ACT Expo is the open window on the decarbonization of freight transport in North America. The speaker lineup includes over 200 professionals, 350 exhibitors and sponsors, with about 200 vehicles on display. We asked some questions to Lawren Markle, director of media relations at GNA, a TRC Company.

What are the major trends and topics to be discussed this year as for clean transportation advancements at ACT Expo?

Funding is a big part of the program. Professionals often don’t know how to deal with incentives, tax credits and so on, and coming to ACT Expo can be a good way to be aware. It’s a great place to talk through the way incentives work. Also, the reporting requirements for funding are getting more and more important and there will be experts talking about these issues. Of course, a trending topic is hydrogen, now seen as a viable solution mainly for fleets. We’re seeing some companies focusing their attention on building up hydrogen refueling infrastructure in strategic locations along the main freight corridors in North America for heavy-duty trucks. It’s exciting to see it coming: fleets are interested in hydrogen but there’s not suitable infrastructure yet.”

The last edition placed emphasis on component manufacturers, who are the real drivers of the energy transition. Will this be the case again this year? 

There are still a fair number of components being displayed, such as fuel cells, e-axles, engines and other components. These technologies help define next year’s finished products, so it’s exciting to see that evolution. Furthermore, the conference is becoming more and more international, with numerous exhibitors coming from Europe and Asia, too.” 

Could you give us some anticipations on what we’ll see in Las Vegas?

The big companies will be there, such as Volvo Trucks, Navistar, Daimler Truck North America, Mack Trucks, Peterbilt, Kenworth, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some of them. All the big names will be there. On stage we’ve assembled all the big truck makers together talking on the same panel about electrification, strategies, reducing emissions, and more. Even Tesla will have a speaker at ACT Expo. Some more companies, like Nikola for instance, will be there with their own booth.

What effect is the Inflation Reduction Act having on the industry?

The bigger picture is that a lot of activities are happening at the State level now. You have some great federal incentives too, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, which allow for big investments. Moreover, a dozen states have adopted the Advanced Clear Trucks rule. That rule requires manufacturers to sell an increasing percentage of zero emission trucks.  Also, the Advanced Clean Fleets rule is a sort of sister rule implemented in January, requiring many fleets to buy zero emission vehicles. Fleets are starting to realize that change is coming, and investments are needed, now. Regardless of what happens with the national elections at the White House or the Senate, this transition is under way. And there’s also all this money out there. For the first time, companies can claim a 40,000-dollar federal tax credits if they buy a zero-emission truck.” 

So, you don’t foresee a change of direction after the next election in the U.S.

I think that what will happen at the national elections does not imply a big change because you have these long investment cycles like the Inflation Reduction Act or the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with tons of money targeted towards to the transportation sector in order to promote zero- or ultra-low emissions. And in terms of fleets, they have an increasing number of options in both equipment and funding options to make these transition projects happen.”

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