.

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Regular maintenance of Class 8 vehicles requires replacing and removing fluids to keep vehicles running. Used fluids must be recycled or disposed of correctly and documented from cradle to grave to meet regulatory requirements. Additionally, customers are increasingly interested in monitoring their carbon output and documenting recycling efforts.

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On Thursday, Team Penske and long-time partner Freightliner, part of Daimler Truck North America (DTNA), made history by using the pre-production, fully-electric Freightliner eCascadia semi-truck to pull a full-sized Team Penske racecar hauler to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum ahead of this weekend’s Clash event.

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Auxiliary power units (APUs) reduce the need for idling, allowing fleets to reduce fuel costs, increase engine life and improve driver comfort. APUs have traditionally been used in sleeper berths but are increasingly being used in day cabs.

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Penske Truck Leasing continues to expand its fleet electrification efforts including the evaluation of important related technologies to support the emerging charging needs of battery electric trucks. Since April 2021, Penske has worked with Stem, Inc., a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI)-driven energy storage services, to pilot its Athena® smart energy storage software and operate an advanced battery storage system. The pilot project included a 350 kilowatt (kW)/800 kilowatt hour (kWh) battery system powered by Stem's Athena at Penske's heavy-duty truck charging positions in Ontario, California.

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Penske Transportation Solutions will take part in this year's Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, California. Penske is a Presenting Sponsor and an expert will moderate a session. The event runs from August 30 to September 2 at the Long Beach Convention Center.

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Since early 2020, Fastenal has participated with Penske in a long-term test program of two battery electric Freightliner eM2 box trucks within its Los Angeles metro area operations. In that same spirit of environmental sustainability and innovation, the company also recently joined with Penske to complete a short-term pilot of a pre-series battery electric Class 8 truck, the Freightliner eCascadia.

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Penske Truck Leasing is teaming up with ROUSH CleanTech and Proterra Inc in a new collaboration to advance the development of its next-generation Ford F-650 all-electric commercial truck.

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Penske Truck Leasing recently took delivery of two VNR Electrics from Volvo Trucks North America, expanding its fleet of battery-electric Class 8 models available in Southern California. Its first Volvo VNR Electrics will be used by two consumer retail companies, enabling both customers to gain firsthand insight into the many benefits of battery-electric trucks, the ease of recharging, and the ideal routes to deploy additional units in the future.

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The North American Council for Freight Efficiency estimates that 90% of trucks will use automated manual transmissions (AMTs) by 2027 as original equipment manufacturers work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet federal standards. AMTs provide a range of benefits to fleets, and the technology has become table stakes for many fleets.

Mike Hasinec, former vice president of maintenance for Penske Truck Leasing, said that over the past few years, he has seen close to a 95% or greater take rate for AMTs on Class 8 vehicles with Penske customers. “We made AMTs standard on our tractor rental fleet a few years ago," he said.

Mike Roeth, executive director for NACFE, said AMTs have won nearly everywhere. “Engines have become super smart and to put a 'dumb' transmission behind it is silly," he said.

With AMTs, the fleet's overall average fuel economy is improved. “It brings your poorest performers up to the middle of the pack so to speak, which improves the fleet's overall average," Hasinec said.

AMTs enable downspeeding, as rear axle ratios under about 2.7 require too many shifts for a manual to manage. However, with an AMT it is virtually unnoticeable, Roeth said. “They also help with safety equipment, advanced cruise control methodologies, etc.," he explained.

AMTs offer several maintenance benefits. Compared to manuals, the clutch life is longer and gear damage is mostly eliminated as electronics make the shift versus the driver. “Also, most AMTs can provide torque limiting, which can reduce damage to the transmission, rear axles and drive shafts," Hasinec said. “The drive shaft is typically the weakest link so it would be the most prone to damage if torque was not controlled."

Driver attraction and retention are one of the greatest benefits of AMTs. “New drivers won't shift trucks. Many younger potential truck drivers don't even drive. That is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the percentage of 16- to 25-year-olds that don't even have a car driver's license has increased substantially," Roeth said.

AMTs provide greater ease of use and in some cases, Roeth said, NACFE has even seen drivers who want full automatics that have power shifting. That means there is no significant reduction in RPM to make the shift. “This makes for a super smooth and productive launch for a traffic light or out onto the road," he said.

Hasinec said AMTs greatly reduce driver training time as proper shifting takes time to train and teach. Driver recruiting and retention also improve due to less driver fatigue, especially in local and regional operations with a lot of stop and go and various speed limits.

“Operations like this require a lot of shifting with manual transmissions. Safety is also increased as drivers can focus more on driving, less on shifting and can have two hands on the steering wheel at all times," Hasinec said.

It is critical to set up the parameters correctly when ordering the vehicle in order for a fleet to achieve their goals as far as the operation and fuel economy, Hasinec said. “Things like kick down, manual shifting in select gears, eco coast, etc., all need to be considered when spec'ing the vehicle," he explained.

Roeth said the resale value of manual trucks has suffered. “Companies just don't want them," he said.

One of the challenges with AMTs has been the cost, but Roeth said scale has helped decrease the price difference.

February 2021

Throughout 2020, Penske continued to drive innovation within its fleet. Here's a look back at some of the top moments of 2020 related to commercial electric trucks and charging.

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The scope of reverse logistics — moving products from the end-user back to the point of origin — can be broad, encompassing everything from moving reusable containers back to a manufacturing facility to bringing back retail returns to a distribution center. Reverse logistics can present a vast range of challenges, but Penske has extensive experience transporting products where they are needed.

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