July 6, 2021

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

The ‘Existential Crisis of Our Times’

It’s not a slam-dunk that President Biden’s infrastructure legislation is going to fully address the issue that Biden has called “the existential crisis of our times.” According to the Center for American Progress, “there are still 139 elected officials in the 117th Congress who refuse to acknowledge the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change.” We have no idea how much more evidence they need.

Given that Transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, the fleet industry has a significant role to play. It is heartening to see that virtually every stakeholder in our industry is focusing on electric vehicles. Both NAFA and AFLA upcoming conferences feature multiple sessions on strategies surrounding EV adoption.

This week in FMW, eDriving founder Ed Dubens pens a perfectly-timed article Making the Business Link Between Driver Safety and Sustainability; Mike Sheldrick asks, Can Battery Swapping Beat EV Charging?; and Fleet Logistics asserts Timing is Right for UK Fleets to Transition to EVs. In his video, Tim Murray offers Shell Fleet Solutions with Carbon Reduction Strategies.

Our hearts are with our friends in the path of tropical storm Elsa.

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: How Wheels is Helping Customers Reemerge

Wheels is helping customers reemerge, with a steady focus on driving change.

VIDEO: Carbon Reduction Strategies

  Shell Fleet Solutions to Help with Carbon Reduction Strategies

Shell Fleet Solutions aims to be at the forefront as fleets continue to commit to carbon reduction, all while building efficiencies and lowering TCO.

Video 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.


NAFA I&E Virtual Experience

September 13-15, 2021

I&E Virtual Experience, which takes place 12 days after the I&E in-person event in Pittsburgh, will provide education, peer networking, and access to the best products the fleet industry has to offer.

This Virtual Experience is not meant to replace the live event, but in fact augment the experience for those fleet professionals who travel to Pittsburgh as well as provide a taste of the show to those who cannot attend the in-person I&E.

I&E Virtual Experience consists of three days of sessions, some recorded at live I&E and some created specifically for the virtual event. Chat features will allow you to connect and discuss your experience and learnings with fellow attendees. There will be an enhanced exhibitor directory giving virtual attendees access to the exhibitors who displayed at the live event.

Learn More!

autonomous vehicles NHTSA Orders Crash Reporting for Vehicles Equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and Automated Driving Systems


NHTSA issued a Standing General Order requiring manufacturers and operators of vehicles equipped with SAE Level 2 advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) or SAE Levels 3-5 automated driving systems (ADS) to report crashes.

“NHTSA’s core mission is safety. By mandating crash reporting, the agency will have access to critical data that will help quickly identify safety issues that could emerge in these automated systems,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Acting Administrator.

Read the article at NHTSA.

Merchants Fleet Introduces Turnkey Fleet Electrification Adoption Tool

Continues Acceleration of Electrify Fleet Ecosystem with Membership to Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance (CEVA)

Merchants Fleet announced the official launch of its AdoptEV service, an industry leading electric vehicle adoption tool designed to educate and transition clients through the EV (Electric Vehicle) and EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) & purchase process – from concept to execution.

“As a nationwide fleet provider, Merchants plays a crucial role in accelerating the transition to EVs for our clients,” says Brendan P. Keegan, CEO of Merchants Fleet.


Experience Connection through AFLA Membership

By Laura Jozwiak, Senior Vice President of Sales & Client Relations, Wheels, Inc.
President, Automotive Fleet and Leasing Association (AFLA)

Has anyone ever said to you, “Tell me a bit about AFLA”? What was your response?

“The Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) is the advanced forum dedicated to improving communication between sellers, buyers, fleet managers, lending institutions, fleet management companies, used vehicle marketers, and allied automotive service companies.” – do you just spout off the mission?

Being an AFLA member is so much more than a mission statement – it is a connection that once experienced, can be challenging to put into words.


Fleet Marketing

By Ed Pierce, President of ITA Communications. Fleet.

As mentioned in last month’s ‘A Call to Action,’ there are an average of 8.2 key stakeholders involved in business’ decision-making process, making it harder than ever for sales and marketing to contact and effectively communicate with all the key stakeholders.

Research has found that engaging prospects is the biggest problem facing B2B businesses, closely followed by finding sales-qualified leads. Solving these issues begins by determining the difference between a hot prospect and a cold lead.

Developing qualifying questions will allow your marketing team to ‘score’ a lead’s sales readiness based on factors such as the industry and size of the business, geographic location, and previous engagement with your brand.

Lead scoring gives you the basis for helping both marketing and sales identify contacts who are most likely to buy their product or service while weeding out unqualified leads. It helps sales teams focus on the most important opportunities, close more deals, and better understand who they are reaching and how to find more contacts like them.



Crash-Free Culture

By Ed Dubens, Founder/CEO of eDriving

Safety and sustainability are primary concerns for businesses today.

And, with driving for work being the most dangerous work activity many people do, and transportation being the main cause of air pollution in cities, the relationship between driver risk management and sustainability goals is one that should not be underestimated.

While the term ‘eco-driving’ is not new, it’s certainly been elevated to a buzzword right now. Why? Because companies are realizing the full impact they can have on the environment, and that sustainability is a business approach that can create long-term value.

Close to a quarter of energy-related global greenhouse gas emissions comes from transportation. So, it’s not surprising that companies are evaluating their transportation activities in relation to their sustainability goals. What is surprising, however, is that some companies are not yet recognizing the important relationship between safety and sustainability. It’s not necessary to see eco-driving as a separate goal to safety performance. Safe, defensive driving is eco-driving.



