September 29, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Betting on California!

As a long-time resident of California and a witness to the devastating fire season we are still having, I cheered when Governor Newsom announced plans to ban the sale of gas and diesel fueled vehicles by 2035. “We are experiencing a climate CRISIS,” Newsom says. Predictably, EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler immediately warned that California is unlikely to receive permission from the EPA to proceed with these plans. California tends to win these fights for the environment, and we are betting on them. Elections have consequences.

The fleet industry has an important role to play, but every action we can take to reduce global warming, no matter how small, is meaningful. We owe it to our children and their children and their children.

The FMW team is so proud of our own Ted Roberts for being named a recipient of the AFLA 2020 President’s Award! He is in great company with fellow honorees Diana Holland and Suresh Rajapakse. When Ted and I acquired Fleet Management Weekly, Ted had no experience in fleet, his expertise was in publishing. I told him that he would love this industry and how the people in fleet would become life-long friends. It’s good to be right! Congratulations, Diana, Suresh and Ted!

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: NAFA Offers Great Networking and Experiences All Year Round

NAFA offers great opportunities to get involved all year round, including networking, learning, job resources and more.

VIDEO: AFLA’s Virtual Fleet Conference

 Engagement. Fun. Learning. Networking. AFLA NextGen 2020

Strong connections have always set AFLA apart, and that continues with engagement, fun, learning and networking at AFLA’s NextGen 2020 virtual conference.

VIDEO: The Fleet World is Evolving

 Why Fleets Need to Change

The fleet world is evolving. New tools and thinking can transform your fleet performance efficiency and safety. Are you ready to embrace the power of data?

Download a free Ebook to help your fleet meet today’s challenges!

The Fleet Spot

AFLA 2020 President’s Awards Announced

Congratulations to the following individuals who have been named the AFLA 2020 President’s Award Recipients.

The AFLA President’s Award is given at the discretion of the elected president, for those who have gone above and beyond to advance AFLA and the corporate fleet management profession.

Named to this prestigious award are Diana Holland, Vice President Strategic Pursuits at Merchants Fleet; Suresh Rajapakse, Vice President of Account Management at Wheels, Inc.; and Ted Roberts, Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer at Fleet Management Weekly

AFLA president, Katie Keeton, announced the awards on Friday saying, “It is my privilege to recognize the strong commitment to both AFLA and the corporate fleet industry by these three individuals, and thank them for their time, talents and efforts towards governing AFLA.”


YourMechanic and Motus Launch Nationwide Mobile Maintenance Program

YourMechanic, contactless automotive maintenance and repair service provider, announces its partnership launch with Motus, a leader in reimbursement solutions for businesses with mobile-enabled workforces.

With the launch of this partnership, YourMechanic’s mobile services are now available to hundreds of thousands of Motus customers spanning leading organizations in food and beverage, oil and gas, construction, manufacturing, life sciences, heavy equipment, retail and business services.

Through the Motus cloud-based platform and app, customers now have direct access to hundreds of mobile auto care services – from oil changes and brakes to battery and alternator failures – directly to their fleet lots or home driveways.


New E-guide Available: Re-Opening Your Fleet, Managing Vehicles, and Changing Fleet Operations in a Pandemic Environment

Chances are good that your fleet utilization is lower than normal during these troubling times. And, although fleet utilization dropped off rather abruptly in March of 2020, utilization likely will not turn on as if a light switch was flipped. The result could be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of leases or other fleet costs – just sitting in your parking lots.

For an in-depth look at this issue, DOWNLOAD this new E-BOOK created by the experts at Agile Fleet that addresses the pandemic fleet environment.

How Data Integration Leads to Driver Accountability

For fleet managers, having a handle on driver data is not an end in itself. Digital Document Storage is the key to making sure that drivers are in compliance with regulations and up to date with their licenses and certifications.

By Adam Danielson, Director of Sales

September, 2020

For fleet managers, accountability should be a top-of-mind concern. MVR status, regulatory compliance, up-to-date licenses and certifications — all of these are underpinned by accountability — both the drivers’ and the fleets’.

