January 11, 2022

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Looking Ahead

FLD’s Bill Bishop looks back and looks forward to let us know that from a remarketing perspective, the fleet industry “can expect to face many of the same challenges it has the past two years,” and that there’s a little bit of “Groundhog Day” thrown in.

We also reprise a much-read article from PARS’ Teri Ross with some smart words of caution about how Not All Transportation Quotes Are Created Equal. In today’s inflationary climate it’s an especially timely read.

Are You Marketing to Fleet Professionals?
If the answer is yes, Fleet Management Weekly has effective and affordable options to help you reach fleet decisionmakers this year. Email me at ted@fleetmanagementweekly.com to ask for a proposal and/or set up a quick meeting to learn more.

Ted Roberts

VIDEO: ChargePoint Makes Electrification Easy

The transition to EVs is on, but the reality is that most fleets are going to be mixed fuel for some time. It’s good to know that ChargePoint makes EV charging easy.

VIDEO: Residual Values

  Good Advice on Residual Values

A few words of advice on residual values for fleet managers and FMCs: don’t let your balance sheet get tied up with potential downside risk.

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 of 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.


ALD to Acquire LeasePlan for $5.5 Billion

NewALD will be led by ALD’s Tim Albertsen as CEO

The transaction is expected to close at the end of 2022 and will create a combined firm, dubbed ‘NewALD’, that will be a leading global player in mobility worldwide and will “embrace the mobility sector’s global growth megatrends”.

The combined business will be led by ALD CEO Tim Albertsen and will be key in moving the auto sector from ownership to usership models and zero-emission vehicles, according to the firms. It will also continue to accelerate towards data-driven digital transformation of the mobility industry.


NAFA 100 Best Fleets Competition is Open for Applications

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There is no better way to benchmark your operations and practices than by applying in competition with the best public fleets, encouraging the ever-increasing levels of performance improvement and innovation within the fleet industry.

This is your opportunity to foster pride in your workplace and receive industry-wide acknowledgement for your fleet practices.

Applications are due by February 11, 2022

Learn More and Begin Your Application Today

Idle Time: US Drivers Waste $21 Billion Per Year While Going Nowhere

January 8, 2022  – The first step toward changing drivers’ behavior is making them understand how much fuel a running car or truck is using, even when it’s not moving.

Make some simple changes, including avoiding drive-thru windows and drive-up ATMs and shutting a vehicle down while it’s in an automated car wash. Turning engines off and on – even diesels – does no harm, and starters and batteries are much more durable now than they were in the past.

“Even on the coldest days, most manufacturers recommend avoiding idling and driving off gently after running the vehicle for about 30 seconds,” the energy department advises. “Not only will the engine warm up faster by being ‘at work,’ but the car’s interior will warm up more quickly as well.”

via Winston-Salem Journal

Blink Charging Launches New EV Charging Products for Fleets at CES

With seven new products spanning home, fleet, multifamily, and retail charging, Blink is providing the industry’s only complete, end-to-end solution for the EV ecosystem and addressing critical EV charging infrastructure needs

Blink Charging Co. launched seven new products at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), an unprecedented achievement in the company’s 13-year history.

The new products include the MQ 200, HQ 200 (Smart and Basic models), Vision IQ 200, and 50kW DC Fast Charger, which offer next-generation EV charging technology across the EV ecosystem, including home, fleet, multifamily, and retail.



By Bill Bishop, FLD Remarketing

Nearly 30 years ago, the comedian Bill Murray starred in a movie that would become part of the national lexicon. “Groundhog Day,” was the story of a cynical weatherman who kept living the same day over and over until he sees a way of using it to his advantage.

And while our industry might not be reliving the exact same day over and over, a look back at 2021 – and a look ahead to 2022 – gives me one over-riding thought: That fleet, especially from a remarketing perspective, can expect to face many of the same challenges it has the past two years. And that unless something unforeseen happens to change that trajectory, 2022 is shaping up to be quite similar to 2021.

Like most, I had high hopes that 2021 would be markedly different from 2020. And with a new vaccine on the horizon, and nearly a full year of restrictions behind us – why not?



Vehicle Transport

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in FMW in March, 2021, but as fleet costs continue their upward climb, it is even more compelling today.

By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

“Not all transportation quotes are created equal.” That’s the cautionary message from Teri Ross, vice president of sales and client relations for PARS.

“Quotes for transport services may seem like a simple matter of specifying the cost for moving a vehicle from point A to point B,” says Teri.

“Transport company quotes are not the same and can result in ‘apples to oranges’ comparisons that astute fleet managers must drill into to discover the real cost. Otherwise, an unaware fleet manager will find unexpected charges on the invoice,” she notes.

“At first blush, a quote from one vendor may look to be $20 more expensive than another, leading to a decision to go with the cheaper quote,” Teri explains. “Once the invoice arrives, fuel costs can be $60, $80, even $100 more than the original quote depending on the distance.”



A Warning from Ford

By Mike Sheldrick, Senior Editor

Fleet managers who might be tempted to order an out-of-stock unreserved 2022 F-150 Lightning are likely to be disappointed.

To tamp down overwhelming demand, Ford has stopped taking reservations for the vehicle and doubled initial production by 150,000 annually by mid-2023. More recently, it has made moves to end F-150 Lightning scalping among customers and dealers even before the truck’s first deliveries — likely by late June.

