Will Net-Zero Emissions Targets Spell the End of Small Heavy Truck Repair Shops?

There is no doubt that the earth we live on has been compromised by climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). And so much so that the global space race is even heating up due to the perceived need to find a new planet for us to inhabit. Even the World Health Organization has joined in with its own cries of dire health consequences for humans if we don’t stop polluting the world.

Record breaking high temperatures and drought spawning wildfires around the world add to the problem, killing people by burning and crippling respiratory ailments. So the seemingly simple- though not easy- answer is to stop consuming the fossil fuels and coal that cause the GHGs. In short, no more using gasoline and diesel fuels to power cars and trucks.

Electric vehicles face hurdles

In tackling the dilemma, Original Equipment Manufacturers are already marketing electric vehicles; both automobiles and heavy trucks are offered.

Unfortunately, they all seem to come with serious drawbacks and limitations. Banks of batteries are expensive, as are electric motors, and lack of sufficient charging infrastructure combined with limited range of these vehicles make it seem like we’re back in the days of converting from horse and buggy to fledgling autos.

There is also a need for qualified maintenance and repair shops with trained technicians and safety protocols to service high voltage electric vehicles. And with zero-emission requirements unlikely to go away, shops will need to evolve with changes to the electrified cars and trucks.

For humans’ sake diesel must give way

As diesel semis are phased out over the next two decades and beyond, they must be replaced by zero-emission tractors. This will undoubtedly put many small fleets between a rock and a hard place for a time.

Electric tractors are likely to cost much more than diesel powered units initially, though some estimates show a reversal in that trend to come as early as the year 2030. Not soon enough for small fleet operators and owner operators.

As for small heavy truck repair shops, they will have to invest in technology and equipment suitable for servicing their customer trucks initially but will surely recoup their capital over time. And all repair shops will be faced with ongoing training costs as vehicles evolve.

Using sun and wind to generate electricity

Solar power and wind turbines will need to be more heavily relied upon for producing electric power as generating electricity is currently highly reliant upon fossil fuels and coal. Therein lies a further cause of GHGs that the world must face as a challenge.

Of course, hydrogen electric vehicles are also in the mix. They produce near zero emissions as hydrogen fuel consumption produces water vapor. But still, hydrogen fuel is not cheap to produce and means small shops will still have to convert to another new technology along with electrification.

Small fleets and shops must maintain their foothold

Undoubtedly, some small fleets and small repair shops will not have the capital necessary to convert to zero-emission equipment unless they begin to build cash reserves. We urge you to start putting away a fixed, periodic amount in a separate fund so you are at least somewhat ready for the inevitable conversion. 

Much of a small shop service manager’s job will remain the same. You’ll still need to talk with customers, issue ROs and POs, assign technicians’ work, track technicians’ job time, complete the ROs, and send invoices.

Those duties can be streamlined by utilizing an affordable software – based shop management system to reduce your workload.

And remember: new technology will not wait for anyone. It’s coming and it’s coming fast. Start preparing for it now by reading up on and following the new equipment trends and how they will affect your fleet or shop.

This is no time to bury your head in the sand and ignore it. Times are changing…again. What goes around comes around. Small fleets and small shops can survive if they prepare in advance. Start now.

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