April 13, 2021

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…

We are seeing so much activity in our industry! We were delighted to read the latest report from Motus that finds business driving has rebounded to 70 % of pre-pandemic activity – a positive sign for the U.S. economy.

While fleets can have an excellent driver safety policy, the actions of the driver behind the wheel are key. Ed Pierce has written an outstanding piece to help you turn the “satisfactory” driver into an “exemplary” driver, one who is highly skilled and crash-free: The Keys to Excellent Fleet Driver Behavior.

In case you missed it, the acquisition of Donlen Corporation by Athene Holdings was recently finalized. The Donlen team clearly wasn’t distracted; check out this interesting news: Donlen Teams with Udelv to Offer Last-mle Delivery As a Service.

Do check in with Fleet Management Weekly.com for daily updates.

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” ~ Barack Obama

VIDEO: WIFM Mentorship Offers Benefits Personally and Professionally

WIFM offers great professional and personal benefits to both mentors and mentees, and that has certainly been the experience for Susan Miller and Holly Vollant.

If you’re an AFLA member you can sign up for the Mentorship Program HERE.

VIDEO: Delivery Vehicles, Delivered Quickly

 ReadyFleet Delivers Vehicles Quickly

Merchants Fleet already had a good transportation network that allowed for delivery and pickup in all 50 states. But with all that happened last year, it needed to be improved, so they came up with ReadyFleet, featuring delivery vehicles that were essentially ready to go with only a couple of weeks lead time.

PODCAST with YOU Here?

 Request for Podcast Interviews

FMW is about to launch our new podcast series, and we’re 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!

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

The Fleet Spot

LeasePlan USA Partners with ChargePoint to Enable Fleets to Electrify

The two companies have entered into an agreement to accelerate transition to EVs across company fleets.

LeasePlan USA, a global leader in fleet management and driver mobility services, and ChargePoint, a leading electric vehicle (EV) charging network, have announced an agreement to enable the accelerated transition to EVs across company fleets.

Together in partnership, LeasePlan and ChargePoint will provide software, networked EV charging hardware, and services with end-to-end support from installation to deployment and management for LeasePlan clients to help make the transition to electric more seamless.


Kenworth Launches New Medium-duty Product Lineup

Kenworth last week introduced a new medium-duty conventional truck lineup ranging from Class 5 to light Class 8 during a major virtual product reveal.

Kevin Baney, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president, noted, “Our new lineup sets the industry standard for quality, performance, reliability and durability throughout the many diverse, medium-duty applications in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

“These Kenworth models possess excellent versatility and maneuverability, spacious 2.1-meter-wide cab, exceptional visibility and driver-focused ergonomics, and new PACCAR TX-8 transmission. Our new medium-duty trucks are an impressive addition to the World’s Best product line.”


eDriving and Global Road Safety Partnership Launch “Triple Threat” Resources

eDrivingSM and Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), have launched a comprehensive campaign with complimentary manager- and driver-focused resources to help organizations protect drivers against the “Triple Threat” of Speeding, Distraction and Fatigue.

While all three are already well-known high-risk driving behaviors that present serious risk to all road users, eDriving and GRSP are raising awareness around the fact that, when combined, the “Triple Threat” of Speeding, Distraction and Fatigue is too dangerous to ignore.


Peterbilt Introduces New Class of Medium Duty Trucks for Lease and Rental Markets

Last week, Peterbilt Motors Company unveiled the all-new medium duty Model 535 and Model 536, designed for the Class 5/6 non-CDL lease and rental markets.

“This year has proved to be a very big year for Peterbilt, first with the launch of the New Model 579 and now with launch of the new Model 535 and Model 536. The medium duty segment is integral to Peterbilt’s business and we have seen great gains in market share since the launch of our first medium duty truck back in 1995,” said Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice president.

“These trucks are a perfect fit for the growing lightweight lease, rental and pick-up and delivery markets with their versatility, excellent efficiency and uptime”.


Exemplary Drivers

By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

A well-run fleet management program can dramatically reduce fleet costs by focusing on the vehicle throughout its life cycle. As a general rule of thumb, companies can expect a 15-20% reduction in fleet costs in the first full year.

However, fleet management companies have also found that companies that employ a comprehensive program to achieve excellence among their drivers can realize an additional 5-10% reduction.

Fleets must adopt and promote a broad definition of what constitutes satisfactory driving behavior. An exemplary driver is one who is highly skilled and crash-free.

The model driver knows the importance of proper vehicle maintenance, how to minimize fuel consumption, how to arrive to a destination on time through proper planning, how to drive defensively, and comply with the organization’s driver policy.



Business Driving Rebounds


As the first quarter of 2021 drew to a close, a growing number of economic sectors in different parts of the country are reopening.

As leaders execute and adjust business plans, they keep an eye on indicators that can inform them about activity across their industry sector and in their region. Field activity is a metric that illustrates economic health and activity for most markets.

This report shares these trends, using business mileage levels to explore the pace of recovery across various industries.

• Average business mileage across the U.S. has increased to 70% of pre-pandemic levels.

• While activity levels vary from region to region, there is an even wider variety among industry sectors and their many subsectors.



Last Mile Delivery

By Mike Sheldrick, Senior Editor

For months now, Amazon has been trumpeting its plan to introduce 10,000 electric delivery vans in 2022 and 100,000 by 2030.

Intel’s Mobileye and Udelv have just upped the ante in the futures game by unveiling plans to produce 35,000 driverless electric delivery vans between 2023 and 2028.

Intel bought Mobileye in 2017, and Udelv is a well-funded Silicon Valley start-up. It’s no late-comer to equipping autonomous delivery vehicles. It has partnered with Wal-Mart since 2019 and claims to have made thousands of automated deliveries around the U.S. in the past few years for a number of retailers.

