May 11, 2021

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Mastering the Migration to EVs

Our lead article this week is Ed Pierce’s interview with John Cail, senior vice president of Mobility at Merchants Fleet. The fleet management company has experienced impressive growth and is poised for a blockbuster 2021.

Cail talks with Pierce about the company’s electric vehicle strategy and other key initiatives that have contributed to Merchant’s success. He says, “Ultimately, this decision isn’t as simple as the asset anymore. Today, the decision to move to EVs goes all the way up to the boardroom where the company is making a decision to support sustainability.”

“Government is in good stead because of the mandates of the current administration, which will push agency fleets to adopt that EV sustainability play,” Cail notes.

Cue this CNN article: Kids are taking governments to court over climate. And they are starting to win. From the article: “The cases are most often centered around the idea that future generations have a right to live in a world that is not completely decimated by the climate crisis.”

Save the planet for our kids!

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Combating Driver Fatigue, a “Triple Threat” Behavior

When it comes to driver safety, it’s imperative to be on the lookout for the Triple Threat of Speeding, Distraction and the hidden risk of Fatigue.

VIDEO: Word on the Street

 Preparing to Reconnect

The ‘Word on the Street’ campaign is looking at ways we can all be more productive and more creative as we prepare to reconnect after spending a year in isolation.

VIDEO: AFLA’s Canada Fleet Summit

 Attend the AFLA Canada Fleet Summit Online

After great success last year, AFLA is pleased to announce its second Canada Fleet Summit. This virtual event is happening June 9th and 10th and offers a great mix of education and networking.

The Fleet Spot

Webinar: Best Practices of the Top Fleets of the 100 Best Fleets 2021

Webinar: May 13, 2021 — 2:00-3:00 PM EDT

The winners of the 2021 edition of the 100 Best Fleets were announced on April 14th! Congratulations to all of the winners!

During this webinar, hear what the top fleets did to distinguish themselves among 38,000 public fleets in North America. Learn about their approach and best practices that you can use immediately in your own operation. Also, learn about the emerging technologies the top fleets use to “do-more-with-less”.

Use this rare opportunity to benchmark your entire operation with world-class fleets.

Reserve My Spot

Element Fleet Appoints Avninder Buttar as VP, Strategy and Jason Kazmar, Director, Electric Vehicle & Sustainability Strategy

Element Fleet Management Corp. has appointed a senior leadership team to lead the company’s electric vehicle (EV) strategy. Avninder Buttar is appointed to Vice President, Strategy focused on EVs, and Jason Kazmar to Director, Electric Vehicle & Sustainability Strategy.

Mr. Buttar is a dynamic sustainability champion with a proven track record of leading successful, transformative change.

Mr. Kazmar has been at the forefront of utility/energy strategy including EV program implementation for over ten years.

“Avninder and Jason bring tremendous experience in the EV sector. Their strong engineering backgrounds and results-driven attitudes will be invaluable assets as we continue to build our global EV strategy,” Chris Gittens, Executive Vice President, Strategic Relationships said.


Ebbon-Dacs Sees Dynamic European Growth

Ebbon-Dacs has seen dynamic growth across the European Union for its Leaselink e-procurement platform, despite the impact of the Europe-wide lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Oxford-based automotive technology solutions provider has had a strong and established presence in the Netherlands for more than a decade where it works with major international leasing companies, vehicle manufacturers and dealers.

But the Group has now expanded into a number of different European fleet markets, including France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Italy, where clients are, or are about to, deploy its full range of technological solutions.


eDriving Webinar: Speeding and High Risk Behaviors: Steering Drivers to Safer Actions

Research shows that aggressive drivers tend to be involved in more traffic collisions.

And, above a certain minimum level of on-road competence, research shows that it’s a driver’s attitudes that make them much more likely to crash.

This webinar, timed to coincide with the speed-themed UN Global Road Safety Week (May 17-23), and presented in conjunction with the Global Road Safety Partnership, will examine the effects of speeding, one of the most dangerous on-road behaviors. It will look at the relationship between minor increases in speed and collision impact and outcome, and explain why speeding doesn’t always mean breaking the speed limit or driving to the extremes. Additionally, it will consider other high-risk behaviors, in particular, the “Triple Threat” of Speeding, Distraction and Fatigue.

