How will the cars of the future change your fleet?

Monday, October 6, 2014 - 11:30
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Jaguar’s Virtual Windscreen

In the latest article from Alternative Route Finance, Nickie Brooks, Managing Director, looks at the potential impact technology could have on fleets

The car industry is currently evolving at an amazing rate. With more future development being planned regularly, I’ve been looking at what these advancements could mean for fleet managers. Would your company be open to changing their fleet if and when these new technologies are open to a wider market?

Augmented reality

Augmented reality acts as an interactive virtual display. Companies such as Jaguar are already emerging as the front runners with their Virtual Windscreen, with features including:

  • Creating a head-up display, that shows the speed dial right in front of you
  • Virtual lines on the road to display the optimal track route
  • Those same lines will change colour to show the perfect breaking times, helping with any tricky turns
  • Virtual cones to navigate around, which could benefit any learner/new drivers
  • Finally, a virtual ‘ghost car’ that you can race on a track day, similar to a video game.

So what does this mean for your fleet? While augmented reality has been designed to aid drivers, the true result could actually see people paying less attention to the road. However the main problem is the implications with the Corporate Manslaughter Act. If a driver was in an accident while using augmented reality, who would be to blame? It’s a potential legislative nightmare.

Electric cars

With the recent release of the BMW i3, it’s easy to see that more manufacturers are taking electric cars seriously. But would there be any implications with using just electric cars for your fleet?

The benefits of electric cars are well documented. According to the Electric Vehicle Association of Canada, using electric cars means you’re able to cut CO2 emissions to less than one percent.

As well as them being a cleaner source of energy, it would also cost less to get you from A to B. Owners of electric cars are free from paying car tax, also fuel costs can be as low as 3p per mile. As such, the low running costs of electric cars make them fantastic options for your fleet.

However what would happen if electric cars did become the norm? Do we have the infrastructure to pull it off? The major disadvantage of electric cars is the time it takes to recharge the battery, putting the car out of use for several hours before it can be used again. The solution to this is charging your car overnight. Although trying to recharge thousands of cars at the same time would also cause a big problem for the electrical grid.

These developments provide an exciting future for the car industry. Hopefully it’ll just be a matter of time before these potential problems are ironed out and futuristic cars can be seen in every driveway.

Are there any other developments that you think will impact our industry? Let us know in the comments below.

Nickie Brooks is the Managing Director of Alternative Route Finance, a leading provider of car leasing, van leasing and fleet management solutions. She has spent her entire career in the motor and finance industries

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