June 16, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Now What?

We know that we have not yet triumphed over COVID-19; new infections are rising in too many places, but many of us are optimistic that wearing a mask and maintaining a proper social distance has upped our odds for staying safe. It feels as if we have a bit of control, which makes it all the easier to look ahead and plan for the future.

Many of you know Steve Saltzgiver; he has a depth of experience in the fleet industry that few can match. A frequent guest contributor to FMW, Steve has written a definitive treatise on post-pandemic planning in the wake of the emerging deep recession: Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Fleet Management: Now What? Steve says, “No one really knows the extent of the impact, but if past recessions are an indicator, we should expect to see fleet budgets slashed, equipment lifecycles extended, staff sizes decreased, and salaries reduced in the short term to overcome the financial downturn.” Now what?

Timely webinar – June 25, 2:00 to 3:30 PM EDT : Fleet Business Strategies During the Pandemic and Recovery Afterward: What Practices Will Become Permanent? Register here!

Finally, heartfelt congratulations to Kate Vigneau and fleetcompetence Group! We are delighted to announce that Kate has joined the global fleet consulting firm!

Stay Well & Drive Safety,

Janice Sutton

VIDEO: Take a Closer Look at Vehicle Utilization with Agile Fleet

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to vehicle utilization rates, but it’s often best to keep it simple. One great place to start is with the ebook “The Ultimate Guide to Vehicle Utilization and Right-Sizing Fleet” that Agile Fleet created in conjunction with NAFA.

For more information visit http://www.agilefleet.com/. The Ebook is in the Resources section.

VIDEO: The Power of Communication

 Communication, Risk Management and COVID-19

Communication has always been the backbone of an effective driver risk program, but in today’s world it is more important than ever. It’s critical for leadership to stay engaged with drivers, and to let them know that they are protected and cared for.

Video Interview with YOU Here?

 Request for Zoom Video Interviews

We’re ramping up FMW’s video interviews via Zoom given the times, and are looking to speak with a variety industry experts (and we know that many of you are reading!).

Please feel free to suggest yourself, or someone you know. Any and all timely industry topics will be considered, and we look forward to speaking with you!

Email Ted Roberts to learn more: ted@fleetmanagementweekly.com.

The Fleet Spot

Katherine Vigneau Joins fleetcompetence Group as Partner for North America

The fleet expert will advise the Group’s clients in Canada and the United States

Due to the unchanged internationalization in the field of business mobility, there are more European companies that wish to receive highly qualified consulting services as customers of the fleetcompetence Group in North America as well. To meet this need, the international consulting company has joined forces with Katherine Vigneau to further grow its fleet and mobility consulting services in these markets.

“With her vast experience in fleet management in the North American markets and her exceptional international experience, Katherine offers an excellent combination of know-how for the fleetcompetence Group’s customers”, explains Thilo von Ulmenstein, Managing Partner of the company. “We are also pleased that Katherine’s activities in terms of training and certification for NAFA also mirror our own training programs in Europe. This is an excellent combination.”


coronavirus Webinar: Fleet Business Strategies During the Pandemic and Recovery Afterward: What Practices Will Become Permanent?

Hear insights and fresh ideas provided by a panel of award-winning fleet managers — including three previous #1 fleets — on a free webinar offered Thursday, June 25 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. EDT. This webinar will discuss solutions to the #1 issue facing fleets in 2020 (besides the disease) — the shortage of technicians during COVID-19 and beyond.

These best practices will be led by Robert Gordon, NAFA’s 2018 Fleet Excellence award winner for Outstanding Achievement in Public Fleet Management. The webinar will be interactive with your questions, comments and ideas. Experts in emerging technologies that are changing how the industry works will also be presenting.


Fleeting Costs: Transitioning Your Idle Fleet to a FAVR Program

By Jeremy Young, Director of Sales at Motus

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the day-to-day lives of the mobile workforce, as shelter in place orders have forced mobile workers to stay home.

As a result, companies utilizing fleet programs are finding themselves left with a high volume of fixed-cost assets that are currently sitting idle. Employers are searching for ways to curb overall spending while these company-provided vehicles go unused and continue to accumulate monthly corporate expenses regardless of usage.

While a fleet program may have best suited a business less than three months ago, decision makers are now looking for alternative programs to help them navigate this time of uncertainty in a way that’s best for the organization and its team.


How This Year’s Number One Government Fleet Got There

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

Rocky Buoy shies away from taking personal credit. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that San Luis Obispo County, California’s 1,080-unit fleet — the one he’s been managing for the last 11 years — tied for first place in this year’s 100 Best Fleets award program.

