March 20, 2018

Follow us

Editor's Analysis & Top Industry News

Trends & Insights

We all want to keep abreast of trends affecting our industry. Element’s Suzanne Benzion does just that in her article 6 Fleet Insights You Need to Know for 2018. It’s an overview of themes that surfaced in 2017 and trends they are watching in 2018. For even more insights, you may request a copy of Element’s Special Edition Infographic from Element’s Strategic Consulting team.

In last month’s Safety & Risk, Driving Dynamic’s Art Liggio discussed the key factors driving the increases we are seeing in crash cost severity. This month, Art turns to how frequency affects severity and overall cost hikes and wise steps that fleet operators can take to reduce their exposure to these forces.

I have attended over 30 NAFA conferences and I have always learned something new – something that truly made a difference. Or met someone whom I knew I could call if I had a query. This April’s NAFA I&E in Anaheim is poised to have record attendance. That doesn’t surprise me. I’m just saying that if you have been before and you’re trying to decide whether you should go again, the answer is yes.

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

Thought Leadership

Customer Driven — Engage your organization to create customer loyalty, trust, and superior service

Fleet Asset Management – Best practices for work truck management

Fleet Marketing – Guiding principles for fleet providers to improve marketing and increase sales

Fleet Spectator A 360 view of the fleet industry

Globally Speaking — Perspectives on the multinational fleet

In the Public Interest — Successfully managing the government fleet

On Fleet Driver Management Solutions to improve your fleet’s accident rate and cut costs on collision repairs

Safety & Risk — Impactful driver safety and risk management tools and techniques

The Fleet CX Toolbox – Solid steps to implementing and improving fleet customer experience

Think, Execute, Win!Leadership tips from NBA Star and motivational speaker Walter Bond

VIDEO: Chevy Unveils Silverado Class 4, 5 and 6 Trucks in Indianapolis

Chevrolet just revealed its first-ever Silverado Class 4, 5 and 6 chassis cab trucks at The Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, and they’re billing them as the most customer-focused medium-duty trucks of any major competitor.

VIDEO: Hybrid-Electric Vehicles

 XL Reveals Its Hybrid-Electric Ford F-250

XL unveiled its new hybrid-electric Ford F-250 at The Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. With regenerative braking and electric assist, the truck offers a 25% MPG improvement over a standard F-250.

VIDEO: The LINE-X Solution

 Upfitting, with Significant Time Savings

With a network of over 500 providers across North America, LINE-X is positioned to offer upfitting for your fleet vehicles with minimum downtime.

The Fleet Spot

Uber’s Steven Choi to Keynote at NAFA IFA

International Fleet Academy: Mobility

NAFA announces a terrific addition to the packed International Fleet Academy (IFA) agenda. Steven Choi, Senior Technical Product Manager, Uber ATG, will provide the keynote presentation for the pre-conference event. The IFA takes place on April 23, one day before the opening of NAFA’s Institute & Expo in Anaheim, Calif.

Choi’s presentation, How “Machine Learning” Will Lead the Future of Fleet Autonomy and Mobility, will astound attendees who are coming to grips with the vast advances taking place in fleet and mobility management. As the era of “machine learning autonomy” rapidly approaches, the role of fleet management will be definitively impacted.


AFLA 2018 Spring Forum Registration Open

AFLA is excited to offer a new educational opportunity for its members this year.

The 2018 Spring Forum — April 12, 2018 — will allow registrants to participate in live audiences in Minnesota and New Jersey, or by live-streaming the event through their web browser.

This one day event will feature three sessions focused on the topics of Diversity & Inclusion, Safety Implications of Autonomous Features, and the Fleet Impact of Geo-Political Changes in the EU and US. Each session will be presented to a live audience and live-streamed to all other event participants. Register now to reserve your spot!

Attendees at either of the live host sites will have time for networking and will be provided with lunch.

The Work Truck Show® 2018 Innovation Awards Go to Workhorse, J.W. Speaker Corporation and CARR

Judges chose winners for The Work Truck Show® 2018 Innovation Awards in three categories at last week’s Show.

The Most Innovative Vehicle award went to Workhorse (Loveland, Ohio) for its W-15 electric pickup truck. The Most Innovative Safety Product award was presented to J.W. Speaker Corporation (Germantown, Wisconsin) for the Model 8910 Evolution 2 LED headlight, and the Most Innovative Truck Equipment honor went to CARR (Temecula, California) for its Factory Step.


GM, Ford Dominate the News at The Work Truck Show

By Mark Boada, Senior Editor

Indianapolis may not be everybody’s ideal destination for early March, but it was the place to be last week as The Work Truck Show set records for product unveilings and press conferences. It also made for a lot of exciting news for the light- and medium-duty markets.

