The Fleet of the Future Is Right Around the Corner—Complete with Connected and Electric Vehicles

March 24, 2021

Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm, today unveiled the 2021 Fleet Technology Index, the latest study released from Fleet Advisory Hub™, the company’s commercial and fleet vehicle data solution. The report provides a look at fleet decision-maker sentiments and adoption plans for an array of technologies that, taken together, forecast the future of the fleet industry.

Despite a majority of fleet decision-makers facing reduced business levels in the wake of COVID-19, the effects of the pandemic have done little to slow the consideration and adoption of mobility technologies. Further, fleet decision-makers show an increased confidence in market readiness for adoption of new and emerging technologies this year compared with 2020, including data analytics, battery electric vehicles (BEVs), telematics services, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, drones, mobility services and blockchain.

“Fleet leaders continued to explore and incorporate new technologies into their operations in spite of incredible headwinds during 2020,” said Michael Schmall, Automotive & Mobility vice president at Escalent. “As business returns to some normalcy in 2021, decision-makers see great opportunities to invest in fleet modernization in order to increase long-term profitability.”

Fleet operators are bullish on three key technologies, each of which are expected to reach significant penetration within the next three years:

  • BEVs: 16% have adopted and 44% are considering.
  • Data analytics: 24% have adopted and 35% are considering.
  • Telematics: 17% have adopted and 33% are considering.

Consideration for these technologies is accelerating: compared to 2020 results, fleet business stakeholders made clear their intentions about their likelihood to invest in BEVs (+30%), data analytics (+28%) and telematics (+21%) in 2021 (by percentage-point increases). As these tech-centric products and services spread further within the market, we will find a rapidly increasing number of decision-makers joining this trend in search of lower total cost of ownership and better margins.

Product manufacturers and service providers will play a significant role in sustaining this strong, positive momentum. Specifically, vehicle manufacturers need to internalize the paradigm shift of driving revenue by offering services as an extension and enhancement to vehicle features and content. Both product manufacturers and service providers will need to become truly collaborative partners with their fleet customers—using their unique distribution channels to offer technology education and training, provide low-risk pilot test opportunities and maintain open-door customer feedback mechanisms.

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About Fleet Advisory Hub

The results reported come from our 2020 fourth quarter report on the adoption of new technologies in the fleet industry, and comprise a subset of commercial and fleet vehicle decision-makers drawn from the Fleet Advisory Hub audience. Participants were recruited from an opt-in online panel of business decision-makers and were interviewed online. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

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