According to an article in Insideevs.com, Ford has warned dealers who interact with customers in a manner that is “negatively impacting customer satisfaction and damaging to the Ford Motor Company brand,” and that “if it is determined that your dealership is engaging in such practices, Ford Motor Company reserves the right to redirect that dealership’s allocation of the F-150 Lightning for the entirety of MY 2022.”



New And Used Car Prices Keep Climbing. Don’t Expect Relief Anytime Soon

January 8, 2022An ongoing global shortage of microchips – key components needed for today’s autos to operate – that began in 2020 continues to slow down manufacturers’ production of new vehicles, which has translated into demand outpacing supply.

Part of the reason for record transaction prices is that automakers have slashed their discounts because, generally speaking, they don’t need to offer big incentives to sell cars right now.

If you have flexibility in the timing of your purchase and are not finding what you want on dealer lots, it may be worth ordering your car. Additionally, interest rates are generally low right now. The demand for used cars has pushed trade-in values well above normal. You may be able to negotiate on the value assigned to your trade-in.

via CNBC

EV Charging Companies Push Faster At-Home Charges, V2G and Connectivity at CES

January 9, 2022 – With dozens of electric passenger cars and commercial fleets expected to hit the market in just a few years, EVs are pushing into the mainstream. 

Charging companies and smaller startups pitched products that were faster, more connected, easier to use, easy to install and built to work with the electrical grid. EV charging companies revealed products designed from commercial fleet charging to at-home charging, from vehicle-to-grid tech to monetizing advertising space on chargers.

With the global EV charger market expected to grow from $3.23 billion in 2020 to nearly $11 billion in 2025, the industry still has space for new entrants before it consolidates around a few giants, many of whom did not grace CES with demos or news.

via Autoblog

How ‘Feature Bloat’ is Driving the Chip Shortage

January 9, 2022What if the auto industry’s best solution to the chip shortage was not simply making more chips? Suppose we instead got a handle on what might be called “feature bloat”  – the tendency, fueled by sales competition, to slather new cars with as much technology as possible?

The bad news for consumers: the feature bloat is unavoidable and getting worse. Given the chip shortage, tech expectations are not likely to be met.

“It’s more feature bloat than software bloat,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst for e-mobility at Guidehouse Insights. “The software is only there to make all the features work, and do we really need 30-way power adjustable seats with five massage-pattern options? Or sequential taillights, multi-zone automatic climate control and audio systems with concert hall and studio settings? The insatiable desire to one-up the competition is what’s driving this.”

via TechCrunch

You May Be Able to Own a Self-Driving Car After All

January 8, 2022For years, automakers have told a specific story about how self-driving cars would arrive in the world. They would be shared and electric, fleets of ride-hail vehicles shuttling passengers like fancy taxis.

Now, almost a decade into the self-driving experiment, the future looks more complicated. Progress on AVs has slowed and that has the companies looking for other ways to make money off self-driving tech.

“The easiest way to actually make money from autonomy is to offer it as a feature for the consumer market,” says Mike Ramsey, an automotive analyst with Gartner.

Meanwhile, cameras and sensors like lidar have gotten cheaper. The result: Some players are shifting, subtly, to a new business strategy—selling automated features directly to consumers.

via Wired

Record Sales

January 6, 2022 – Pure electric cars are making all the headlines, but their gasoline-electric hybrid rivals quietly achieved record sales in the United States last year, industry data showed.

U.S. sales of hybrid vehicle sales jumped 76% to 801,550 vehicles last year, accounting for 5% of U.S. light vehicle sales, according to data from analytics firm Wards Intelligence. Sales of EVs also jumped 83% to 434,879, but represented a meager 3% of the market.

Pure EVs run only on electricity and require charging infrastructure, while hybrid EVs combine a conventional combustion engine with an electric propulsion system. “Hybrids offer a really intriguing mix of fuel economy performance without some of the huge drawbacks that electric vehicles present,” Brett Smith, technology director at Center for Automotive Research, said.

via Reuters


Collaborating on EVs

By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

Fleet Management Weekly had the opportunity to conduct interviews with Avninder Buttar, Vice President, Strategy at Element Fleet Management; Hannah Young, Director, Global Fleet Strategy at WEX; and Rich Mohr, Vice President, Fleet Solutions at ChargePoint – to hear their thoughts on the companies’ recently announced collaboration intended to enhance the transition to electric vehicles for fleets.

Buttar estimates that while EVs are only 1% of the total number of commercial fleet vehicles in operation today, by 2026, EVs might account for as much as 50% of light vehicle sales. This dramatic change will, in turn, create a range of issues for fleet managers.

These include access to public charging stations, as well as liquid stations for mixed fleets; evaluating plans for charging at customers locations, and creating analytics to measure performance, cost, and other metrics.



Crash-Free Culture

By Paul Atchley, PhD, eDriving’s Brain Science Advisor

Firstly, in a bit of good news for the coming year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has indicated that it will examine why Tesla drivers can play video games on their cars’ center consoles while driving!!

As drivers (and the public) discovered after a recent car software update, they can now initiate playing an arcade-style shooter, solitaire or a strategy game on their car’s center display while driving their Tesla, provided they indicate they are the passenger. If that sounds distracting, it’s because IT IS – even if it is truly the passenger tap-tapping on a display that is intended to help the driver drive safely. I’m pleased that the federal safety folks are looking into it!!

From research conducted in my lab at the University of Florida we know that drivers are more willing to rate a technology as “safe”, and to use it while driving, if it is built into the car. Drivers appear to assume that car design is highly regulated and tested for safety.


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