General Motors grabbed top billing, as it used the show to unveil its brand-new Chevy Silverado 6500-HD, the top of the line model in its re-entry this year into the Class 4 through 6 market. The rest of its new lineup includes the Silverado 4500-HD and 5500-HD trucks.

Ford made its own splash with the unveiling of its updated Transit Connect small delivery van for 2019. The big news is that the model includes the first diesel engine in the segment, a 1.5-liter turbodiesel it expects to earn an EPA rating of more than 30 mpg on the highway.


Safety & Risk

By Art Liggio, President and CEO, Driving Dynamics

During the 2016 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting, chairman and CEO Warren Buffett was asked about the declining financial performance of GEICO, an insurer owned by Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett responded, “Last year both frequency—how often people had accidents, and severity, which is the cost per accident—both of those went up quite suddenly and substantially.”

What are the underlying causes for these increases? In last month’s Safety & Risk column, we took a look at influencing factors driving significant increases in crash cost severity, which included:

  • Increasing Average Age of Vehicles
  • Mismatched Bumpers
  • Collision Repair Costs Up (technology replacement costs)
  • Increase of Legal Speed Limits
  • Cost Shifting: Affordable Care Act


Next, let’s take a look at how frequency affects severity and overall cost increases.



In the Public Interest

By Mark Boada, Senior Editor

The National State Conference of State Fleet Administrators (NCSFA) has selected Mercury Associates to conduct its annual benchmarking study, the first time the organization has chosen to outsource the study in its more than 20-year history.

“The conference has been doing this study for years, but we didn’t do it in a formal process like this and we didn’t do it with the assistance of an outside entity,” said Bob Williams, NCSFA president and associate director for vehicle asset management for the state of Tennessee. “Our previous studies were managed internally and involved a lot of volunteer work, but we’ve never done it at this scale or enlisted outside help like this.”

Williams said the NCSFA will reach out to more respondents for this year’s study than it ever has and will focus on more details of fleet operations as well as a “bigger picture” than previous studies. The organization’s membership consists largely of some 150 state government and state university fleets, and the survey will be sent to all of them, Williams said.



Key Trends in Fleet Management

By Suzanne Benzion, Director, Strategic Consulting, Element Fleet Management

Throughout 2017, Element’s Strategic Consulting team uncovered some note-worthy trends for our customers, and provided actionable insights against these trends.

The data told some pretty compelling stories around innovative ways to maximize productivity, improve driver safety and satisfaction and reduce overall fleet cost. Here’s an overview of the themes that surfaced in 2017, along with trends we’re monitoring in 2018.

What happened in 2017?


Safety, an evergreen concern for fleet managers, was a central focus for Strategic Insights in 2017. Predictive analytics are assisting with identifying subsets of drivers at highest risk for future accident behavior, allowing us to target interventions more effectively. We also looked into ways to mitigate high-occurrence vehicle damage claims through driver safety training and vehicle technology.

Right vehicle, right jobREAD MORE

Fleet Trends & Issues

How Will the Cars of the Future ‘Talk’ to the World Around Them?

The Verge

Pedestrians will need to receive and interpret messages and intentions from autonomous vehicles, such as when to walk and where to go. What will that look and sound like?

Uber has filed a patent application that proposes wrapping its self-driving cars in flashing signs to effectively communicate messages to pedestrians and others around it; Google and Drive.ai are working on something similar.

“As operators, we have a high certainty about what the car is doing and what it plans to do,” Sean Chin, a product designer at Uber’s Advanced Technology Group says. “What we need to do is enable pedestrians to interpret this behavior on their own.”

Read the article at The Verge.

Did You Know That Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars Emit Pure, Drinkable Water?

The Telegraph

There are plenty of naysayers about fuel-cell technology, but fuel cells are here and their number will grow as part of a wide variety of automobile power solutions of the future.

The advantages of hydrogen fuel cells over internal combustion engines and battery-electric motors as vehicular propulsion include emissions, range and charging time.

“Hydrogen is like money,” said one expert, “it is all around us, but it doesn’t necessarily belong to you.”

Read the article at The Telegraph.

When Your Self-Driving Car Gets a Flat Tire, Who Does it Call?

The New York Times

Phantom Auto is working on remote control systems, often referred to as teleoperation, that many see as a necessary safety feature for the autonomous cars of the future.

Even the most sophisticated vehicles will not be infallible – a fallen tree, a sinkhole, a string of strange pylons, a flash flood, a fire or some other obstruction on a lonely road could make an autonomous car stop safely, but then what?