“I champion for my customers and my employees, but don’t say I am a champion, please don’t use that word,” he instructed me in a one-hour telephone interview. But what he is comfortable saying is that he believes that his team-oriented leadership style has made a difference.

“No one takes a job and says to himself, ‘I want to fail.’ No, he wants to succeed and wants to do a better job. So, if someone in my department is underperforming, it’s my fault or the supervisor’s fault, we’re not doing something right. Either we’re not letting him know that his mistakes are expensive, or he doesn’t have the right training or we’re not recognizing that something else is wrong. But he wants to do a better job. Never forget that your guys want to do their job.”


In the Public Interest

By Steve Saltzgiver, Director – Mercury Associates Inc.

The year 2020 will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable years in all human history, with the economies of more than 180 countries being shut down for months as the world combats the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Ironically, COVID-19 emerged during one of the longest economic recoveries ever seen. When the pandemic hit, many fleets were busily engaged in replacing their vehicles and expanding their vehicle count to handle the economic boom. Then they suddenly found themselves going from full-employment to millions of people unemployed and vast numbers of equipment being moth-balled as the world’s economy plunged into recession.

Obviously, this recession is something of an historic anomaly, and no one has all the answers to where fleets should go next to recover from this major financial setback. However, while the debate is raging between the economists as to whether the recovery will be “U-shaped”, “V-shaped” or some other-shaped curve, one thing is certain: the remainder of 2020 and possibly the next few years will be severely impacted. No one really knows the extent of the impact, but if past recessions are an indicator, we should expect to see fleet budgets slashed, equipment lifecycles extended, staff sizes decreased, and salaries reduced in the short term to overcome the financial downturn.



Fleet Spectator

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

Remember all the hype a few years ago about how incredibly close we were to having autonomous vehicles (AVs) on the road that would make us virtually incapable of crashing?

Some predicted the miracle would arrive fully fledged as early as this year, or 2021, maybe 2022. But it was going to be real and be a great advance in highway safety, starting us off onto the road of zero accidents (along, of course, with zero emissions and zero ownership).

Well, we’re halfway into 2020 and the vision remains, at best, in prototype testing, with assorted weaknesses, glitches, mishaps and bugs. So, instead of first-stage Utopia, now we’re in the valley of disappointment and lowered expectations, as OEMs and the self-driving technology community have admitted that fulfillment of the dream is far off into the future, if it ever gets here at all. By 2030? 2035? 2050? One or the other prognosticator has offered each one of these target dates.

That, of course, is not to say that money is going to stop flowing into the effort to create fully self-driving vehicles. On the contrary, the vision and the desire to be the eventual market leader is more likely to increase the flow of billions of dollars into the effort, albeit for more years than anybody anticipated before.



EV Car Sharing

A partnership between fleet and mobility software provider, Sofico, and electric vehicle sharing specialist, BattMobility, has produced its first deliverable product – a vehicle reservation app for BattMobility customers to select, book and drive one of BattMobility’s electric cars, bikes or scooters.

Chief Technical Officer Piet Maes said the car-sharing app was an important development for the business with many of its customers looking to capitalize on the growing mobility trend of putting more people in fewer vehicles. “With the shift away from ownership towards usership, it is no longer about the vehicle but increasingly about the driver experience,” he said. “Car manufacturers are reinventing themselves as mobility service providers by bundling subscription models with driver-oriented services and peer-to-peer sharing, as part of a move towards on-demand instant access to vehicles.

“Meanwhile, fleet and leasing operators want to manage the usage of their vehicles with greater and different granularity, ranging from minutes to years. In addition to long term products, they are also increasingly offering ultra-short term rental and car-sharing services to their fleet customers,” he said. “


Fleet Trends & Issues

Truck Autonomy Maybe The Key To Reducing Congestion And Increasing Safety For Everyone


Commercial trucking may be the answer to the out of economic balance between the supply and demand of rush hour congestion and empty roads at 3am.

Using the automotive communication technologies (V2X) to build smart roads detecting congestion-based signals, along with advanced ADAS technology for commercial vehicles which provide higher safety for night time travel, will likely move non time sensitive commercial traffic into times of low utilization.

If the structure works as intended, the investment in the incentive structures are funded by lower congestion for everyone, a decreased need to expand the civil infrastructure, and increased safety for everyone.

Read the article at Forbes.

Automakers Need to Address Batteries to Improve EV Profitability

The Detroit Bureau

Battery-electric vehicles comprise less than 5% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S., but that number is expected to rise to 50% by 2035 due in part of improving battery performance and falling prices.

Lux Research believes automakers should focus on their battery-supply chain, specifically battery shortages. The shortages have already caused some automakers to reduce their BEV production plans.

