Transitioning from ICE to EV and autonomous vehicles — A glimpse behind the fleet industry curtain
In a recent interview, Janine Charlton, SVP and CTO of Merchants Fleet, discussed the company’s vision and impact of digital transformation on the fleet industry. Merchants Fleet provides Fleet Management and Fleet leasing solutions to large businesses, mid-sized companies, governments, educational institutions, and more for over 60 years. Their vision is to enable the movement of people, goods, and services freely and responsibly using collaborative approaches.
Janine stated that digital transformation in the fleet industry started years ago with incremental autonomy that automates driving, which improves driver safety and allows for more efficient fuel spending. Cruise control, lane sensor change sensors, and efficiency routing for GPS were the beginning of the transformation process. Electric vehicles (EVs) have propelled technology forward, and Janine anticipates that Fleet managers will continue to move towards managing driverless networks. She also believes that the infrastructure and insights needed to manage autonomous driverless networks are in development and the industry is just at the tip of the iceberg.
Janine shared that Merchants Fleet has a team of engineers and data scientists working specifically to build out the key operational capabilities required for managing driverless networks. However, the transition from ICE types of transportation to EVs is still early in the journey, and the company is spending a lot of time partnering with clients to understand the total cost of ownership, infrastructure, charging requirements, and the type of vehicle required to service respective clients. Janine believes that the acquisition and availability of vehicles play a crucial role in this transition.
Finally, Janine discussed the importance of maintenance in the industry. As the industry moves towards EVs, it will require different skill sets and expertise. Merchants Fleet is well-positioned to advise clients in the right way and drive safety across their entire fleet. Janine believes that staying close to the OEMs and having the right expertise to advise clients on this journey is crucial.
In conclusion, Merchants Fleet’s collaborative approach and vision to enable the movement of people, goods, and services freely and responsibly align with the industry’s digital transformation. Janine’s insights into the impact of digital transformation on the fleet industry and Merchants Fleet’s approach to helping clients navigate the transition to EVs and driverless networks show that they are well-positioned to lead the industry in the years to come.
This post was adapted with the assistance of ChatGPT, a large language model developed by OpenAI.