Udelv’s emphasis has been on the last mile of delivery although it plans to also enter other vehicle fields, including taxi services.


Fleet Trends & Issues

Once ‘Green’ Plug-in Hybrid Cars Suddenly Look Like Dinosaurs in Europe


Remember when plug-in hybrid cars were the go-to technology for the climate-conscious driver?

Turns out, they’re not good for the environment, according to some experts, and they could be phased out by carmakers in the face of tougher European rules.

Julia Poliscanova, senior director for vehicles and e-mobility at European NGO Transport & Environment, said its own research showed that when driven in combustion-engine mode, hybrids’ CO2 emissions were higher than conventional cars’ – they’re heavier than combustion-only cars so used more fuel. “From the perspective of environment and climate, today’s plug-in hybrid technology is worse than what it is replacing.”

Read the article at Reuters.

‘Zoom Zombies’ are Zoning Out Behind the Wheel After Video Calls, Auto Safety Experts Warn

NBC News

As millions of Americans spend hours at a time in videoconferences – and then hop in their car – many are struggling to maintain their concentration, making experts fear this zoning out due to cognitive overload could be contributing to a surge in roadway deaths.

“After you get into your car, you may be operating on autopilot,” Joan Claybrook, a former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said. “I think computer use, in general, can overload you.”

A new study by Root Insurance found 54 percent of the 1,819 adult motorists surveyed said they have had trouble concentrating on the road after videoconferences. The younger the driver, the worse the problem. For Gen Z motorists, 65 percent reported losing focus while driving, while it was 61 percent for millennials and 48 percent for Gen Xers.

Read the article at NBC News.

Uber and Lyft Have a Driver Shortage Problem, and It’s Costing Them a Lot of Money

The Verge

Uber and Lyft have a driver shortage problem. With the number of US-based drivers for both apps down around 40 percent, the two companies are pledging to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to lure people back into the driver seat.

Uber announced Wednesday that it was launching a $250 million “stimulus” for drivers in the hopes of speeding their return to the platform. According to data from Apptopia, the number of US-based drivers logging into Uber during the first three months of 2021 was down 37.5 percent year over year. Lyft saw a 42.3 percent drop over the same period.

The hope is that these incentives can help persuade those drivers who logged off after being discouraged by the lack of riders to eventually come back. A major challenge for this effort, though, is that COVID-19 continues to be a huge drag on Uber’s and Lyft’s respective businesses.

Read the article at The Verge.

Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Would Reduce Our Reliance on Cars


The infrastructure of the United States is built for cars. The impulse to build around cars is hard-wired into almost all our funding formulas, institutional norms and culture. But the big new spending package from the Biden Administration represents a potentially historic departure from our car-centric approach to infrastructure.

The Administration’s proposal, which will cost more than $2 trillion, would boost funding for public transit pretty dramatically, adding more than $10 billion per year – roughly doubling annual federal transit spending. Biden’s proposal would also give intercity rail transport a needed shot in the arm, providing an additional $80 billion for rail upgrades.

Biden’s infrastructure bill is full of other needed transportation investments, like $20 billion for complete streets: streets with sidewalks, bike lanes and facilities for transit that can help make short walks safe and accessible for more Americans.

Read the article at CNN.

High Tech EVs

ABC News

Automakers are making electric vehicles incredibly austere and geared toward motorists who are accustomed to doing just about everything on their mobile phones.

EVs are transforming how Americans “refuel.” There are changes happening inside the cabin, too. Radio dials now programmed into massive tablets that are mounted to the center dash. Simple functions like heated seats and climate control operated via an oversized screen. In Volkswagen’s ID.4 crossover, a screen is not required to switch songs or turn on the ventilated seats.

A vertical, 11.15-inch screen replaces nearly all of the switches, buttons and knobs in the Polestar 2. Like the ID.4, the electric sedan has no dedicated start/stop button and navigation, entertainment and climate control are all handled on the screen. Polestar 2’s inclusion of Google’s native infotainment system, an industry first, separates itself from the pack. The avant-garde, minimalist interior is a traditional Scandinavian design.

Read the article at ABC News.


Infrastructure and EVs

The Detroit Bureau

President Biden’s Infrastructure proposal calls for $174 billion to boost EVs. It also calls for $100 billion in new consumer rebates and $15 billion to build 500,000 new EV charging stations.

“And it’s hard to imagine a congressman or senator voting against something that could create thousands of jobs in his or her district or state, no matter what party he or she belonged to.” said Joe Britton, executive director of the Zero Emissions Transportation Association (ZETA). “We’ve seen Republicans question the package at large, but I haven’t heard anyone say they’re against investing in transportation electrification.”

All the positives far outweigh the negatives, and the proposal can really kickstart the economy. The new EV rebates would be a potential big boost to U.S. automakers. The plan also calls for $20 billion for electric school buses, $25 billion for zero-emission transit vehicles and $14 billion in other tax incentives.

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.


Fleet Marketing

By Ed Pierce, ITA Communications. Fleet

The pandemic has sped the need for fleet service providers to find more effective means of winning and keeping business in a digital business world.

Account-based marketing moves beyond disparate lead generation, sales, customer service, and account management programs to deliver a winning strategy for the entire customer relationship journey.

Part III reviews a list of metrics to ensure ABM success.

Your sales and customer-facing teams all are communicating with key account contacts with personalized, account-specific messages to key contacts. Sales, marketing and account management teams must coordinate messaging for ads, emails and content to ensure they strategically reinforce the intended theme and deliver the intended action – sales funnel progress, relationship strengthening, and so on.


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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