For many automakers, the goal has been to get their EVs under the $30K bar, putting it on par with most non-electric vehicles sold in the U.S. As automakers continue to improve charging speed and minimize battery size, more consumers are expected to seek out electric vehicles.

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.

Looking To Buy A Used Car? Hertz Is Selling Thousands At Bankruptcy Bargain Prices

USA Today

Hertz’s current fleet consists of roughly 700,000 rental cars, which have greatly diminished in value due to a sharp drop in used car prices caused by a free fall in auto sales stemming from the pandemic.

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. racked up more than $24 billion in debt by the end of March, according to its bankruptcy filing, with only $1 billion in available cash.

In a search on the Hertz website within 1,000 miles from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, there were more than 23,500 cars available Saturday with a 2017 Hyundai Elantra SE Sedan with nearly 71,000 miles selling for $7,597. According to website iseecars, the car was selling for $1,740 below market price.

Read the article at USA Today.

Hydrogen For Fuel-Cell Vehicles Likely to Reach Price Parity With Gasoline By 2025

Green Car Reports

Hydrogen fuel-cell cars face many roadblocks to mass adoption, but a new report drafted by the California Energy Commission claims they could achieve price parity with gasoline by 2025.

The key findings are that the dispensed price of hydrogen is likely to meet an interim target based on fuel economy-adjusted price parity with gasoline of $6.00 to $8.50 per kilogram by 2025. That figure does not include the impact of California Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits, which would lower the cost of hydrogen to consumers even further, the report said.

Price parity with internal combustion has also long been considered a goal for battery-electric cars to aim for, but it’s usually discussed in terms of battery cost, not efficiency.

Read the article at Green Car Reports.

Ford and VW Team Up


Automakers Ford Motor and Volkswagen plan to share production of 8 million commercial vehicles with assembly expected to begin as early as next year and continue through the life cycles of the products.

Products will include a city van created and built by Volkswagen; a 1-ton cargo van engineered by Ford; and a Volkswagen medium-sized pickup that will use the platform of the Ford Ranger.

“In light of the Covid 19 pandemic and its impacts on the global economy, more than ever it is vital to set up resilient alliances between strong companies,” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said in a release. “This collaboration will efficiently drive down development costs, allowing broader global distribution of electric and commercial vehicles, and enhance the positions of both companies.”

Read the article at CNBC.


Move EVs, More Hybrids


In its annual “Car Wars” report, Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicts a wave of new-car launches coming in 2022 at nearly double the rate of the past two decades and nearly half of those new-product introductions will be EVs or hybrids.

The analysis looks out four years into the future. Next year, 2021, is predicted to see a total of 40 new vehicles. That pace will jump to 77 in 2022, according to the report, and will remain elevated with 70 introductions in 2023 and 63 in 2024. EVs and hybrids are a big driver of that total and are expected to comprise 49 percent of the total new-model intros over the next four years (EVs being 26 percent and hybrids 23 percent).

The biggest increase by segment is crossovers, which account for nearly half the total (49 percent). Light trucks at 28 percent are the next-biggest segment. The three passenger-car segments — luxury/sport, mid/large, and small — each comprise less than 10 percent of the total.

Read the article at Autoblog.


GM’s EV Development

Detroit Free Press

General Motors is risking its U.S. market share in a long-term play to offer an all-electric vehicle lineup, but it’s the smart play for the future, especially if federal fuel economy regulations increase or gasoline prices drive higher.

By putting a lot of resources into electric powertrains and vehicles that use those, they’ve taken away some of the resources from traditional products.

GM has said it will offer 20 electric vehicles by 2023. It has been aggressively investing billions to get there. GM’s risk is elevated, in part, because it will not have hybrid SUV offerings as it puts billions of dollars into future EV development.

Read the article at Detroit Free Press.

Fleet Management Resources


The Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association. Advancing corporate fleet worldwide.

eDriving partners with its clients to engage with drivers and their managers to create a culture that supports lasting behavioral change to reduce collisions, injuries, license violations as well as a fleet’s total cost of ownership.

SuperVision is a fleet driver management solution for MVR & license monitoring, fleet management, fleet safety oversight and driver performance and retention.

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.

WEX fuel cards and fleet management solutions give you powerful tools to reduce spending — for any business, any fleet, any size.

Driving Dynamics
Driving Dynamics was established to help corporate fleet drivers develop expert, safe driving skills using proven, advanced driving techniques.

PARS’ mission is to provide you with high-quality service at competitive prices for all of your transportation needs.

Wheels, Inc.
First in fleet for 80 years. Wheels helps you build tomorrow’s fleet today.

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