July 8, 2024

Breaking Down the ACT Expo in Las Vegas – Trends, Key Topics, and Industry Growth

The Advanced Clean Transportation (or ACT) Expo, has become one of the largest events in the transportation and trucking sector. Every year, the event showcases the future of sustainable transportation with innovative technologies such as electric vehicle (EV) trucks, advanced refrigeration units (reefers), alternative fuels such as hydrogen and natural gas, and onsite charging infrastructure. Attendees hear from top executives at industry leading companies like Volvo, Daimler, Penske, Tesla, and more.

GridMarket’s Director of Sales and Project Management, Peter Schneider, was in person in Las Vegas at ACT this year, along with partners PLM Trailer Leasing and a number of clients pursuing clean energy solutions through the GridMarket platform to support fleet electrification initiatives. Peter participated in a number of events, was active on the expo floor, and coordinated with new and existing partners in the advanced transportation space throughout the week. 

Growth, Growth, and More Growth

The commercial fleet transportation and logistics sector is experiencing significant growth as large companies increasingly prioritize sustainability and technological advancement, and this was especially evident across the ACT event. With a mounting focus on reducing carbon emissions, many corporations are electrifying their fleets, driven by both regulatory pressures and a commitment to environmental responsibility. This shift is spurring innovation and investment in electric vehicle technology, charging infrastructure, and energy management systems. Additionally, advancements in telematics, autonomous driving, and AI-driven logistics optimization are transforming fleet operations, making them more efficient and eco-friendly. 

Transportation and logistics companies are not only achieving lower emissions, but also reaping the benefits of reduced fuel costs, enhanced route planning, and predictive maintenance. This dynamic evolution within the sector underscores a broader trend towards sustainable business practices and the integration of cutting-edge technologies to meet the growing demands for green and efficient logistics solutions. 

A number of major players on both the fleet and ownership/operator sides unveiled new concept vehicles, ready-to-deploy electric trucks, new charging stations, and large-scale electrification plans. The growth is substantial, and as demonstrated by the new announcements, the market is evolving at a rapid pace. 

Supply Chain Management – The Key To Smooth and Successful Electrification 

A clear trend that emerged across the many panels and demonstrations at ACT was the importance of robust supply chain management. Electrifying a fleet involves more than just swapping out internal combustion engine vehicles for EVs; it requires a holistic approach that encompasses the procurement of vehicles, charging infrastructure, energy supply, and maintenance services. Efficient supply chain management ensures that these components are seamlessly integrated, maximizing operational efficiency and minimizing downtime. Fleet operators are coordinating with multiple stakeholders – from vehicle manufacturers and charging station providers to utility companies and service technicians – ensuring reliable and sustainable transitions. Additionally, supply chain resilience is crucial in mitigating risks associated with the availability of critical EV components like batteries and onsite facility infrastructure, which are subject to market fluctuations and need appropriate financial structuring. Effective supply chain management in fleet electrification not only enhances operational reliability and cost-efficiency but also supports broader environmental and sustainability goals by enabling a smoother and more scalable transition to greener transportation solutions.

Emerging Competition: The Rise [And Fall] of Smaller Companies

The landscape of the transportation and logistics industry is not only being shaped by technological advancements but also by the rise of new, smaller companies that are leveraging these technologies to break into the market. These startups and smaller enterprises are bringing fresh ideas and agility to a traditionally large-scale industry. A number of new companies debuted new solutions and trucks at the expo this year, promising emissions reductions while meeting demands and not compromising performance.

Smaller companies often have the advantage of being more agile and innovative. Without the burden of legacy systems and processes, they can quickly adopt new technologies and business models, setting new standards for efficiency and customer service. Many new entrants are focusing on niche markets that address discrete logistics needs. Specialization means companies can offer tailored services that the larger, more generalized companies might overlook. 

Smaller, nimble organizations often place a stronger emphasis on customer experience, leveraging technology to offer real-time tracking, flexible delivery options, and superior customer service. This customer-centric approach can win over clients looking for more responsive and personalized logistics solutions. Lastly, smaller companies are increasingly forming strategic partnerships with technology providers, local businesses, and other startups. These collaborations can enhance their service offerings and expand their reach without the need for significant capital investment.

While these small companies with innovative solutions have the flexibility to disrupt the traditional transportation sector, it has become evident in the industry that some companies are not prepared to scale or meet the demands of transacting in this market. Many companies that were emerging as potential innovators at the conference last year were no longer in attendance this year. Operating demands, growth and scale, and technology proof points are all key for solutions to continue and thrive. Confidence in partners across the supply chain is critical to securing value and success for fleet upgrades and infrastructure enhancements.

Looking Ahead to Next Year

With the 2025 ACT Expo already on the calendar, there is now a year for companies, partnerships, and technologies to grow, innovate, and have an impact on the transportation market. When asked what he hopes to see as ACT Expo 2025, Peter said, “I hope to see more success stories. Growth is happening at such an accelerated rate, and now we need electrification and infrastructure projects to scale across these fleets and logistics portfolios, with partners who are ready to maximize value and meet these aggressive targets.”

To learn more about GridMarket’s week at ACT and hear how our platform is helping fleets install the critical onsite clean infrastructure that powers EVs and chargers, schedule a chat today!

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