October 13, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

On Pause

“On pause.” “On hold.” “Groundhog Day.” However you want to phrase it, many things seem to be delayed these days. We just need to figure out where we can move forward, and where we need to pause.

In today’s first video, Laura Jozwiak talks about how – for many fleets – shared vehicle and mobility are on pause these days. On the other hand, she notes that EVs and electrification are moving right along!

On the topic of EVs and electrification, Mark Boada writes in today’s Fleet Spectator about the enlightening and informative fleet electrification session at last week’s AFLA NextGen virtual conference. Mike Sheldrick further examines the state of electrification of commercial vehicles in Will Amazon’s Delivery Van Signal a Surge in Truck BEVs?

Speaking of AFLA, thanks to everyone involved (Elizabeth, Katie, Laura, and so many others) for making the virtual conference a success! Everyone I’ve talked to truly enjoyed the sessions and the networking and the fun.

Take care of yourselves!


VIDEO: Mobility, Shared Vehicles and EVs in the Time of COVID-19

The focus on mobility and shared vehicles is certainly on pause as priorities have shifted during the pandemic, but it is recommended to have a plan in place for when this pause ends.

VIDEO: Ongoing Changes Expected

 Fleets Expect Ongoing Changes Due to the Pandemic

Fleets are likely to see a lot of changes in the wake of COVID-19, from budgets to cleanliness and disinfection, to travel restrictions, and beyond.

Zoom 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



As a key part of NHTSA’s U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign, law enforcement will be hypervigilant, looking for distracted drivers and charging fines.

Since 2007, drivers age 16-24 have been distracted by devices at higher rates than other drivers, but we’re all at risk for distracted driving crashes.

Consider these tips for safe driving:
* If you must send or receive a text, pull over to a safe location and park your car first.
* If you have passengers, appoint a “designated texter” to handle all your texting.
* If you can’t resist the temptation to look at it, keep your phone in the trunk.

Read the article at NHTSA.

UK: COVID to Increase Requirements for Company Cars, Say Large Fleets

Fleet World

The coronavirus pandemic and a possible second wave will actually increase demand for company cars to help ensure continuity of service, including during a possible second wave.

A total of 56% of large enterprises anticipate an increase in requirements for company cars

New research carried out for the Driving for Better Business (DfBB) campaign among SMEs and bigger businesses has found 56% of large enterprises anticipate an increase in requirements for company cars. Meanwhile, 47% believe they’ll have increased demand for company vans and 70% of businesses say there’ll be a rise in staff using their own vehicles for work journeys (the so-called ‘grey fleet’).

Read the article at Fleet World

Merchants Fleet Expands Fleet Logistics Team

Merchants Fleet Release

Merchants Fleet is expanding its fleet team offering services to logistics and delivery companies in response to a meteoric rise in ecommerce, and a national increased demand for delivery vehicles, as well as the associated services required to manage and maintain them.

Members of the newly expanded fleet team include Mike Gavio, Director, Logistics Sales; Sal Fier, Regional Sales Manager; and Pablo Ruiz, Regional Sales Manager.

“Our last mile and logistics clients are describing the period we are in as a ‘never-ending peak’ due to the drastic and sustained shift toward ecommerce as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said John Cail, Senior Vice President of Mobility at Merchants Fleet. “We responded quickly to expand our fleet team focused on logistics companies to ensure our clients can scale their operations efficiently to keep goods moving to meet demand.”


Call to Action: The Pandemic-Driven Sales-Support Marketing Audit

A high-level B2B Sales-Support Marketing Audit can help rebuild your program to achieve growth while ensuring a much higher degree of resource efficiency – dollars and human

Ed Pierce, ITA Communications. Fleet.

October 2020

The pandemic has forced almost every business to slash budgets and trim staff in order to deal with the abrupt business disruption. While the knee jerk reaction provides a quick fix to improve the short-term financial picture, it also guarantees long-term slowdown of future growth.

That’s why many companies are returning to strategic planning. They are updating their SWOT analyses. They are identifying new strategic competencies based on re-aligned internal and market conditions. As a result, they are establishing revised goals or re-confirming old ones. Finally, they are adjusting departmental actions to support those goals.


Fleet Spectator

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

October 2020

Every session at this years’ Automotive Fleet Leasing Association annual conference, conducted virtually last week, was worth tuning into. But the one I found most compelling was on fleet vehicle electrification.

Moderated by senior product manager at Wheels, it featured four seasoned veterans of fleet electrification: Sharon Etherington, senior manager of regional administrative services for Roche Diagnostics; Sila Kiliccote co-founder of eIQ Mobility, a fleet electrification consulting company; Scott Miller, vice president of sales at Charge Point, Inc., a leader maker of electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and Matt Stover, Ford Motor Company’s  global director of charging, energy services and business development.

READ MORE for a transcript of their conversation that has been edited for clarity and length. AFLA announced that a recording of the session and all others from the three-day conference, will be available later this month.


Making Sure Equipment is Safe

By Steve Saltzgiver, Director of Strategic Innovation, RTA Fleet Management Software

October 2020

When operating complex equipment, it has been a long-standing fleet management practice (since the invention of personal conveyance and vocational vehicles) to perform daily safety inspections on the assets.

Ensuring equipment is safe to operate is an operator’s fiduciary responsibility to both themselves and their company — as well as the general public-at-large. Unfortunately, this responsibility was not taken seriously, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted stringent regulations in the early 90’s as part of the Commercial Driver License (CDL) requirements to ensure compliance.

Like everything else, with the advent of new computer applications and technology, the daily safety inspections were reimagined. As smart phones and handheld devices became widespread, eDVIR applications were created to streamline the process for both drivers and the shop.



