September 21, 2021

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

‘A Consistent, Superior Client Experience’

This week in FMW’s ongoing series of interviews with fleet management company senior leadership, we feature Ed Pierce’s engaging conversation with David Madrigal, Element Fleet’s Executive VP and Chief Commercial Officer for the U.S. and Canada.

Madrigal concludes the interview on this confident note: “The scale of being the largest fleet management company in North America and other markets makes us formidable, and our global alliance with Arval ensures seamless integration of solutions for multi-national fleets. So, what gives our clients confidence in Element as a partner today – the combination of people, scale and portfolio will continue to define a consistent, superior client experience into the future.”

FMW warmly congratulates Sherry Calkins, Sue Fensky, Lori Olson and Phil Samuelson, all recipients of AFLA’s 2021 President’s Awards!

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Donlen Technology — Designed to Make Fleet Managers’ Jobs Easier

Fleet managers are constantly taking on more responsibilities, and it’s Donlen’s job to provide technology that makes their lives easier.

VIDEO: Wrench Teams Up with Bridgestone

  Bridgestone + Wrench = A One-Stop Shop for Fleets and Consumers

The newly announced partnership between Wrench and Bridgestone-Firestone adds up to a one-stop shop for fleets and consumers.

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.


Congratulations to AFLA 2021 President Award Recipients!

AFLA’s President’s Awards are 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.

“It is my privilege and honor to be able to recognize these four individuals for their strong commitment to both AFLA and the corporate fleet industry, and to thank them for their time, talents and efforts towards supporting and furthering the mission of AFLA.” ~ Laura Jozwiak, AFLA President

  • Sherry Calkins, Vice President, Connected Car at Geotab
  • Sue Fensky, Fleet Manager at Travelers
  • Lori Olson, Senior Customer Success Specialist at Geotab
  • Phil Samuelson, Fleet & Capital Asset Manager at USIC Locating Services, LLC

    Best Practices from the 100 Best Fleets

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    Work Truck Week 2022 Returns to Indianapolis With Expanded Content

    America’s largest work truck event returns in person to Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, March 8–11, 2022, with an expanded format, new branding, and a familiar keynote speaker.

    Building on the success of the 2021 virtual event, NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry is adding a more robust online component and officially rebranding its annual industry gathering as Work Truck Week®.

    During the 2022 event, The Work Truck Show® exhibit hall, Green Truck Summit, and a myriad of other offerings will be featured throughout the week, including NTEA Annual Meeting with keynote speaker Mike Rowe.


    Silent Sound of the Police: Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Gets the Cop Car Treatment


    For years, the Michigan State Police (MSP) have put potential cruisers and pursuit vehicles through a robust set of dynamic and durability tests. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are increasingly looking like the future of personal transportation, and it’s time for police departments to take a closer look at BEVs.

    A 2022 Mustang Mach-E is being submitted by Ford to the MSP for evaluation and it will most likely be subjected to the same acceleration, braking, track, and ergonomic testing as the gas-powered and hybrid competition.

    Ford hasn’t detailed how its police Mach-E might differ from its regular counterpart, but it’s definitely a higher-performance GT model. That means the 480-hp SUV will have no trouble meeting the MSP’s acceleration benchmarks with its sub-four-second 0-60-mph time.

    Read the article at MotorTrend.

    Interview with David Madrigal

    By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

    Editor’s Note: In July, Element Fleet Management Corp. reported solid second-quarter and first-half results, including second quarter and first half net revenues. growth in service revenue and strong cash flow. Fleet Management Weekly caught up with David Madrigal, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for the U.S. and Canada, to learn more about the company’s progress.

    Element’s David Madrigal is excited about the fleet market in this era of the ‘new normal.’ The Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer believes his company’s investments in recent years directed at strengthening technology, financials, and processes, have permitted the company to deliver a superior client experience at time when fleet managers need a strong partner.

    “Fleet managers today face two-levels of concern. Core, everyday fleet problems like how do they increase productivity? How do they mitigate risks? How do they reduce carbon footprint? And now, they need to layer on top of those challenges the new reality of EV conversion, supply chain disruption, more predictive data, remote worker-caused fleet rightsizing, and more,” says David.



    Safety: Analyzing Collisions

    By Pierre Sarnow, Lead Data Scientist, Omnitracs

    Collisions — dangerous for drivers and powerful catalysts for skyrocketing nuclear verdicts.

    Prioritizing driver safety is paramount. In today’s digital and connected age, a severe collision could spell disaster for your business reputation. Although collisions may appear random, they often aren’t. Various factors, including congested traffic in urban areas and dangerous driving habits, are driving indicators that lead to many collisions.

    To analyze collision insights for our customers, I explored our comprehensive culmination of SmartDrive data, which is comprised primarily of Class 8 and other vehicles. Here’s what I uncovered!



    The Ongoing Chip Shortage

    By Ken Robinson, Market Research Manager at Motus

    Before the pandemic, local dealerships had hundreds of new vehicles lining their lots on any given day.

    Cars were available in every size, color and model, ensuring consumers were able to find the vehicle of their dreams. Now, however, a global chip shortage has led to reduced vehicle production and left auto dealers across the country with barren lots. While dealerships wait to replenish their inventory, tens of thousands of new unfinished vehicles sit idle in parking lots waiting to be completed.

    The rise in work from home and remote learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic drove up the demand for personal electronics that rely on microchips, such as cell phones and laptops. This immediate and dramatic increase far outpaced chip production, and manufacturers were unable to scale operations to meet the market’s need.

