Fleet Management North America: Technology to deliver Efficiency
New technologies have the power to revolutionise the vehicle fleet sector in North America.
Cutting edge technologies are gaining momentum in the United States fleet arena. Telematics, autonomous driving systems and new mobility concepts are all developing rapidly as vehicle manufacturers move to deliver more efficient transport solutions for fleet and private customers.
Mounting U.S. and global demand for zero emission vehicles has seen Ford commit to invest $4.5 billion in electrified vehicles by 2020, with 13 new models due.
“These include hybrid versions of the industry-leading F150 & Mustang in the U.S., and a fully electric SUV with expected range of at least 300 miles for customers globally,” said Doug Walczak, Ford’s global business development director.
In April, Ford unveiled an all-new Ford Police Responder hybrid car, with full pursuit capabilities.
Doug Walczak added that the manufacturer is also introducing new technologies to its vehicles, “including those that support telematics solutions that can help fleets improve efficiency and reduce costs.”
Increasing mobility awareness
Looking to the longer term, Ford is fully engaged in developing a high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle. The manufacturer tripled the size of its test fleet of autonomous Fusion Hybrid cars from 10 to 30 vehicles last year, and is looking to do the same again this year, increasing its fleet of self-driving cars to 90, as it aims to have an autonomous vehicle in commercial operation by 2021. The ‘car’ will be used for commercial mobility services such as ride sharing and ride hailing, and is unlikely to have a steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedal.
“As we expand to be an auto and a mobility company, we’re not moving from an ‘old’ business to a ‘new’ business. We’re moving to a bigger business,” said Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford. “The world is moving from simply owning vehicles to owning and sharing them. That’s why we are expanding to sell more vehicles and provide transportation services at the same time.”
General Motors launched its own car sharing service, called Maven, last year, tasked with the mission of delivering personalised, on-demand mobility services. Maven has since expanded across 17 cities in North America and its fleet has covered more than 125 million miles in hourly hires and daily rental.
“There is an increased awareness of mobility management in the U.S. and Canada,” said Steve Higgs, manager, global and North American regional fleet development. “GM is fully engaging with this mobility solution strategy with its Maven Pro [for corporate customers] mobility product.”
GM is also investing $500 million in Lyft, an Uber-rival, to help it continue the rapid growth of its ridesharing service; and GM’s Express Drive offers Lyft drivers access to GM cars at highly competitive weekly rental rates.
“We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous,” said Dan Ammann, president of GM.
| 17/05/2017 | Jonathan Manning