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EVENT RECAP: Navigating Fleet Transition - Insights from Transit and Trucking Service Providers

Our expert panel from our third EV breakfast series event.

In the wake of new Federal regulations, fleet operators, companies, and municipalities are looking to green their fleets in sustainable, cost-effective ways.

Long-term fleet planning is never easy, but the green transition presents an additional and ever-evolving complexity that is creating an array of challenges, but also some opportunities for our region’s businesses. These challenges include the development of necessary infrastructure, rapidly changing technology, and a disjointed policy framework, that hampers businesses' ability to make informed decisions. Our third and final EV Breakfast for this series saw our panel of energy and transportation experts share their experiences, strategies, and insights into how they are navigating and implementing their fleet transition plans.

Panelists agreed on the need to address the disconnect between policymakers' definitions and the funding mechanisms that governments are creating. 

One proposed solution is for governments to invest in derisking the adoption process for businesses, enabling them to achieve scale zero-emissions solutions more easily and safely. Especially to help businesses commit to purchases or investments in the face of rapidly evolving technology and changing costs of the necessary technology.


No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

In his opening comments, Giles Gherson pointed out that there is no one-size-fits-all solution while emphasizing that achieving net zero is an ambitious, but necessary goal. He stressed that a measured strategic approach is vital to balancing operational requirements for fleet operators with their environmental considerations.

The Challenge of Expansion and Decarbonization

Panel moderator, UPS Canada’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs Carolyn Kim, opened by emphasizing the need to ramp up our decarbonization efforts, especially in the face of Ontario’s massive housing expansion plan of 1.5 million new homes. This growth means that the corresponding goods and movement sector is expected to expand significantly alongside it. However, carbon-neutral responsibilities need to be factored into corporate growth opportunities.


Success Stories and Pioneering Efforts

Joey Cyples, RNG Specialist from Enbridge Gas shared a compelling story of how Hamilton's transit system made a significant transition from diesel, to compressed natural gas (CNG) resulting in Ontario's first carbon-negative bus. Switching off diesel to CNG has led to a drastic 80% reduction in Hamilton's diesel consumption. Today, they proudly operate 250 natural gas buses, setting a commendable example for other transit operators.

Rymal Smith, Owner/Partner & CTO of Change Energy Services, provided insights into the early stages of hydrogen fleet commercialization. While drawing attention to some successful hydrogen fuel applications already in place in Canada and across North America. The challenge, he pointed out, lies not in the application but in scaling up production. Fortunately, like the paradigm shift of the 1880s in which gas-powered cars resolved the transportation-driven municipal horse manure crisis, we are seeing alternative fuels form the basis of tomorrow’s climate solutions. 

Bold Moves and Ambitious Goals

Finally, Crystal Rasa, told us to “Remove impossible from our dictionary!” As the Fulfillment Sourcing Manager for IKEA, she shared their ambitious goal of achieving zero-emission delivery by 2025 across 30 markets. They are already at 15% and are working tirelessly to reach 100%. IKEA’s approach is unique as they aim to integrate sustainability into their core business practices, even if it means taking upfront losses. Rasa noted that this speaks to IKEA’s commitment to sustainability and a model for other companies to follow.

Thank you to our Event Partner Enbridge and Series Partner Toronto Hydro, and speakers from IKEA, Enbridge Gas, Change Energy Services and UPS Canada.