June 22, 2023

How Fleet Managers Can Stay Ahead of the Ever-Evolving Automotive Industry

6 Min. Read

Staying ahead of fleet management trends has never been more important for fleet managers, as electrification and automotive technologies continue to grow rapidly through 2035 and beyond.

Not all trends will be positive, so fleet managers must stay informed and up-to-date with this evolving technology. Common challenges may arise with various aspects of procurement, labor, and fuel.

Electric vehicle (EV) adoption, cabin technologies, safety procedures, and remote fleet management technology are among the up-and-coming positive trends. Fleet managers must embrace the positive trends while simultaneously understanding and mitigating any challenges that may arise. Here’s what you need to know to stay ahead.

Safety Regulations and Procedures

A major advancement in continuing fleet management trends since 2021 is telematics, which provide fleet managers with a method to track vehicles and give real-time updates and insights to protect companies and their drivers.

Determining driving patterns and risk factors associated with drivers allows employers to provide valuable coaching opportunities, especially as fleets reported an average of 4.5 accidents per driver per year, according to a 2022 report by GPS Insight.

In order to decrease the rate of those costly incidents, fleet managers are regularly implementing technologies such as dashcams to track whether employees are distracted while driving.

Identifying distracted driver habits, such as cell phone usage, gives fleet managers insight into whether safe driving mode on drivers’ cell phones needs to be enabled to disable certain functions while driving or if other precautionary steps should be taken to improve driver safety.

Improvements in Transportation Technology

Technology will help fleet drivers, companies, and passengers in unique and unexpected ways.

Fleet managers will be able to install devices in cabs and company cars to track metrics on anything from seatbelt use to speeding. Depending on those statistics, managers can adjust safety standards and improve and enhance their employee metrics and satisfaction. Cabin temperature, air purification technology, and massagers can even aid drivers by reducing stress and tension and improving circulation, making them a remarkable asset for fleet managers and drivers.

GPS allows fleet managers to plan the fastest routes, avoid road hazards and closures through real-time updates, and track average time on planned routes. Drivers are able to prepare their routes better and reduce idle time, while fleet managers can track and make sure that employees are staying on course to maximize ROI, optimize vehicle range, and strengthen accountability.

Vehicles can be equipped with governors to regulate speed. Combined with GPS technologies, vehicle speeds can be regulated not to exceed the speed limits. Inclement weather may change road conditions and associated speeds, further protecting your fleet and drivers from road hazards as a result of weather conditions. This enables fleet managers to ensure that drivers are not exceeding those adjusted speeds. Not only is this beneficial for safety, but can also be used to track fuel metrics and be appropriately adjusted to maximize fuel economy.

5G technology rollouts are further improving the speed of communication between fleet drivers and managers. Telematic communication speeds are significantly improved, even in situations with inclement weather conditions. These improvements increase 5G-compatible equipment reliability across the board. In 2023, more and more companies are expected to adapt and incorporate these technologies.

EV Fleet Management Trends To Follow

The Inflation Reduction Act is incentivizing more and more fleet managers to make the conversion to EV fleets. EV management software and charging infrastructure trends are critical to follow and understand.

The Need for Charging Stations

Current predictions indicate that the number of EVs on the road is set to rise exponentially by 2035, necessitating a significant increase in the availability of charging stations. To effectively overcome the challenge of reliable and cost-effective charging, fleet operators should consider implementing EV charging management software and installing charging stations in the homes of their fleet drivers.

Currently, fuel costs and a shift toward sustainability are driving factors for the rise in EV adoption, but electric vehicles provide a solution that can increase profits, improve performance, and drive companies into a more resilient and environmentally-conscious future.

By harnessing the capabilities of EV charging management software, fleet managers can strategically schedule charging sessions during off-peak hours when utility rates are lower, effectively reducing fuel costs. Additionally, the ability to connect multiple EVs to a single charging station and remotely control the charging duration and timing allows for enhanced efficiency and flexibility. You can also consider the installation of smart EV charging stations in the homes of your fleet drivers, as the majority of charging occurs overnight, and having your employees begin their routes in varied locations can improve the range of your operations and increase the driving time of your employees. Installing smart chargers will allow for scheduled charging and can assist in generating metrics to understand the needs of your fleet vehicles better.

A Level 1 charging station will likely be insufficient for your needs, with only 2-5 miles of range added per hour of charging, while a Level 3 charging station offers charging in as little as 30 minutes to an hour but can lead to increased battery degradation with frequent use. Typically, Level 2 charging is preferred and recommended by most automakers as it is sufficient for everyday use with a charging speed of 4-10 hours and is convenient for home and commercial applications.

Remember, the percentage to which EVs charge mitigates battery degradation. Take the time to learn about optimal charging percentages and levels of charging stations for battery health.

Infrastructure, Supply Chain, and Fleet Labor Trends

You should also monitor trends as EV charging infrastructure grows. Driving routes, especially for light-duty EVs, often require dwell times to DC fast charge the battery between routes, but overnight Level 2 charging can save your drivers time and your company money. Fleet managers who consistently utilize on-site charging should be aware of procurement trends, as optimal routes may change, reducing convenient charging opportunities.

Since the start of the pandemic, supply chain issues have persistently plagued businesses. Fleet managers should carefully consider these trends to prevent potential problems that could lead to using older, unreliable vehicles. Such issues exacerbate the problem and further impede the procurement capabilities of the supply chain.

Light-duty fleet managers should also consider updating old processes and using EV apps or tech that help track vehicles, streamline maintenance, and adhere to data reporting and budgets.

Counteracting the Challenges

All fleet managers should consider the future of mobility as they plan ahead, and learning the latest trends and newest technology. Becoming an expert on those technologies is vital as they become more commonplace. When looking at EVs and converting the whole fleet to electric, fleet managers do not need to figure out the best technologies for their fleet alone. Many of the challenges of transitioning to an electric fleet and implementing comprehensive charging solutions can be mitigated with the proper partnership. Qmerit is that partner.

Having a partner that has in-depth knowledge and insight into the world of electrification can ease the stresses of transitioning, and fleet managers can rest easy knowing that Qmerit has top-of-the-line procurement partnerships to ensure that every step of the installation process goes off without a hitch.

With over 269,000 EV charging station installations, customized turn-key installation solutions designed to meet your business needs and preferences, and the largest network of certified electricians across the U.S. and Canada, Qmerit is the most trusted and experienced electrification partner in North America. Whether you’re considering @Home EV charging for fleet drivers or adding commercial infrastructure, Qmerit will work with you to determing a charging solution that meets your needs. Contact Qmerit today and build your fleet for the future.

Author: Ken Sapp Ken Sapp Senior Vice President, Business Development and eMobility