While some automakers companies have introduced hybrid and electric cars, most of the recent fuel economy gains have come from improving traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.
Automakers have improved the fuel economy of some of their most popular models: Subaru has redesigned the transmission of its Outback; Mazda has new engine technology; Toyota has precisely controlled the timing of engine valves with electric motors in the Camry; Chevrolet has switched to a smaller engine in the Malibu and Ford's F-150 is 700 pounds lighter with high-strength aluminum.
"The Trump administration may go even further than automakers want and freeze the standards entirely at model year 2021 levels, according to an early draft of the proposed rules. If that proposal is finalized, automakers will no longer be required to invest in new fuel-saving technologies after the next few years."
Read the article at The New York Times.
By Wendy Eichenbaum
Too many companies believe that everyone is their target customer.
But products don’t speak to the masses, only to a defined audience. You need to find your niche and concentrate on that group.
When you start by defining a niche audience, you can invest your marketing budget on a highly targeted audience that is already talking about your industry. You can create custom websites that address specific needs or pain points. And you can craft your product’s feature set to meet those needs.
Consider two areas when defining your target audience. First, create a fictional buyer whose needs align perfectly with your product.
Managing a fleet of last mile delivery vehicles is relatively new opportunity - and one that comes with its own unique set of challenges.
Drive.ai, a Silicon Valley-based autonomous vehicle tech startup, has selected the Dallas-Fort Worth area for its first fleet test because of the diversity of cities, and also the number of cities that have very transportation-focused agendas.
Rides will be free to people who download an app to hail one of four bright orange Nissan NV200 micro-vans outfitted with Drive.ai technology.
“Our external communication panels give us a different way to communicate with people outside the car,” Andrew Ng, a Stanford professor of computer science who led AI projects at Baidu and Google said. “If you see the car stopped at a crosswalk as you cross, if there's no human driver how do you know the car sees you? One way is to use an exterior communication panel that says 'waiting for you to cross.'"
Read the article at Forbes.
One of the popular sessions at the recent NAFA Institute & Expo was Be Great at Global Fleet Management. Moderated by NAFA Secretary/Treasurer David Hayward, the speakers were John Dmochowsky, CAFM, Senior Global Fleet Manager at Mondelez International and Dawn Santelli, Senior Vice President International Business Team at LeasePlan USA.
This week in FMW, we feature an article on Dmochowsky’s remarks from the session. About Santelli, Dmochowsky says, “All the successes I’ve had are based on a strategic partnership that turned into a friendship.”
Is that not the perfect tribute to the essence of our industry?
Editor in Chief
By Mark Boada, Executive Editor
There seems to be no end to the electrical, electronic, digital gizmos and applications that promise, and mostly do, make our lives better, make us more productive, save money or all three at the same time.
But every once in a while, there comes to the fleet world a novel solution that doesn’t involve the highest of high-tech wizardry, that is elegantly simple -- a better mousetrap, if you will, that is both beautifully effective and powerfully cost-efficient.
Let me introduce you to Booster. It’s a four-year-old company based in Burlingame, California, that can save a fleet tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by eliminating their drivers' trips to the gas station. Instead, Booster will dispatch gasoline tanker trucks to any location to top off fleet vehicles’ gas tanks while they sit in a parking lot or depot or in the field.
In addition to pumping gas, Booster’s trained drivers can also make sure your tires are filled to the proper air pressure, and soon are expected to perform on-site oil changes, wash your car and even detail it, inside and out.
During the Chapter Appreciation Luncheon on April 24, an individual who is well-known to NAFA membership took the stage to let I&E attendees know of great things on the horizon. NAFA Foundation President Claude Masters, CAFM, described the changes the organization took on recently, as well as the strategic goals it has set for itself in the near future.
"The NAFA Foundation is different from NAFA in that the Foundation is a charitable organization," Masters said, "meaning that we have the ability to accept donations that are tax-deductible for the donors. So the NAFA Foundation can – and should – play a vital role in collaboration with NAFA to develop and conduct objective, valuable, research for the fleet industry."
Although Tesla's Autopilot has been involved in two fatal crashes in the US, Tesla spokespeople have continued to say that The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found the technology to reduce crash rates by 40 percent.
Now NHTSA says that’s not exactly right—and there’s no clear evidence for how safe the pseudo-self-driving feature actually is.
Tesla hasn’t been transparent with its own numbers. “You would need a rigorous statistical analysis with clear data indicating what vehicle has it and what vehicle doesn’t and whether it’s enabled or whether it isn’t,” says David Friedman, a former NHTSA official who now directs car policy at Consumers Union.
Read the article at Wired.