August 25, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Shining a Light on the Virus

Last week, I had a fascinating conversation with Dr. Darren Verebelyi, president of CoScientific, about UVC light disinfection and its power to fight COVID-19 germs, particularly in hard to reach places. I was delighted when he agreed to write an article for us because steps we take now will help determine our future.

In a recent article for WebMD where he warns “This Fall Could Be ‘Worst’ We’ve Seen,” Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, states, “Now as fall approaches, the outbreak’s severity will depend on Americans following CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19: wearing face masks, staying 6 feet away from others, washing hands often with soap and warm water, and being smart about crowd gatherings.

“I’m not asking some of America to do it — we all have to do it,” Redfield said. “This is one of those interventions where 95% to 99% of people have to do it for it to work.” The payoff is great — our lives are at stake.

Looking at another threat, Mike Sheldrick writes an interesting article: As Vehicles Become More Connected, New Methods to Hack Them Emerge. “The cybersecurity professionals have their work cut out for them”, Sheldrick warns, “with nearly all vehicles connected to the internet, the door has opened wider to hackers.”

Our thoughts are for the safety of folks in the paths of Hurricane Laura in the Gulf and the devastating fires in California.

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Great Networking Opportunities at AFLA’s NextGen Virtual Corporate Fleet Conference

The conference committee has been hard at work ensuring that AFLA’s NextGen Virtual Corporate Fleet Conference will be a success – including some new and comfortable ways to make the most of virtual networking.

VIDEO: Keep Improving

 Continually Improving Processes for Your Fleet Department

Reducing costs. Managing replacement cycles better. Making things easier for technicians, and for staff. It’s important to be continually looking at ways to improve your fleet department.

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:

The Fleet Spot

Budget Cuts, Calls To Defund Cops Threaten Police Vehicle Orders From Ford

Detroit Free Press

Big budget cuts at some major metropolitan police departments, along with movements to defund departments, are putting a dent in orders for some law-enforcement vehicles, hitting Ford Motor Co. the hardest.

Ford is the leader of police-car manufacturers, providing about two-thirds of police vehicles in the U.S. and expects to lead in this segment. The vehicles provide steady profits and image-related benefits. The Police Interceptor, a highly modified Ford Explorer, is perhaps the most high-profile current vehicle.

The New York Police Department has one of the largest fleets in the country with 9,000 police vehicles. In June, the NYPD said it would cut $1 billion from its budget. The city specified savings of $5 million in deferred fleet purchases. In Los Angeles, the LAPD spent more than $3.8 million on pursuit-rated SUVs in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, down from almost $10 million two years ago.

Read the article at Detroit Free Press.

How to Help Build a COVID-19-Ready Fleet with Fleet Tracking Technology

Each business is facing its own set of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses are finding it tough to maintain a steady revenue as they cut down on certain activities to avoid the transmission of the coronavirus. An efficient fleet management solution helps drivers work safely and can help build a foundation for a strong financial future.

From monitoring fuel costs and vehicle movement to tracking COVID-19-affected areas, GPS tracking technology and its features can be a helpful tool for drivers, managers and company owners. Now is the time to use the features of a fleet management software to improve Geofencing, create Customizable Forms, Keep Track of Drivers and Vehicles and minimize Liability Concerns – and to help build a resilient fleet.

In this free ebrief you will learn many more practical ways to manage your fleet as you take care of the health of your staff and customers. Download now.

Orlando’s Fleet: On the Cutting Edge of Sustainability

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

If the city of Orlando, Florida, meets its goal of relying on nothing but renewable energy by 2050, David Dunn will have had a lot to do with it.

Since 2006, Dunn has worked for the city, first in its facilities management department and since 2011 with the added responsibility for fleet operations as manager of Orlando’s fleet and facilities management division. As such, he’s been in a unique position to leverage the assets of the division to make dramatic reductions in the city’s carbon footprint and saving the city millions of dollars in what it spends on electricity and fuel.

Its mandate is for every one of the city’s fleet of some 2,600 on road cars, trucks and buses, and 1,400 other vehicles to be powered by alternative fuels by 2030. It may seem like a tall order, but the fleet is nearly there, and Dunn speaks with the assurance of someone who’s been the executive in charge of a fleet that’s won a place in the 100 Best Fleets in North America every year since 2012.