Being accountable means being responsible and trusted. And with the growing availability of data monitoring and integration technology — accountability is critical to compliance and performance.

SuperVision gives fleets the power to securely store, organize and utilize digital driver related documents from multiple sources through Document Vault. Document Vault integrates seamlessly with SuperVision’s continuous MVR monitoring solution, License Monitor. Adding secure cloud-based document storage to the industry’s leading driver license monitoring solution allows fleet managers to not only hold their drivers accountable for driving violations and license status, but also track, file and store any type of driver related document, including document expirations.


Asset Management

FLD upgrades popular WebAccess solution to help fleet professionals take control of the remarketing process

By Richard Mallek, Director of Business Development

September 2020

Imagine a time when business is being challenged like never before. A time when people are clamoring for innovative new ways to work from anywhere, any time and on any device. And, a time when just about everyone is trying to leverage the internet to find new ways to do more with less.

Sound like the current business landscape during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Perhaps – but in this case, I’m talking about 1997. It’s not long after the dawn of the internet, a time of rapid change and unprecedented challenges. And, much like today’s post-pandemic world, a time when businesses – even those in the fleet world – could see that digital solutions were the wave of the future.



Acquisition Strategy

Fleet managers are a resilient and pragmatic group of professionals. They will find a way or make a way, no matter the obstacles placed in their path.

By Maria Neve, Manager, Mercury Associates

September 2020

So here we are—6 months deep into a pandemic that has changed the way we work at the most basic level. Trying to predict what will happen next month, let alone next year, feels about as scientific as asking the Magic 8-Ball sitting on your desk. Despite all of this, the work continues, especially in our industry. 73% of fleet operations overall were deemed an essential service by government officials. Government itself is an essential service. State and local government fleets do not have the option of pausing their operations, and by all accounts they continue to rise to the challenge.

A recent survey found that a majority of fleets are worried that their budgets will be reduced by more than 10% over the next three months. Almost a quarter of fleets have said they are acquiring fewer vehicles right now. That may be short-sighted in the long run. Immediate capital expenditures are reduced, but operational expenditures will rise as assets age and require more unscheduled maintenance. The short-term gain does not outweigh the long-term pain.



Fleet Spectator

Solar-powered, no construction costs, no permits required

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

September 2020

One of the biggest challenges North American fleets face when considering converting to electric vehicles is the relative lack of charging infrastructure. The solution, at least for depot-based fleets with routes that run under 100 miles a day or so, is to install their own.

But there are a couple of not-inconsiderable hurdles to that option. One is price: in many cases, connections to the local utility company require the digging of trenches at the fleet’s expense, which, alone, can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Another is time: it can take many months and sometimes well more than a year to get a charging station up and running, given the availability of construction crews and that permits usually have to be obtained, by which time the fleet’s charging requirements may have changed.

Once installed, though, such new infrastructure is permanent, and if the depot’s location changes the charging infrastructure has to be rebuilt elsewhere at additional expense. And then there’s the fact that the electricity isn’t free and is subject to brown-outs and black-outs that occasionally strike utility companies.


Fleet Trends & Issues

Ring Gets Into Automotive Security With Three New Car Products, Including One Debuting First For Teslas


Amazon-owned Ring is expanding from home and neighborhood security to the automotive world, with three new products including Ring Car Alarm, Ring Car Cam, and Ring Car Connect. Each of these will be available beginning sometime next year.

The products definitely span a range of price points – Ring Car Alarm will retail for $59.99, while Car Cam and Car Connect will both be $199.99.

Ring Car Alarm is an OBD-II wireless device that can detect any bumps while the car’s unoccupied, or even break-ins and when the car’s begin towed. Ring Car Cam is a security camera, which can work either via wifi, or LTE. Finally, Ring Car Connect is an API and aftermarket device for carmakers that allows them to integrate a vehicle’s built-in cameras, and lock/unlock state.

Read the article at TechCrunch.

Buying A New Car? These Tech Features Could Drive Your Choice

USA Today

A few years ago, those who kicked the tires on new vehicles might have prioritized fuel efficiency, comfort, or perhaps horsepower. Today, it’s all about the tech.

