July 14, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

It’s ‘Surthrival’ Time

Today’s top video features 5 “Surthival” Tips from industry leader Kate Vigneau, which are geared to help us all to go beyond surviving to thriving during these trying times. For example, if you (or members of your fleet team) have extra time, now is a great time for NAFA’s Certification programs.

Cutting Post-Pandemic Costs

If you do have some downtime now, you may want to take a closer look for any operational inefficiencies their telematics systems data can reveal.

According to Kevin Aries, Leader, Product Success, Verizon Connect, “Now is the ideal time for fleet owners to constructively take stock of existing processes and establish new procedures to help strengthen the business to emerge stronger in the post-COVID-19 world.”

Stay Safe. Stay Well.

Ted Roberts

VIDEO: 5 “Surthrival” Tips for Time of the Pandemic

Here are 5 “Surthrival” Tips to help you survive and thrive during the time of the pandemic. One way to face the challenges of these times is to equip yourself for change by pursuing NAFA Certification programs.

Click Here to learn more about NAFA Certification.

VIDEO: Supporting Clients in Difficult Times

 Good Advice for Vendors and Trusted Partners

Now is the time for vendors and trusted partners to keep supporting clients – to the best of their abilities, and with lots of empathy.

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

The Next Emergency – Is Your Fleet Ready? [Free Webinar]

Since the global COVID-19 pandemic emerged, fleet-based businesses have faced a number of logistical, operational and monetary challenges.

Focusing on preventing the spread of the virus and keeping employees safe while at the same time trying to stay profitable, or even just afloat, is a real challenge for fleets.

How do you manage a fleet business during pressure situations? How do you keep a fleet business afloat during an emergency? Are your workers, equipment and vehicles truly safe?

CLICK to REGISTER for this insightful webinar to learn how technology can help build a resilient fleet that can steer you through any emergency situation now or in the future.

Booster Fuels Launches Mobile Fuel On-Demand Operation in Washington, D.C.

Expansion marks 50+ Booster markets as demand for essential service grows to meet pandemic needs

Booster announced it has expanded to Washington, D.C. The expansion comes as essential services experience a significant increase in the need for contactless, clean mobile fuel on-demand (MFOD) to meet pandemic requests.

“We are thrilled to establish an East Coast presence and launch operations in our nation’s capital,” said Frank Mycroft, Founder and CEO, Booster Fuels. “Given today’s state of affairs, mobile fuel on-demand has become even more essential for getting goods into the hands of people who need them most.”


EV Connect Partners with Greenlots to Enable Convenient Access to EV Charging Stations Across N America

To improve the electric vehicle (EV) driver experience, EV Connect and Greenlots, a member of the Shell Group, have announced the completion of the driver roaming integration between the companies’ charging networks.

Built on a previously announced agreement for inter-network roaming, users of the EV Connect charging smartphone application will be able to locate, initiate sessions, and pay for charging at Greenlots charge stations and vice-versa, later this year.

“We use open standards to make charging network interoperability a centerpiece of improving range confidence for EV drivers, and this milestone with Greenlots makes a significant contribution to that effort,” said Jordan Ramer, CEO of EV Connect.


Leading OEMs Present New Model Year Updates at NTEA’s Virtual Truck Product Conference

This virtual, multi-day conference will be held Tuesday, Sept. 22 through Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020.

Attendees can gain insights on upcoming changes to new model work trucks and upfitter integration implications from chassis OEMs. Presenters will share product upgrades and launches, positions on technical issues and key body builder information.

“Since the late 1960s, stakeholders in the work truck industry have attended Truck Product Conference to learn about upcoming commercial vehicles and engage OEM representatives on upfitting-related issues,” said Steve Carey, NTEA president & CEO.


Cell Phone Blocking

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

Alongside COVID-19, distracted driving is an on-going plague that fleets around the world are struggling to fight.

Among the approaches are changes in fleet policy that prohibit various forms of behind-the-wheel distractions, on-line lessons and videos that educate drivers about the dangers, and even systems that use dashboard cameras to detect and warn a driver when he or she isn’t watching the road.

While these all have demonstrated value and effectiveness, the one thing none of them do is to actually prevent distraction. That’s where cell phone blocking technology steps in. And while it deals with only one form of distraction – the use of mobile devices – the technology has been found in the field to have dramatic results. At least, that’s what a study conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by one cell-blocking system provider, TRUCE Software, last year has documented.



Your Vehicle as an Escape

Car and Driver 

Let’s say you need to flee civilization, or maybe just outrun the miasma of cable news and social media. Either way, when it’s time to bug out, a vehicle is your ticket to escape from reality.

And of course, once you’re out there, out on the road or in the wild, plenty of things could still go wrong. You’ll need a few skills, just in case.

Do you know how to change a tire? Not just replacing it with a spare, but replacing your worn rubber in a world without Discount Tire. How about siphoning fuel without getting a mouthful? Would you know how to hot-wire your vehicle if you lose your keys?

Read the article at Car and Driver.


Telematics and Efficiencies

Because of COVID-19, many fleets are seeing operational expenses go down because they’re racking up fewer miles, and fleet managers may have more time on their hands than usual.

But once the pandemic passes, that’s all going to reverse, and fleets may be struggling again to find savings in the face of even tighter budgets.