Amazon and Rivian

By Mike Sheldrick, Senior Editor

October 2020

Last week, Amazon’s electric delivery van supplier, Rivian, demonstrated its first operating unit, with plans for 10,000 to be delivered in 2022 and 100,000 by 200, as 2030 part of Amazon’s pledge to achieve carbon-free by 2040.

Rivian’s demonstration caps a months-long surge in announcements and demonstrations of promised commercial vehicles: from pickups, to work trucks, to delivery vans, to Class 7 and 8 behemoths.

How long it will take for this activity to reach high tide can only be a guess. Nevertheless, as an accompanying piece in this issue — an electrification panel at the recent AFLA conference makes clear– all the signs point to the likelihood of a strong, even massive battery electric vehicle (BEV) movement to electrification.


Fleet Trends & Issues

Analysis: Annual Running Costs of EVs Less Than ICE; but with Purchase Price Factored In, it Flips

Green Car Congress.com

Self Financial, a fintech company, has compared the running costs of electric and non-electric vehicles in each state.

Across the US the average annual cost of running an electric vehicle is $2,721.96, while gasoline vehicles cost an average of $3,355.90 per year to run—a difference of $633.94 annually.

However, these annual costs don’t take into account the purchase cost of the vehicle itself and are purely the ‘running’ costs annually. When the purchase cost of each type of vehicle is factored in, average gasoline vehicles are $1,454 per year cheaper to run. EVs cost an average of $9,406 per year (including the purchase price) to run compared to $7,952 annually for gas vehicles (including the purchase price).

Read the article at Green Car Congress

In Case of Electric-Car Fire, Half of Fire Departments Are Unprepared

Car and Driver

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), half of U.S. fire departments are not prepared to deal with an electric-vehicle fire and have no post-crash protocols in place.

Training first responders to safely put out an EV fire is important as the number of EVs increases, and 31 percent  of fire departments report they don’t have any kind of specific training for their firefighters to deal with hybrid or electric vehicles,

Putting out different kinds of fires requires different strategies, and a burning gas tank is not the same as burning lithium-ion battery cell pouches. The USFA says EV fires “can exceed 5000 degrees Fahrenheit” and “applying water or foam may cause a violent flareup as the water molecules separate into explosive hydrogen and oxygen gases.”

Read the article at Car and Driver.

Consumer Reports, IIHS Issue List Of New Vehicles Recommended For Teens


Parents shopping for a safe and reliable 2020 model for their teen driver can consult a new list of recommended vehicles compiled by Consumer Reports (CR) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The recommended 2020 vehicles range in price from $22,000 to $37,000. All of them are winners of the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, meaning they have good ratings in all six of the Institute’s crashworthiness tests, advanced or superior ratings for front crash prevention, and acceptable- or good-rated headlights.

“It can be tempting to buy a tiny, bare-bones model for a teenager,” says IIHS President David Harkey. “But we know that teenagers are among the riskiest drivers, so it’s important not to skimp on safety. Spending a bit more for state-of-the-art crash protection and crash avoidance features is a worthy investment in your child’s future.”

Read the article at IIHS.

Waymo Knows You’re Scared Of Driverless Cars. That’s Why It’s Pouring Money Into UX.

Built In

Ryan Powell is head of UX research and design at Waymo, and has played a key role in the development of the ride-hailing app and the interface features of Waymo One’s two cars: the Chrysler Pacifica and Jaguar I-PACE.

Earning trust in self-driving cars among riders — not just joyriders and journalists out for a test drive, but workers commuting to jobs, parents dropping off children at school or daycare, retired couples visiting relatives, those with limited mobility access  — remains one of the biggest hurdles to widespread adoption.

“We’re trying to bring to market something that is a much safer option for getting from point A to point B, and that’s accessible to a wide, diverse set of folks,” Powell said. “It’s kind of the ultimate sign of trust: When parents are bringing their young kids with us in the car.”

Read the article at Built In.

Future Mobility


The massive drop in motoring during COVID-19 national lockdowns has shown that change is possible, with an opportunity in the mobility sector towards a more sustainable, resilient, efficient and inclusive system.

The experts say that personal car use in the cities of the future won’t be sustainable, and policymakers will have to legislate to remove cars from the urban environment. If this occurs, the majority of the experts believe the full decarbonization of the transport sector is possible by mid-century.

Buses and streetcars will also make a return and bicycling would be the second most important mode of transport, with 50% of the experts expecting cycling to be a dominant mode in most cities within 30 years. Walking would remain a key mode of transport for many people, believe the experts.

Read the article at Forbes.


Electric Vehicles

Inside EVs

While it is true EV sales are down 15% year-to-date, according to the most recent analysis from the Valuation Services group at J.D. Power, the category actually outperformed internal combustion engine sales, which suffered a 23% decline so far this year. 

This positive eight-percent difference points to a few key trends that are lifting the prospects of EVs over the mid-to-long-term horizons.

Taken together, the emergence of high-quality EV offerings from a variety of new players is combining with maturing infrastructure, rising consumer confidence and compelling tax incentives to lay the foundation for a very interesting 2021.

Read the article at Inside EVs.


Staying Competitive


The potential to create value sometimes entails creating a completely new industry, one in which companies that have never interacted before come together. 

Three developments in the global environment are particularly significant in favoring ecosystem strategies: the fact that customers are increasingly demanding solutions and experiences rather than products, the rising knowledge content of many products and business activities, and new opportunities being created by advances in information and communications technologies.

Few ecosystem leaders have succeeded by coming up with a new value proposition internally, designing their ideal ecosystem, and then determinedly trying to build it. Most started with a broad idea of where the potential for new value might lie, and then talked to possible customers or piloted a product, service, or putative platform to engage them.

Read the article at Strategy +Business.

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.

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

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