2020 Trends in Fleet: Electric Vehicles, Smart Cities, New Regulations, and More

January 17, 2020

From smarter dash cams to more telematics features for electric vehicles, fleet managers can expect a lot of change as new technology emerges in the coming decade. 

For fleet managers interested in how the latest in tech can help their fleet become more safe, efficient, and compliant, we’ve highlighted some of the biggest trends coming in the new year. Read along to see what’s in store for 2020 so you can plan ahead and stay in the know.  

Fleets turn to telematics to provide high-quality customer service

Fleets are increasingly turning to telematics to help improve their customer service. In order to meet the growing needs of their customers in the age of Amazon and 2-day shipping, fleets are now expected to provide real-time ETAs to their customers and citizens. 

To do this, fleets will start looking for tools within their telematics systems that automate the way they provide ETAs to customers. At Samsara, we’ve seen broad adoption of our Live Sharing feature, which allows customers to track shipments and ETAs in real time.

More safety-focused regulations are coming

The FMCSA is rolling out new entry-level driver training (ELDT) regulations that will teach drivers and instructors how to reduce road fatalities and accidents. 

Despite a recent decline in U.S. auto accident-related deaths, over 36,000 people still die on American roads every year. Aside from drunk driving, distracted driving and speeding continue to be leading causes of auto-related fatalities. 

The new ELDT final rule will take effect on February 20, 2020 and applies to both private and publicly-funded CDL training facilities. Prepare to see more information from the FMCSA on this topic and more throughout the year. 

Looking back, 2019 was a big year for federal regulatory updates. And because the federal government has already begun to announce more regulations for 2020 it’s important for fleet managers to stay knowledgeable in order to remain compliant. Each of these changes will have big effects on the transportation industry this year, so we rounded up a few of the most important updates from the last year for you here: 

Expect new environmental regulations

In addition to safety regulations, you can expect to see environmental regulations rolling out this year that will go into effect in 2021. For instance, the federal government is poised to announce regulations around the transportation of chemicals for local, regional, and cross-country routes in order to prevent future spills and pollution. 

Furthermore, the EPA is considering new federal regulations to curb heavy-duty truck emissions and create a “50-state program” to standardize emissions standards across the Nation. The main focus of these regulations is to cut down on the output of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and other air pollutants, caused by behavior such as excessive idling. 

Though many of these regulations will affect heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers, light-duty vehicles and passenger cars can expect more regulations on fuel usage and idling from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this coming year. 

To get ahead and lessen the blow of these upcoming regulations, fleets can easily start tracking idle time and fuel usage today. How can you do this? Make sure your telematics system has robust tracking, alerting, and reporting capabilities so you can monitor and reduce idling and fuel consumption over time. With these tools, The City of Fort Lauderdale was able to reduce idle time by 20% and decrease fuel consumption by 5%—which equates to 28,000 gallons in fuel savings. 

Fleets will add more electric vehicles

Environmental benefits coupled with cost savings make EVs a smart investment for organizations looking to grow their fleets this year. In fact, the International Council on Clean Transportation has reported that in just two short years the cost of ownership of an EV will be on-par with that of gas-powered vehicles. This lower barrier to entry for EV ownership opens up big opportunities for cost savings in the future. 

This means that your organization could see some significant savings by introducing EVs into your fleet when it comes to reducing fuel usage and engine maintenance costs. Additionally, over the next decade fleets can expect to see more government legislation regarding the adoption of electric and zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) in order to curb CO2 emissions across the country.   

As the market for EVs grows, so will the market for EV-specific features in telematics. Features such as state-of-charge and routing between charging stations will be critical for fleets with EVs in the coming decade.

Smart city technology will rise and cities will become safer

According to the United Nations, nearly 2.5 billion more people will live in urban areas by 2050. This influx of urbanization will have several implications for cities, but transportation will be at the forefront of infrastructure improvements in 2020. 

As city populations rise, cities will begin to implement smart city technologies —such as congestion sensors and smart streetlights—to get insights to help reduce idling time, improve traffic, and decrease the frequency of accidents. 

What does this mean for fleets? Municipal fleets will begin to modernize their vehicles with real-time GPS tracking and dash cams in order to improve the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of their operations. 

Meanwhile, fleets of all kinds will benefit from safer roads and reduced traffic due to increased smart technology within cities. When typically-congested cities have less traffic, private and municipal fleets will be able to reduce trip times and save on fuel costs—all while reducing their carbon emissions. 

Cities have already begun to introduce this technology in their fleets. Learn more from the City of Fort Lauderdale and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

Artificial intelligence will improve fleet safety and automation

Though artificial intelligence (AI) technology is not new, its impact on the fleet industry is just beginning to take off. 

As AI continues to integrate with fleet technology, it's become easier for fleets to monitor and reduce unsafe driving behavior with AI dash cams and telematics. By leveraging computer vision, AI dash cams allow fleet managers to detect near-misses, road signs, and high-risk distracted driver behavior. Not only do these insights help fleet managers reduce risk, but they can even help them save on insurance premiums.

In addition, as fleets grow in size, many fleet managers are using AI’s processing power to reduce manual processes and save back office hours. By automating their manual processes, fleets are able to reinvest their time into other critical tasks and projects, such as driver training. 

Learn more about how AI dash cams can help your fleet.

No matter what the new decade brings for your fleet, Samsara is your partner and will continue to cover the topics that matter to you. 

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