REGISTER: U.S. Wednesday, May 19, 2021 | 2:00 PM EDT

Merchant Fleet’s EV Strategy

By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

Although Merchants has recently announced a spate of electric vehicle-related announcements, Senior Vice President of Mobility, John Cail, explains that the news is the result of the company’s ongoing electric vehicle initiative.

“We’ve been building our electric vehicle strategy for some time, including electrified vehicle fleet management services, charging, OEM relationships, and more.

“Merchants is developing and implementing EV strategies because we foresee that’s where our clients are migrating,” he adds. “We are building out our ecosystem of partners and are ahead of the curve and will remain out in front in order to offer our clients the best possible outcomes.”



Preventing Car Hacking


By Brandon Myers

Keeping your car secure means hiding valuables, closing windows, locking doors, and turning on your alarm if you have one. But now, there’s a security threat many car owners aren’t thinking of: hackers. Everything can be hacked. Everything — including your car.

Can your car be hacked? The short answer is yes. With the advanced features in vehicles today, cars are essentially giant moving computers, vulnerable to bugs, viruses, and hackers just like any other computer or mobile device.

Self-driving cars and vehicles with advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane assist, and automatic braking are particularly at risk, but practically any vehicle made in the past several years can be seriously disabled at the hands of a hacker.

Read on to find out how your car can seemingly develop a mind of its own, whether you can expect to experience a hack, and what you can do to prevent becoming a car hacking victim.


Motivating Government Fleet Employees

The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner’s approach

Janice Sutton:This article was written by the late Mark Boada and appeared in Fleet Management Weekly in August, 2020, but it is as timely today as it was last year.

Mark Boada — 2020
In this time of looming cuts in government budgets, prompted by the COVID-19 recession, public sector fleet managers may be wondering how to keep their technicians, administrators and managers motivated without meaningful pay increases and opportunities for overtime.

Nine years ago, Robert Martinez, then a manager within the New York Police Department’s fleet, presented a paper on that subject to fellow students at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s program for senior executives in state and local government.”

Today, Martinez, who holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical and mechanical engineering from the City University of New York and a master’s degree in executive management from New York University, is the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for support services, which includes responsibility for the department’s entire 10,000-vehicle fleet and more. In these edited excerpts from his 2011 paper, Martinez presents the management principles he continues to stand by and to which he credits much of the success of his 900-member organization.


Fleet Trends & Issues

Your Car is Spying on You, and a CBP Contract Shows the Risks

The Intercept

U.S. Customs and Border Protection purchased technology that vacuums up reams of personal information stored inside cars illustrating the serious risks in connecting your vehicle and your smartphone. 

The push to make our cars extensions of our phones makes them tremendously enticing targets for generously funded police agencies with insatiable appetites for surveillance data. A “vehicle forensics kit”, manufactured by American company Berla, can reveal where you’ve driven, what doors you opened, and who your friends are.

Civil liberties watchdogs said the CBP contract raises concerns that these sorts of extraction tools will be used more broadly to circumvent constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. “The scale at which CBP can leverage a contract like this one is staggering,” said Mohammad Tajsar, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

Read the article at The Intercept.

The 16 Most Successful Excuses to Avoid Speeding Tickets– 2021 Survey

PR Newswire

In a third annual survey of driver’s habits, finds the excuses that are most successful when stopped for exceeding the speed limit and explains why and by how much drivers speed.

Offering an excuse when pulled over for speeding can work. Nearly 50% of survey respondents say they avoided a ticket by giving an excuse, which is about double the success rate reported in last year’s survey. The complete research is available: 2021 caught speeding survey: successful excuses.

Top excuses in this year’s survey results include:
I didn’t know I was speeding — 26%
Medical emergency — 25%
Everyone else was going the same speed — 22%
Late for work — 21%
I had to use the bathroom — 20%

Read the article at PR Newswire.

The 10 Most Fuel-Efficient Pickup Trucks You Can Buy


Modern trucks are capable of better fuel economy than you might expect, especially when you consider the booming class of smaller, lighter midsize pickups, and the fuel-sipping diesel engines and hybrid powertrain options rapidly proliferating among full-size trucks.

