Report: Vehicle Fleet Operators Showing Confidence in EVs, Analytics, Telematics

Vehicle fleet decision-makers are showing increased confidence in market readiness for the adoption of new and emerging technologies, according to the Fleet Advisory Hub report issued by Escalent, a human behavior and analytics firm in Livonia.
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A report by Escalent shows vehicle fleet decision-makers increasing in confidence about the adoption of new and emerging technologies. // Stock photo

Vehicle fleet decision-makers are showing increased confidence in market readiness for the adoption of new and emerging technologies, according to the Fleet Advisory Hub report issued by Escalent, a human behavior and analytics firm in Livonia.

Fleet Advisory Hub is Escalent’s commercial and fleet vehicle data solution. The results reported come from the company’s 2020 fourth-quarter report on the adoption of new technologies in the fleet industry. Respondents comprise a subset of commercial and fleet vehicle decision-makers drawn from its Fleet Advisory Hub users.

Compared to 2020 results, fleet operators say they are more inclined than ever to adopt technologies like data analytics, battery electric vehicles, telematics services, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, drones, mobility services, and blockchain.

“Fleet leaders continued to explore and incorporate new technologies into their operations in spite of incredible headwinds during 2020,” says Michael Schmall, vice president of automotive and mobility at Escalent. “As business returns to some normalcy in 2021, decision-makers see great opportunities to invest in fleet modernization in order to increase long-term profitability.”

Fleet operators, according to the report, are bullish on three key technologies, each of which are expected to reach significant penetration within the next three years:

  • Battery electric vehicles: 16 percent have adopted and 44 percent are considering.
  • Data analytics: 24 percent have adopted and 35 percent are considering.
  • Telematics: 17 percent have adopted and 33 percent are considering.

In the 2021 report, 30 percent more fleet operators said they are likely to invest in EVs in the next three years. Twenty-eight percent more said they would deploy analytics and 21 percent more said they would seriously explore telematics.

According to Escalent, as these tech-centric products and services spread further within the market, an increasing number of decision-makers are likely to join this trend in search of lower total cost of ownership and better margins.

Product manufacturers and service providers, Escalent says, will play a significant role in sustaining this momentum.

Vehicle manufacturers need to internalize the paradigm shift of driving revenue by offering services as an extension and enhancement to vehicle features and content, according to Escalent. Both product manufacturers and service providers will need to become collaborative partners with their fleet customers — using their distribution channels to offer technology education and training, provide low-risk pilot test opportunities, and maintain open-door customer feedback mechanisms.

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