Ford, INRIX Offering Additional Services on Sync 4

The Detroit Bureau

Ford Motor Co. and INRIX Inc. are rolling out plans for new services compatible with the automaker’s new Sync 4 system, which help drivers find both fuel and the least expensive parking spots.

Starting with the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, Bronco two- and four-door models and all-new F-150, new Sync 4 will offer the latest available traffic, incident, parking, charging and fuel information.

“Customers want connected vehicle technologies to work more like smartphones with real-time, personalized services – and that is exactly what Sync 4 offers, including INRIX’s parking and fuel price innovations,” said Gary Jablonski, manager, Ford Connected Vehicle Infotainment Systems.

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.

Continuous MVR Monitoring

By Trent Dressen, Director of Sales, SuperVision

While annual MVR checks have long been the accepted best practice to monitor drivers, continuous MVR monitoring offers fleet managers an accurate, up-to-date window on the fleet’s risk profile, helping to cut costs and minimize liability.

There are tons of moving parts in every fleet operation to keep track of and manage. How much more could get done if the right technology and procedures were in place to make daily tasks even more efficient and lessen the workload all around?

Why perform a once-a-year, manual motor vehicle record (MVR) check for drivers when you could have ongoing, accurate automated notifications on the people who operate those expensive pieces of equipment that you are responsible for overseeing?

What happens if one of your drivers (who had passed the MVR check with flying colors) gets a not-so-minor moving violation the day after the annual MVR check?



Stopping COVID-19

By Darren Verebelyi, PhD, President, CoScientific

People committed to moving people and goods are exactly what the virus relies on. It does not care that we need to feed our families, distribute medical supplies, or take a group of children to school. It may be mindless, but its purpose is resolute: Find another host and replicate.

The virus is an enemy that degrades our standard of living and attacks innocent people. It will take our combined effort to defeat it. Our strategy needs to be a defense that stops infection while maintaining our economy and way of life.

Computer networks and the TSA protect people and resources with multiple layers of security because each one is not 100% effective. Imagine each layer is a slice of swiss cheese and by stacking multiple layers you can effectively cover the holes that are in each layer. I believe a strategy of layered safety is a methodology that should be embraced by the fleet community to combat COVID-19.

In our fight, manually cleaning surfaces, the use of masks, hand sanitizers, social distancing, and isolation all contribute to reducing the spread even though each is imperfect.



Car Hacking

By Mike Sheldrick, Senior Editor

Scientists tell us that COVID-19 will be with us forever. Similarly, hacking — benign or malign — is likely to be with us forever.

Despite herculean efforts by all the good guys to root out the flaws in parts and systems controlled by software, the results could be, like the virus, catastrophic. Warns Noam Kehati, director of intelligence at SIXGILL, a cybersecurity company, “ As cars get more intricate and interconnected, new methods to penetrate and damage them are emerging and are being explored and discussed in dark and deep web forums.” Autonomous vehicles (and, as well no doubt, those with ADAS — advanced driver assistance systems) employ millions of code lines, in addition to an assortment of unified systems and instruments, all of which are exposed to potentially being exploited and compromised.

Moreover, vehicles are being connected to the internet at an increasingly rapid pace. Already, more than 20 percent of vehicles in service are connected to the internet. In addition, there are connections via dedicated communications links between other vehicles, the roadway, and the transportation system itself.


Fleet Trends & Issues

Used-Vehicle Supply Low, But Stabilizing

Cox Automotive

The inventory of unsold used vehicles remains low but appears to be somewhat stabilizing in contrast to new-vehicle inventory that continues to fall, according to a Cox Automotive analysis of vAuto Available Inventory data.

The total U.S. supply of unsold used vehicles stood at 2.16 million vehicles at the start of this week. That is the lowest level in years and compares with 2.67 million vehicles in the same week a year ago. As a result, the national days’ supply of unsold used vehicles is around 33, down from 43 a year ago, which is closer to the traditional average. The days’ supply has been hovering in the 32 to 35 range since mid-June.

The shortages are primarily across the board with mainstream brands. Toyota again had the lowest inventory of used vehicles closely followed by Lexus and Ram. All had under a 30 days’ supply.

Read the article at Cox Automotive.

What Contains 3 Times More Energy Than Gasoline, But Produces Zero CO2?


Last month, the EU set out a renewable hydrogen strategy, sketching a roadmap for how the world’s largest trading bloc intends to develop hydrogen production and usage through 2050.