The most fuel-efficient new pickup truck you can buy is a full-size, diesel-powered Chevy Silverado 1500.  This light-duty truck uses the 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-six that’s optional on the GMC Sierra. Like the GMC, it throws down a solid 33 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in the city.

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel just edges out the GMC Sierra diesel in the roundup by way of its superior highway fuel economy. Though both full-size trucks nail 26 mpg combined, the Ram’s 33-mpg highway performance is the tiebreaker.

Read the article at MotorTrend.

The Autonomous Vehicle World is Shrinking – it’s Overdue

The Verge

The autonomous vehicle industry is confronting some hard truths. The first is that autonomous vehicles are going to take a lot longer to reach mass scale than previously thought.

The second is that it’s going to be a lot more expensive, too. Right now, investors are not feeling as confident in the prediction that autonomous vehicles will soon become the dominant form of transportation. They will require huge financial investments and a willingness to tolerate zero cash flow until the technology is mature and safe enough to launch.

And the third hard truth: going it alone is no longer a viable option. 

Read the article at The Verge.

Shifting Toward EVs


Through all the turbulence of the past year, a source of enormous hope for the health of the planet has emerged: the automotive industry is shifting toward electric vehicles (EVs) even faster than we envisioned only a year ago.

Steering the fight against climate change on course will require most markets to speed up the EV transition even further. For the EU to achieve its Green Deal targets, for example, it would need to reduce light-vehicle emissions by 90% by 2043—seven years sooner than currently forecasted—to compensate for its car parc emissions.

Strong signals from governments have further encouraged General Motors, Volvo, Jaguar, and many other leading OEMs to push more forcefully into electrification, with a growing number pledging to phase out ICE powertrains altogether. Growing investment into supply chains, charging infrastructure, and upgraded electrical grids will also help make these goals achievable.

Read the article at BCG.


Here Comes the E-Transit

The Car Gossip

The 2022 Ford E-Transit van, a rear-drive van powered entirely by electrons, will start at $44,990. While that seems like a lot for an electric work van, a regular gas-fed Transit starts at $43,390, so, not far off.

There’s a 67-kWh battery pack below the cargo floor that should offer a maximum of 126 miles of range. For skittish fleet managers, Ford is backing up the powertrain with an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty. The vans top out at 3,800 pounds of payload, or 4,290 pounds for the cutaway/bare chassis versions.

Ford estimates a 40 percent reduction in maintenance costs, so the E-Transit should be a very attractive vehicle for short-haul urban delivery duty. The E-Transit will be available in eight configurations – including three roof heights and three lengths – and Ford says its seeing healthy interest in all configurations.

Read the article at The Car Gossip.


Speeding, Distraction and Fatigue

Speeding. Distraction. Fatigue. Three extremely well-known high-risk behaviors, and in some ways so familiar that people can become complacent to them

By Ed Dubens, Founder/CEO of eDriving

Facts like these no longer appear to shock:

• Speeding contributes to around 30% of road deaths in high-income countries and around 50% in some low and middle income countries
• Fatigue is thought to contribute to around one in five car crashes
• Drivers using a mobile phone are around four times more likely to crash

But, with the latest preliminary data from the National Safety Council (NSC) estimating that as many as 42,060 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 – an 8 percent increase in deaths, and a 24 percent increase in death rate over 2019, it’s critical that we find a way to refocus our attention on these behaviors, and double (or triple!) our efforts on the management of such behaviors.


Fleet Management Resources


The Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association. Advancing corporate fleet worldwide.

The fast, easy way to remarket without risk. Get an offer in hours, paid in a few days. Improve TCO. Save time, money and resources.

PARS’ mission is to provide you with high-quality service at competitive prices for all of your transportation needs.

Driving Dynamics
Driving Dynamics was established to help corporate fleet drivers develop expert, safe driving skills using proven, advanced driving techniques.

Fleet Street
Fleet Street has 30+ years of experience and knowledge using a spectrum of wholesale and retail channels to simplify your involvement in the remarketing process.

SuperVision is a fleet driver management solution for MVR & license monitoring, fleet management, fleet safety oversight and driver performance and retention.

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.

NAFA Fleet Management Association
NAFA is the association for the diverse vehicle fleet management profession regardless of organizational type, geographic location, or fleet composition.

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

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