Battery Swapping

By Mike Sheldrick, Senior Editor

Ample, a San Francisco start-up, plans to capture a large share of the fleet market for electric vehicles using a recharging method as old as electric vehicles themselves: battery swapping.

Early in the 20th century, electric vehicles were the top sellers, Garages and electric utilities often swapped batteries instead of recharging them. But then, ICE-powered cars began to dominate. By the late 1920s, electrics had all but disappeared.

Ample says that it can change out a battery in a robotized swap unit within 10 minutes, and it will soon reduce turnaround to five minutes. That compares favorably to a Tesla supercharger, which can take up to 45 minutes for an 80% charge. Heat build-up can harm the battery during supercharging, so higher level charging is not recommended.

Most electric owners charge their cars overnight at home by merely topping them off daily. That won’t work for long trips, nor when large numbers of BEVs are sold.



LA’s No Longer No. 1 — At Least Not When it Comes to Traffic

The Detroit Bureau

As anyone who has tried to negotiate Tinseltown freeways like the I-5, 10 and 405, gridlock is a way of life, Los Angelinos measuring distances in time, rather than miles.

But after holding the “honor” of being America’s most congested city for the last three decades, LA has emerged from the pandemic way down in the No. 4 spot, at least according to a new study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Based on the number of hours a typical motorist is expected to lose creeping through traffic, the New York-Newark megalopolis took the title. Drivers in and around the Big Apple will clock 56 lost hours a year, according to the institute’s 2021 Urban Mobility Report.

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.

Lordstown Motors is Now Being Investigated by the Justice Department

The Verge

The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into troubled electric vehicle startup Lordstown Motors, which is backed by General Motors and went public late last year but has yet to get its pickup — the Endurance — into production.

It’s the second official probe into the startup, as the Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation earlier this year into Lordstown Motors executives’ misleading claims about how many preorders it had logged for the Endurance.

“Lordstown Motors is committed to cooperating with any regulatory or governmental investigations and inquiries,” a representative for the startup said in a statement.

Read the article at The Verge.

Law Enforcement Agency Testing Shows 2021 Ford F-150 Police Responder Accelerates Faster Than all Police Vehicles Tested

Ford Media Center

The all-new 2021 Ford F-150 Police Responder has the best acceleration of any pursuit-rated police vehicle tested, helping law enforcement officers respond quickly to emergencies.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department test data, as well as preliminary test results from Michigan State Police, show the 2021 F-150 Police Responder, America’s only pursuit-rated pickup truck, had the fastest 0-60 mph, 0-100 mph and quarter-mile times of any law enforcement vehicle, including SUVs and sedans.

The main drivers of the acceleration improvements are the truck’s increased torque and new torque-on-demand 4×4 transfer case.

Read the article at Ford Media Center.

If You Bought a Car Last Year, it Could Now be Worth More Than You Paid For it

CNN Business

Typically, a new car is considered a bad investment because it loses a big chunk of its value the minute you drive it off the dealer lot. That’s unless you bought that new car during the pandemic. In that case, you likely made an amazing investment because you could now possibly sell your one-year-old car at a profit or, at least, get back nearly what you paid for it.

Normally, a dealer selling a one-year-old used car will get about 80% to 85% of its original price, according to Edmunds.com. But, according to the site’s most recent figures, car dealers can now sell one-year-old used cars for about 95% of the original price.

This weird situation is not likely to end soon. Even if car companies are able to refill their supplies of computer chips, the level of production will take a long time to catch up with all the demand.

Read the article at CNN Business.

UK Fleets

The UK electric vehicle (EV) market has reached a tipping point and UK businesses have never been better placed to review their transition to EVs and grasp the opportunity to take advantage of all grants while still available.

So says Fleet Logistics UK, the UK arm of Fleet Logistics Group, which says tax incentives both corporate and personal, government funding for EVs and home and workplace charging, plus a range of excellent new models coming onto the market, have meant that the timing is right for EV transitioning.

Europe’s largest independent mobility management provider, with 180,000 vehicles under contract in 27 countries, Fleet Logistics believes that all businesses should now be looking at their policy and mobility roadmap very seriously.



Interview with Tom Callahan

Powered by Athene’s Commitment to Long-Term Growth

By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

After the questions raised in 2020 about Donlen’s future in the midst of the pandemic due solely to its parent company’s financial troubles, the outlook for 2021 and beyond looks exceedingly bright — for the company, its new owners, its employees, and its customers, says CEO Tom Callahan.

“The purchase of Donlen by Athene is a significant achievement for a number of reasons. First, Athene plans to invest in our company, its people, processes and systems. In fact, we recently raised over a billion dollars in growth capital with 60 investors, 30 of which were brand new to the platform and 30 were existing investors who are happy with our new parent.

“Now that the ownership has been solidified and we have the financial resources and long-term commitment to growth from Athene, all of our internal and external stakeholders are reassured. Athene wants to use Donlen as a long-term growth platform. They look at us as a high quality investment. That sits well with customers, employees, and investors, none of whom like instability or the perception that we could be sold at any minute,” notes Tom.



Tips from Hypermilers


Hypermiling isn’t just for the hybrid crowd. You can use the techniques to slash fuel consumption on your gas-engine car too.

When gas is cheap, few of us sweat getting maximum MPG. But that quickly changes when prices soar. While some people react by shopping for a more fuel efficient car (that takes many years to pay for with fuel savings), a more rational approach is to steal a few pages from the hypermiler’s playbook.

These are the techniques that hardcore fuel economy seekers have used for years to approach triple digit MPG. Some of their techniques are either risky or mostly relevant to hybrids, but the ones I summarize below are sound and can be used the next time you get into the gas-engine car you already drive.

Read the article at Roadshow

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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