The categories of hydrogen production are often split by color: brown, gray, blue and green. The dirtiest—brown and gray hydrogen, captured from coal and natural gas—create the most emissions and yet are the most widespread forms of hydrogen production, responsible for up to 95% of the H2 produced worldwide.

In the long-term, blue hydrogen is seen as an intermediate step towards the cleanest form of H2. Green hydrogen can be produced by separating hydrogen from water via electrolysis, though other technologies are emerging. When the electricity used to perform the process comes from renewable sources, green hydrogen becomes truly zero carbon.

Read the article is Forbes.

California Court Ruling Gives Voters Last Word Over Uber, Lyft Worker Rights


A California appeals court ruling on Thursday avoided a shutdown of ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft in the state, effectively handing a decision over gig worker benefits and pay to voters in a November ballot measure.

Uber and Lyft say the vast majority of their drivers do not want to be employees, with some 80% working less than 20 hours per week. The companies say their flexible on-demand business model is not compatible with traditional employment law and advocate for what they call a “third way” between employment and contractor status.

Under the “third way” proposal outlined in the ballot measure, drivers would receive a health care stipend, a minimum wage, expense reimbursements as well as medical and disability coverage for injuries on the job. Labor groups reject the companies’ claims that current employment laws are not compatible with flexible work schedules and argue the companies should play by the same rules as other businesses.

Read the article at Reuters.

Ford Starts Trials Of New Tool To Predict Accident Hotspots

International Fleet World

A new digital road safety tool that could predict potential incident hotspots is to go under trial from this summer by a Ford-led consortium – and vehicle owners are being invited to take part.

The carmaker’s collaborative work with experts and academics has now received financial backing from Innovate UK and is exploring how information from connected vehicles could be linked up with data from roadside sensors and local authorities to predict the likely locations and possible root causes of potential road safety hotspots.

The project will analyze detailed telematics data from the fleet of vehicles alongside information from up to 25 additional smart sensors to be provided in Oxfordshire by Vivacity Labs. The work will help develop the digital road safety algorithm and tool for use as a scalable, commercial product that could bring road safety benefits globally. The consortium will also seek to uncover further real-world applications for predictive road safety-related insights.

Read the article at International Fleet World

New Technologies

J.D. Power

The J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study finds that automakers that innovate and are early to offer new technologies – so long as customers value them – stand to benefit most as those technologies enter the mainstream.

The TXI Study analyzes 34 technologies, which are divided into four categories: convenience; emerging automation; energy and sustainability; and infotainment and connectivity. Only technologies classified as advanced are award eligible.

The TXI Innovation Index measures how effectively each automotive brand brings these technologies to market, measured on a 1,000-point scale. Volvo ranks highest overall with an Innovation Index score of 617 and offers a high level of advanced technologies across its entire product lineup.

Read the article at J.D. Power.


Smart Cost Cutting

By Ed Smith, President, Agile Fleet

Did you know that 80% of fleet managers expect budget reductions next year?

Fleets hit hard financially by the COVID-19 crisis may now be required to make changes that will reduce costs, increase social distancing and sanitation, and improve efficiency. The good news is that it may not be as difficult as you may think. Things like right-sizing, eliminating underused vehicles from the fleet, and sharing vehicles in a self-service motor pool (that can be operated remotely!) can all significantly reduce costs.

Did you know that the carrying cost of one passenger vehicle is between $3,500-$8,000 annually? If you can eliminate just 5 underused vehicles out of your fleet for example, you can save between $17,000 and $40,000 a year.

One of the best ways to reduce costs and (improve social distancing) is by implementing a shared vehicle fleet with a self-service motor pool system. Sharing vehicles, rather than allowing people to use assigned vehicles, not only reduces costs but offers many benefits to your employees.



Electric Vehicles


A study from Northwestern University revealed that if  25 percent of the American fleet – 68.4 million cars – were composed of electric vehicles, the country would save $17 billion per year. 

According to the study, these savings would not relate to the lower running costs of EVs. Instead, they could be achieved with what they can do to help society. With more electric cars in cities, the air around them would be cleaner, and their populations would not get sick due to pollution as often as they do today.

A more challenging benefit to measure, would be avoiding climate change damages. Mostly because cars do not account for that much carbon emission, we would need clean airplanes, trucks, trains, and ships more than electric cars. They also demand less natural resources and the savings could be even higher.

Read the article at InsideEVs.

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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