    How is this impacting fleets?



    Michigan Governor Announces Wireless EV Charging on a Public Road

    Detroit News

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer opened the Motor Bella auto event Tuesday by announcing the state’s plan to develop wireless charging infrastructure on a public road.

    The Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot, a partnership between the Michigan Department of Transportation and the state’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, calls for an electrified roadway system for vehicles to charge while driving.

    “Michigan was home to the first mile of paved road, and now we’re paving the way for the roads of tomorrow with innovative infrastructure that will support the economy and the environment, helping us achieve our goal of carbon neutrality by 2050,” Whitmer said in a statement.

    Read the article at Detroit News

    EVs Initially Cost More to Service Than Gas Models — But Only for the First Year

    The Detroit Bureau

    Battery-electric vehicles owners can expect to pay more to service their vehicles, including maintenance and repairs, at least during the first year of ownership, according to new research — but the cost quickly tumbles and, by year three, BEVs have a significant cost advantage over conventional gas-powered vehicles.

    BEVs cost about 2.3 times more than gas-powered vehicles during the first three months of ownership. Most of that is in the form of repairs and recalls. But costs quickly start to decline for battery-powered cars, while rising for vehicles using internal combustion engines, or ICE.

    For the first full year, service runs about 1.6 times higher. Breaking that down by category, maintenance costs an average $7 per vehicle for BEVs compared to $30 for the average gas model. But repairs ran $247, nearly double the $142 the owner of a typical gas model spent. BEVs also ran up $50 in recall costs compared to just $12.

    Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.

    Self-Driving Ford Vehicles Might Deliver Your Next Walmart Order

    The Drive

    Walmart will begin offering autonomous deliveries in three U.S. cities thanks to a new partnership with Ford and self-driving tech company Argo AI.

    The pilot program will kick off later this year in Austin, Miami, and Washington D.C., starting first in “defined service areas” and expanding over time. Customers will be able to place an order using Walmart’s online ordering system and if the product is being sent to a home in one of the cities’ service areas, an Argo-programmed Ford may be sent out for delivery.

    Ford says that this collaboration will help drive industry knowledge of how autonomous vehicles can optimize delivery logistics. Walmart can evaluate how these technologies can improve consumer experiences, specifically by meeting the expectation of next-day and even same-day delivery—a step that could one day bring the retailer to Amazon’s level.

    Read the article at

    How to Meet EV Charging Demands and Maintain a Stable Electric Grid


    As electric vehicles (EVs) become the new standard, charging infrastructure will become a commonplace detail blending into the landscape, available in a host of places from a range of providers: privately run charging stations, the office parking lot, home garages and government-provided locations to fill in the gaps.

    We need a new energy blueprint for the United States in order to maintain a stable grid to support this national move to EV charging.

    The Biden administration announced 500,000 charging stations to be installed nationally and additional energy storage to facilitate the shift to EVs. Integrating all of this new infrastructure and transitioning requires balancing the traffic on the grid and managing increased energy demand that stretches beyond power lines and storage itself.

    Read the article at autoblog

    Stellantis and MEC

    The Detroit Bureau

    In the future, drivers of Stellantis vehicles could employ technology that reacts far more quickly than current driver-assist systems thanks to the use of Multi-access Edge Computing, or MEC.

    For Stellantis, MEC could collect data from red light or speed cameras to notify the driver about what they can’t see, such as upcoming driving hazards, pedestrians or approaching emergency vehicles. Such notifications are a result of Stellantis engineers working with HAAS Alert’s Safety Cloud, a digital warning system that triggers when an emergency vehicle activates their lights. The alert would come through the vehicle’s Uconnect system.

    “Improved hardware and expanded software expertise have opened new opportunities for Stellantis with safety systems being one of the many areas we focus on,” said Mamatha Chamarthi, head of Software Business and Product Management, in a statement.

    Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.


    In-Car Cameras


    Several automakers offer features where a camera inside a vehicle monitors the driver and sets off alerts when it detects them starting to fall asleep. Researchers have developed an even smarter in-car camera system that can figure out exactly what a driver is doing, potentially improving the safety of semi-autonomous driving features.

    The new system uses AI-powered image recognition to construct a digital skeleton of the driver that provides enough details for the system to interpret what exactly the driver is doing, while additional object recognition keeps tabs on the location of items like smartphones or coffee cups.

    When the two systems are paired, a vehicle is able to determine if a driver is paying attention to the road, or distracted with other activities like texting, eating, or even interacting with other passengers in the vehicle. By keeping tabs on what the driver is doing, a semi-autonomous driving system can determine how distracted they are, and potentially how long it will take them to return their focus to driving, and take that into account before handing control of the vehicle back to them.

    Read the article at MSN.


    Data and Driver Risk

    FMW Editorial Staff

    In order to reduce driver risk and help drivers change behavior, look at the information that’s coming in.

    And, these days, the more data, the better! Motor vehicle violations and license-checking information. Past crash and collision incident information. And, especially, telematics. Combined and normalized, the aggregate data provides terrific insight into risk.

    Only after data is collected and the picture fully formed, can a potent action plan be developed. that targets drivers, departments, or the organization.

    A focused approach is more efficient because a company can reduce broad-based training to drivers that they may or may not need. Finally, the personalized approach is more successful in rectifying a specific driver performance or behavioral problem.

    At the driver level, an action plan can address training. At the departmental or enterprise levels, issues such as culture, scheduling, or job performance metrics can be addressed.


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