Editor's choice
7 Dec 21

J. Kamanns (Boehringer Ingelheim) and T. Mijas (Genentech) evaluate North America fleet industry

Home to more than 300 million vehicles (just over 100mn cars), North America boasts just under one vehicle per person, and approximately one in 10 of these represent fleet. 

In this combined Case Study, Global Fleet was fortunate enough to speak with two key fleet experts in the region, addressing topics such as the implementation of electric vehicles (EV), the impacts of the global microchip shortage, and the overall view of the vehicle leasing industry in the United States and Canada as we make our way into 2022. 

They are Jonathan Kamanns who is Associate Director for Fleet & Driver Safety for pharmaceuticals company Boehringer Ingelheim and Tania Mijas who is Senior Category Lead for Travel & Fleet in the Americas for biotechnology firm Genentech.

Company

Boehringer Ingelheim

Name

Jonathan Kamanns

Job Position

Associate Director for Fleet & Driver Safety

No. of Vehicles managed
(USA & Canada)

3,480

Fleet Profile

90% work (tool) vehicles
10% benefit vehicles


The model of Fleet Management and Leasing Companies is changing at a fast pace. While the focus was more on maintenance and fueling as well as providing vehicle registration and tolling support in the past, the growth of Big-Data today is calling for the need to leverage this data and to help customers make better decisions.

“Connectivity impacts mobility decisions and, in turn, business efficiency. Leveraging of data can help by developing proactive maintenance schedules, providing automated downtime warnings, maximizing asset utilization against productivity, among others” says Mr. Kamanns.

Innovation is needed as technology evolves so Fleet Management and Leasing Companies need to prepare themselves accordingly. To meet the needs of their clients, they need to provide a full range of mobility solutions all while focusing on sustainability.
 

Company

Hoffmann La Roche – Genentech

Name

Tania Mijas

Job Position

Senior Category Lead (Travel, Fleet) Americas

No. of Vehicles managed
(USA & Canada)

Approx. 1,500

Fleet Profile

Take home fleet: Commercial (field workers)
Onsite fleet: Utility, operations vehicles
Commuter fleet: Employee transportation in the San Francisco area

 

“Some of the mobility solutions needed include providing at-home charging solutions for EVs, integrated sustainability reporting, and supporting alternative transportation modes such as transit passes or rideshare,” says Ms. Mijas, explaining that these are already in play, but these services still need to be perfected and integrated seamlessly with clients.

Electric Vehicles, viable?
 
In North America, many drivers traverse across large territories. It is this, coupled with the lack of public charging infrastructure in many areas, which can create problems. 

Under the right circumstances, however, both fleet experts feel that electric vehicles can be an option as we dive into 2022. While using PHEVs (plug-in electric hybrid) could be more viable, BEVs (battery electric vehicles) or to say 100% Electric could be a bit more challenging. 

Besides the initial cost of EVs still quite a bit higher than ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles, using EVs often requires modifying homes with the proper electrical infrastructure. 

Moreover, much data collection is needed, according to Mr. Kamanns. “For instance, you need data to assess benefits, to review IRS compliance issues (fuel & mileage), and to accurately distinguish between commercial and personal vehicle charging,” says the executive, explaining that his company is planning to have 30% of its fleet full-electric by 2030.

“Among the challenges to keep in mind are drivers located in residences without a dedicated parking spot or those with shared electric meters. Moreover, some drivers require larger vehicles due to ergonomic or medical requirements and the market doesn't have much to offer in terms of larger full-electric models yet,” adds Ms. Mijas. 

Impacts of Microchip Shortage

Besides longer lead times for vehicle acquisitions from OEMs, there are limited vehicle options, says Ms. Mijas, who also mentioned that the lack of EV charger units in the market is hindering her plans for electrification. 

Today, fleet managers must plan further ahead (6-12 months) when it comes to replacing their vehicles.
  
With that said, vehicles are more expensive. Although this helps with down-streaming or to say remarketing, it is not good if you commonly sell your vehicles back to employees at a discounted rate. 

According to Mr. Kamanns, we can also say that the lack in vehicle supply coupled with the continued demand has change the way OEMs service the fleet industry. Auto manufacturers are giving less discounts to fleet today so to focus more on higher profit B2C sales. 

“There was a time not too long ago that manufacturers looked to Fleet to keep the light on, their employees employed, and the lines running but things have changed. In 2022, I hope that suppliers begin to look at Fleets as strategic partners to their growth once again,” says Mr. Kamanns.

For more insight on Fleet Management, register now (for free) for the next Smart Mobility Institute session "How to make subscription-based mobility work". It takes place Thursday (9 December). For Buyers Only

Photos of Jonathan Kamanns and Tania Mijas (source: handouts)

Authored by: Daniel Bland
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