Managing technology change and uncertainty about roll-out out of low carbon technologies are the biggest challenges facing fleet operators and manufacturers, according to industry leaders at an annual fleet industry event, organised and hosted by connected vehicle tech company, Connexas.
Among the guest speakers at the Fleet Summit 2019, was Glenn Saint, Chief of Commercial Vehicles at Arrival and Chairman of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) Commercial Vehicle Committee. Addressing an audience of more than 200 transport professionals Glenn stated:
“The biggest challenge operators and manufacturers face is ‘choice’ and not knowing the direction the market will take in the future. Will vehicles be hydrogen-powered, all-electric or will the fuel of choice for cars, vans and trucks be biomethane?
He went on to say “Operators must stay up to date with the latest technological solutions when planning to replace their diesel-engine vehicles. No one wants to invest in technologies that could be obsolete a few years later, before they have had a chance to recoup the value of their investment.”
Other speakers at the event also included Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels on ‘Biomethane as a sustainable fuel for HGVs’, Guy Barbor, Business Development Director of Predina on the ‘use of AI to select safe routes’, Tony Stapleton, Head of Fleet at Continental on the ’Intelligent tyre’ and John Stuart, CEO of Fuell, on the ‘use of wearables to improve driver health and well-being’.
Andrew Overton, CEO of Connexas, speaking as part of a panel discussion at the event, added: “Society is changing, and the industry is changing with it. Some of our haulier customers are demonstrating their agility by introducing e-commerce fleets to service growing demand for faster, more reliable home deliveries. They are keeping a close eye on technological advances in areas such as predictive telematics and job management systems to give them a competitive edge.”
There was a consensus among the panel members that government grants to support operators in switching to greener fleets are a thing of the past and tech companies are stepping up to deliver better, more cost-effective solutions.
“For operators, there is no point in sitting back and waiting for the next grant cycle. The absence of funding is providing the stimulus needed for the industry to change the economics of greener transport solutions and develop more viable alternatives. Tech companies have a key role to play in providing the industry with better products,” added Glenn Saint.
Jim Sumner, Group Chairman commented, “I’d like to thank all the attendees, exhibitors, speakers and Connexas’ staff for making this such a successful Summit once again. It was also a great opportunity to announce our recent UK business tech award short-listing for mid-sized tech company of the year.”