“The race never ends to develop ‘must have’ vehicle technologies,” says Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and human machine interface research at J.D. Power. “New technology continues to be a primary factor in the vehicle purchase decision.”

New technologies range from Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5, a comprehensive suite of active safety systems and optional Star Gaze fixed panoramic moonroof, to Cadillac’s enhanced Super Cruise system, which now includes “lane change on-demand,” allowing drivers to direct the system to perform a single lane change using the turn signal to indicate the desired direction of the move.

Read the article at USA Today.

Massive Network Outage Leaves Tesla Owners High And Dry


Tesla experienced a massive worldwide network outage on Wednesday that left countless Tesla owners unable to connect to their cars through the mobile app or use the Tesla website. 

The issue is mostly a minor one, even though many Tesla owners use a cell phone as their key. In theory, the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y still ought to be accessible with the correct cell phone using Bluetooth – no network connection required – and the older Model S and Model X can use a mobile data connection to lock and unlock with only a phone present.

Features like Tesla’s Smart Summon require communication with the Tesla network, rendering them out-of-commission in the event of an outage. More crucially, other Tesla products like its solar panels and Powerwall home battery systems were reportedly put out by the issue, as well, with owners not being able to monitor the devices.

Read the article at CarBuzz.

With Used-Car Demand Up, How to Get the Most When You Sell


Used cars continue to be in high demand these days and that can give sellers the upper hand. But if everyone knows that they can get a good deal for their old car right now, then how can you make your ride stand out?

“The condition that you present your car in represents its upkeep for the duration of your ownership,” Joe Neiman, chief customer success officer at ACV Auctions said. “It is also worth it to spend a little extra money for a professional detail before you head to the dealership and then talk up your effort on-site.”

Show off the work you’ve done to keep the car in good shape. If you’ve only ever had the car serviced at the dealership, include that paperwork. Leave about a half-tank of gas in the car when you bring it to a potential seller.  An empty tank gives the impression that you have squeezed the life out of your car and are ready to walk away from it.

Read the article at MSN.

California 2035

The Detroit Bureau

Governor Gavin Newsom, in a move that is certain to kick off a major legal, philosophical, economic and political row, plans to ban the sale of motor vehicles that use gasoline or diesel fuel by 2035 as part of its effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change and global warming.

California has long had the authority to write it own clean-air rules. The authority was reinforced in 2007 in a major case, Massachusetts vs EPA, in which the court overruled the Bush administration and said that states had the right to regulate the emissions of greenhouse gases.

“We’re experiencing a climate CRISIS,” Newsom said. “Transportation is responsible for over 50% of CA’s greenhouse gas emissions. It’s time to be as bold as the problem is big. Today we announced that by 2035 every new car sold in CA will be an emission free vehicle.”

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.


Safety & Risk

By Art Liggio, CEO and President, Driving Dynamics

September 2020

The very first amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individual rights of free speech along with other important civil liberties.

Over the decades, Americans have cherished and embraced this right and, in many cases, this freedom has contributed to producing a better society. Free speech has often been exercised as citizens gather to protest unfair practices and decisions made by government mandates on both the federal and state levels, and to address other societal wrongs.

During 2020 we have experienced both the good and the bad, as demonstrations have surged to new levels and continue today. About 95 percent have remained peaceful but five percent of these events have resulted in civil unrest, violence, and police enforcement.



Tesla’s $25K Car


Which would you choose for $25,000 – a Tesla Model 2 EV or a VW Golf with a conventional fossil fuel engine? No longer will the argument hold that “I can’t buy the EV because it’s too expensive”, because they will be the same price.

You could soon have the choice of a well-built German fossil fuel car, or a semi-premium EV that will be much, much cheaper to run because even in the USA, electric miles are considerably less expensive than fossil fuel ones. In the UK, where petrol and diesel prices are astronomical, the running cost differential will be huge.

When you can buy an EV with over 300 miles of range that is faster and equipped with better technology than an internal combustion engine VW Golf, as well as being much cheaper to run, only groundless anti-electric prejudice will stop you. There won’t be any real reason to buy a car that runs on fuel derived from oil and gas anymore.

Read the article at Forbes.

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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