That’s why Verizon Connect, one of the world’s biggest providers of telematics services, is urging fleet managers to take advantage of any new-found downtime to take a closer look for any operational inefficiencies their telematics systems data can reveal.

“According to Kevin Aries, Leader, Product Success, Verizon Connect, ‘Now is the ideal time for fleet owners to constructively take stock of existing processes and establish new procedures to help strengthen the business to emerge stronger in the post-COVID-19 world. Especially for companies that are existing Verizon Connect customers, but aren’t as close to the product as they want to be or want more training to create different reports.'”


Fleet Trends & Issues

Car Buying Tips Amid COVID-19: 6 Key Questions Answered On New, Used Cars, Trucks, SUVs

USA Today

Looking for a deal on a car in the midst of the pandemic? There are some to be had, but don’t expect everything to be on sale just because the economy is sputtering.

Automakers dialed back discounts in June after ramping them up in May, and interest rates have ticked upward after reaching historic lows. But deals are still better than this time last year.

One of the questions asked by car buyers includes wanting to know if dealers are trying to sell off 2020 models before the 2021 cars and trucks arrive.  Not yet. About two months of downtime at most manufacturing plants due to the pandemic means that dealers don’t have a surplus of vehicles.

Read the article at USA Today.

Ford Will Let You Return Your New Car If You Lose Your Job


In an effort to appeal to customers worried about the uncertain economy, Ford will allow anyone who loses their job within a year of buying a new Ford car, truck or SUV to return it at no cost.

Under the terms of a new financing program called the Ford Promise plan, Ford Credit will pay for the difference between what the car is worth at that time and what the customer still owes, up to $15,000.

There are numerous restrictions. For instance, the job loss can’t be within 30 days of signing the purchase or lease contract and it must be involuntary. Self-employed Ford buyers can take advantage of the program if they’re forced to declare personal bankruptcy. The offer only applies to those vehicles purchased or leased on June 26, 2020, or later.

Read the article at CNN.

Amazon Begins Rolling Out Bigger UPS And FedEx-Style Delivery Trucks


Amazon.com is launching a new fleet of bigger, boxier trucks like those favored by rival package carriers UPS and FedEx, as it fights to fix widespread pandemic-fueled delivery delays that sent customers into the arms of competitors like Walmart.

More than 2,200 heavy-duty Utilimaster “walk-in” delivery trucks have been ordered from Shyft Group, a Michigan-based speciality vehicle company. The new vehicles can carry more and bigger packages than the Mercedes-Benz, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford vans Amazon contractors dispatch around the country.

Amazon is under pressure to make good on one- and two-day deliveries promised to customers who subscribe to its $119 annual Prime service. Orders for food, computers, toys and exercise equipment surged after states issued stay-at-home orders to battle the pandemic, overwhelming Amazon’s network and adding days and even weeks to delivery times.

Read the article at Autoblog.

Ford Employees Spark Debate On Whether The Company Should Continue Producing Police Vehicles

NBC Newa

Ford is embroiled in an internal dispute over whether to continue producing vehicles for U.S. law enforcement in light of the broader national debate over police brutality. As many as 100 Ford employees have raised the question in letters to senior executives.

Were Ford to pull out of the specialized market it could have significant ramifications, as the Detroit automaker currently produces about two-thirds of the vehicles used by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

While some Ford employees have been pressing for the automaker to abandon the police vehicle market, others are proposing alternatives, calling on the company to sell vehicles only to law enforcement agencies that have undergone reforms.

Read the article at NBC News.

Getting Away?


The official word, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is that travel of any kind can be risky business these days – make sure you’re not headed for a hot spot where COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on a rapid upswing.

If you do travel, plan to bring an ample supply of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes along with you. If you take medications, remember to bring along enough to last for the entire trip, and perhaps more to cover an unforeseen delay.

Highway rest areas are an obvious hazard, so take extra precautions should you need to stop while en route. Pack your own food so you can minimize exposure from restaurants and grocery stores, or use a drive-through window. Pay for all transactions with a debit or credit card instead of making face-to-face cash purchases. Whenever and wherever you stop, sanitize everyone’s hands before reentering your car.

Read the article at Forbes.


EV Stocks Jump

E&E News

Following its announcement of an upcoming battery that can deliver a range of 400 miles on a single charge and last 1 million miles, Tesla’s stock jumped 13% on July 13 amid a resurgence of investor interest in makers of all-electric vehicles, also known as BEVs or Battery Electric Vehicles.

“Electric vehicle makers with names like Fisker, Karma and Rivian got jolts of new investment last week, at a time when Tesla’s rampaging stock price has made the sector unexpectedly hot. Analysts said the level of these investments — especially in the relatively untested Karma and Fisker — smacks of a hype cycle.

“‘The EV uprising is real, but the scale of investment into what I would view as fledgling companies is staggering,’ said Ram Chandrasekaran, a transportation analyst at consultancy Wood Mackenzie.”

Read the article at E&E News.


Crash-Free Culture

By Ed Dubens, CEO/Founder of eDriving

While some companies have had no interruption in service, others have been in complete shutdown over recent weeks.

Now, as the world moves towards a new normal, what additional precautions do businesses need to take to protect those driving for work?

While specific advice exists for some industries (for example there is official guidance for people who work in a vehicle, such as delivery drivers), for others, there is likely to be confusion about exactly what steps they need to take to keep employees safe who need to drive for work at this time.


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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