September 28, 2021

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Emerging Stronger!

Holly Hill, CAFS, Director of Business Development at FLD Remarketing, writes about some of the important ways that her company can help fleets find their ‘next normal’ during these unprecedented times.

FMW talks with ARI about managing fleet operations in this era of change. In his video interview with FMW, LeasePlan USA’s Felipe Smolka sees a strong growth curve ahead for the industry, and Geotab’s Charlotte Argue gives us something to think about as we add EVs into our fleets.

Negligent entrustment is a subject with which every fleet manager must be conversant. Literally millions of dollars can be at stake. SuperVision’s Adam Danielson offers us a prime example of why continuous vehicle monitoring makes sense.

Department of Regrets: For the first time in decades, our FMW team is going to miss the annual AFLA Conference. We know that it’s going to be superb and look forward to featuring news from it in the coming weeks.

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Fleet Industry Growth Ahead

This industry expert sees fleet as a successful but in-transition industry, and he expects a growth curve ahead.

VIDEO: Telematics and Electrification

  Telematics and EVs – Tracking the Data You Need

As you bring electric vehicles into your fleet, telematics can be a great way to provide the data and insights you need.

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.


eDriving Appoints Sarah Bechtold as Senior VP, Global Driver Risk Management

eDrivingSM, a Solera company, has appointed Sarah Bechtold as Senior Vice President, Global Driver Risk Management.

Sarah leverages her unique and robust background to bring our global driver safety solutions to new customers, and to partner with new and existing customers in the development of implementation strategies and plans to maximize the success of each risk management program deployment.

“With Sarah’s first-hand experience of the deployment and management of a successful global driver risk management program, her knowledge will be invaluable to our clients and prospective clients,” said Ed Dubens, CEO and Founder of eDriving.


Merchants Fleet Charges Forward with 2021 Fleet Summit

BrightDrop, Enel X, EVgo & Others Drive EV Industry with New Reveals and Development

Merchants Fleet hosted the 2021 Fleet Summit at the company’s New Hampshire headquarters where notable guests had the opportunity to immerse themselves in discussions and test drives featuring the industry’s most talked about electric vehicle technologies.

“In the months and weeks leading up to this year’s Fleet Summit, it has been abundantly clear that the fleet and transportation industries are at a sustainability tipping point, which made this gathering of the nation’s leading OEMs, charging infrastructures, upfit partners and industry disruptors imperative,” said Brendan P. Keegan, CEO of Merchants Fleet.


Best Practices from the 100 Best Fleets

Please join us in Phoenix, Arizona on October 7, 2021 from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM PDT REGISTER NOW!

Please join us in Phoenix, Arizona for “Best Practices from The 100 Best Fleets” presented by NAFA Fleet Management Association Arizona Chapter, 100Best Fleets, Sourcewell & the NC Clean Energy Technology Center.

Location: JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa — 5350 E Marriott Dr. Phoenix, AZ 85054

RVSP is essential! REGISTER NOW!


Webinar: Making a Business Case for Motor Pool: Strategies for a Smooth Launch and Pitfalls to Avoid

Your organization can save tens of thousands—even hundreds of thousands of dollars—by sharing vehicles, reducing unneeded vehicles, and automating fleet management processes.

But if you are just starting to plan your vehicle sharing program, how do you effectively communicate your plan to others? If you are faced with the task of “selling” the idea to upper management and other stakeholders, what evidence do you need to back up your plan and ensure successful buy-in?

Join Agile Fleet on the live webinar, “Making a Business Case for Motor Pool: Strategies for a Smooth Launch and Pitfalls to Avoid” this Wednesday, September 29 at 12 p.m. Eastern. Presented with NAFA Fleet Management Association, the fleet experts of Agile Fleet will show you how to:

The Next Normal

By Holly Hill, CAFS, Director of Business Development, FLD Remarketing

As just about anyone in the industry can attest to, the Covid pandemic has changed fleet in ways that none of us could ever have imagined.

From labor and chip shortages that have shuttered major automotive manufacturers, to supply chain stops and starts that have just about everyone searching for creative workarounds, the past 18 months have been unbelievably challenging.

So, with tempered expectations, I was anxious to attend this year’s NAFA I & E in Pittsburgh to see old friends and colleagues, exchange pandemic stories, and check in on folks I hadn’t seen in person since the NTEA conference in early March 2020.

As one might have expected, this year’s NAFA was unlike any I have ever attended over the last 20 plus years.



Negligent Entrustment

By Adam Danielson, Sales and Business Development Director, SuperVision

Liability associated to fleet-related crashes is the cause of budget-busting payouts and other less tangible headaches, such as damaged public perception.

The first in a 3 part series that examines real life liability cases that stemmed from fleets not properly monitoring their drivers.

On November 30th, 2000, a woman was tragically killed by a moving truck while walking in the common area of an apartment complex behind her home in Dallas. The truck was owned by a moving company, and operated by that company employee.

It was alleged in the ensuing wrongful death lawsuit that not only did the employee not have a commercial driver’s license, he also did not have training or experience in driving a vehicle of such size.



Managing During Change

Fleet Management Weekly Staff

While the business world has changed immensely since the COVID pandemic, best business practices have not.