A car in need of help would automatically contact a Phantom Auto center, where a remote operator could use the car’s cameras and sensors to see what was happening, then maneuver the vehicle out of trouble – but someone will still have to come out and fix your flat tire.

Read the article at The New York Times.

Shortage of Natural Resources May Impact Battery Production

Economic Times

According to a recent report produced by independent research organization A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute, automobile manufacturers will face challenges surfacing from supply shortages of natural resources for battery production as they move to electrify their fleet in line with government mandate to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“Electric car batteries rely on a host of rare materials —from lithium and nickel to cobalt. Battery makers around the world are struggling to secure supplies of these key ingredients as demand outstrips supply. This undoubtedly places pressure on carmakers, so the hunt for alternative technologies is on,” explained Romain Debarre, managing director, A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute.

Cobalt, the report held, is in particularly short supply globally and reserves could be depleted completely by the time 300 million EVs are produced —a modest proportion compared to the 1.2 billion cars on roads today.

Read the article at Economic Times.

Danger and Autonomous Vehicles


An Arizona woman was struck and killed on a city street in Tempe by an Uber autonomous vehicle built by Volvo with a “safety driver” on board. Uber, however, made its own engineering and software changes on the test car. Local police, the U.S. Department of Transportation and both companies are investigating the accident.

It’s the second autonomous vehicle fatality. In 2016, a Tesla test driver was killed when the vehicle, in self-driving mode, struck a semi on a Florida highway.

“According to the Tempe police department, the vehicle, a Volvo XC90, was operating in ‘autonomous mode’ with a human ‘safety driver’ behind the wheel at the time of the accident. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was walking her bicycle in the street outside of a crosswalk when the vehicle hit her.

“Uber issued a statement that it has suspended testing of its autonomous vehicles in Tempe, San Francisco, Toronto and Pittsburgh… The Tempe accident could establish the first batch of case law for autonomous vehicles should the victim’s family press a case of liability. It will be a challenge for the courts, say lawyers.

Read the article at Forbes.


Ford Freshens Up

Chicago Tribune

Ford is refreshing or revamping its entire aging lineup of SUVs while adding gas-electric hybrid powertrains, two new off-road SUVs and two new trucks.

The current model lineup is among the industry’s oldest, and the new products should help dealers who have struggled against competitors with fresher vehicles.

“I have a reinvigorated view of the future,” said Richard Bazzy, who runs a Ford dealership in Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs and is among dealers who have been critical of company management. “We’ve been waiting for a long time. We weren’t sure what we were waiting for. Now we know.”

Read the article at Chicago Tribune.


Space Weather


Solar storms can sever the data connection between a vehicle’s global-position system and the satellites that supply location information.

In the event of solar trouble, computer-driven cars would pull over and wait for connectivity to return. Self-driving systems should not be overly reliant on GPS.

“At the very least, in the event of solar disruption, there is enough redundancy for the car to calmly pull itself over and stop, said Danny Shapiro, senior director of the automotive unit at Nvidia Corp., which makes chips and artificial intelligence systems for Uber Inc. and a wide range of automakers. Automated vehicles can operate quite well, even when online connectivity is hampered.”

Read the article at Bloomberg.

Fleet Management Resources
AFLA – Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association
Providing the advanced forum for corporate fleet professionals to network with industry leaders.
The CEI Group Inc.
CEI is North America’s largest provider of fully integrated fleet accident management, driver safety and risk management services.
NAFA Fleet Management Association
NAFA is the association for the diverse vehicle fleet management profession regardless of organizational type, geographic location, or fleet composition.
Offering a nationwide vehicle delivery and relocation service; serving the corporate and commercial fleet industry.
Since 1965, Donlen has been the fleet management industry’s leading provider of comprehensive, integrated financing and asset management solutions — and that spirit of innovation continues today.
PARS' mission is to provide you with high-quality service at competitive prices for all of your transportation needs.
Driven fleet professionals. Driving results.
Driving Dynamics
Driving Dynamics was established to help corporate fleet drivers develop expert, safe driving skills using proven, advanced driving techniques.
Wheels, Inc.
First in fleet for 79 years. Wheels helps you build tomorrow’s fleet today.

Index to FleetManagementWeekly.com 
Fleet Management Weekly Newsletter Archive
Access to back issues of the FMW newsletter.
Fleet Telematics
How telematics is rapidly changing the fleet management landscape.
Fleet Videos
Video clips of industry leaders speaking on a variety of engaging hot topics in fleet.
Fleet Safety
News and practices to help you bring your drivers home safely, every day.
Contact Us
Fleet Trends & Issues
A wide scope of topical news for today’s fleet professionals.
Fleet Sustainability
Focusing on the challenges and solutions inherent to building and managing today’s sustainable fleets.
Media Kit