Budget constraints, metrics-driven performance, customer experience, profitability … they all continue to define fleet operational performance.

The difference is the relative criticality of the different facets of fleet management. Supply chain has heightened attention. Vehicle lifecycle and replacement are getting much more attention. Asset management with the transition to EVs is another wrinkle, and there’s much more.

Managers could easily fall into a “chicken little” posture looking at a sky full of challenges raining down around them. Or, they could remember the best practices that still define a successful fleet operation.

ARI recently listed some of the steps necessary to keep from straying off the path that has always led to a successful fleet operation.



MIT Study: Tesla Drivers Using Autopilot Watch the Road Less

Car and Driver

A new study has now provided data on how drivers using Autopilot behave. The researchers created a model based on observations of driver eye focus before and after they disengaged Tesla’s Autopilot in 290 separate cases.

The study was released just before Tesla began distributing a Beta test of its long-ballyhooed and controversial Full Self Driving System (FSD) for Autopilot. Tesla plans to make the Beta version available only to drivers who have demonstrated good driving behavior as determined by Tesla’s remote real time measures, such as jack-rabbit starts, hard braking, and too-close following.

It’s not clear how FSD will actually monitor driver behavior from past implementations of Autopilot, which warned drivers if their hands were not on the steering wheel for too long.

Its conclusion is stark: When Autopilot was active, “drivers looked less on-road and focused more on non-driving related areas, compared to after the transition to manual driving.”

Read the article at Car and Driver.

This 2018 Invention Could Provide Inexpensive, Portable Flood Protection for Your Car


When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and ran up the Gulf Coast in 2017, Houston resident and engineer Rahel Abraham was one of those whose lives were blown into disarray by wind and high water. Floodwaters totaled her 2008 Infiniti G35 convincing her to work on a way to protect cars in disastrous weather.

The result is the ClimaGuard, a military-grade, waterproof, temporary protective enclosure. When folded, ClimaGuard is a 30-pound plastic tarp that fits in a compact duffle bag. One person can get a vehicle secured inside in about ten minutes in a simple process much like putting on a car cover.

Although designed for vehicles, the ClimaGuard will protect anything that can fit inside. Abraham says, “The compact car size could literally fit a living room … You could put two couches in there, a table, you could stack it up because the compact car size is about 14 feet.”

Read the article at Autoblog.

Electric Last Mile Solutions Poised to Be 1st to Market with Commercial Class 1 EV

The Detroit News

Electric Last Mile Solutions Inc., a commercial electric-vehicle startup, is poised to be first-to-market with a commercial Class 1 EV in the U.S.

It said it had received a binding purchase order for 1,000 units of the Urban Delivery from a distribution partner, Randy Marion Automotive Group. Shipments are expected to go out starting Sept. 28.

“From the outset, we stated that our goal was to deliver the first commercial Class 1 EV to the U.S. market, and with the start of production this week we will achieve that milestone,” ELMS CEO James Taylor said in a statement.

The Urban Delivery targets a range of about 125 miles and costs about $25,000 after an available federal rebate.

Read the article at The Detroit News.

California Will Require all Autonomous Vehicles to be Zero-Emission Starting in 2030

The Verge

Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill sponsored by environmental groups that would eventually prohibit gas- and hybrid-powered autonomous vehicles from operating in the state.

Some AV operators have argued that electric vehicles are a bad fit for self-driving cars because of the extended charging requirements.

In order to make a profit, autonomous vehicles need to maximize their time on the road, delivering people or packages, otherwise they’re likely to be a money-loser, they argue.

Read the article at The Verge.

Farley Moves Ford Along

The Car Gossip

It’s taken Jim Farley less than one year as Ford Motor Co. CEO to accomplish what his two immediate predecessors couldn’t over six: reverse the company’s long stock slide.

On Day 1, he appointed Ford lifer John Lawler CFO, replacing Amazon alumnus Tim Stone, as part of a modest executive shake-up and streamlining of operations. That same day, Farley unveiled a 10-point plan explaining his vision for the automaker to employees.

Since taking the helm, Farley has nearly tripled Ford’s investment in electric vehicles and decided to have the company make its own batteries, through a partnership with SK Innovation, rather than just buy them from suppliers as it previously had planned. He has reshaped Ford to emphasize commercial vehicles and technology development, elevating insiders to new roles and plucking talent from the likes of eBay and Apple.

Read the article at The Car Gossip.


Element’s 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.



The Chip Shortage

Car and Driver

The ongoing semiconductor chip shortage that’s affecting production of high-tech products around the world continues to make building new cars difficult for the automotive industry. Without a change, some experts say the chip shortage could last until late 2023.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which exercises DPA, calls it “the primary source of presidential authorities to expedite and expand the supply of materials and services from the U.S. industrial base needed to promote the national defense.”

In this case, according to Bloomberg, the president might invoke the DPA in order to ease some of the supply chain disruptions that have caused the industry to build millions fewer new vehicles than originally planned. The report comes after the White House held a second meeting with stakeholders—including Ford and General Motors, as well as two dozen other companies like Apple and Microsoft, The Washington Post reports—to discuss the chip shortage.

Read the article at Car and Driver.

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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