• Automotive Fleet has some new Fleet Safety tips for what to do if you or any of your drivers should experience brake failure unexpectedly.  Pass these along to your drivers for safety’s sake!

    If your brakes fail, do not panic.  Simply follow these steps and find your way to a safe stop.

    1.Pump the brake pedal rapidly and hard several times. This will often build up enough brake pressure to stop the car.

    2. If #1 does not work, use the parking brake, but hold the brake release so you can let off the brake if the rear wheels lock and you begin to skid.

    3. If the car still won’t stop, shift to a lower gear and look for a place to slow to a stop.

    4. Make sure the vehicle is completely off the roadway, to the right if possible.

    5. After the vehicle has stopped, wait for help. Do not try to drive the vehicle to a garage.

    Photo courtesy of Kaptain Kobold under the Creative Commons License


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  • Via HeavyDuty Trucking:

    In the February edition ofits monthly Short-TermEnergy Outlook released this week, the DOE’s Energy InformationAdministration slightly lowered its expectation for diesel prices in 2010 andslightly raised its projection for 2011.

    The EIA said it expectsdiesel prices to average $2.95 per gallon in 2010 and $3.16 in 2011, off fromlast month’s projections of $2.98 and $3.14 a gallon, respectively. The agencyattributes the diesel prices to the expected recovery in the consumption ofdiesel fuel in the

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  • AT&T announced the deployment of its 1,000th alternative-fuel vehicle in its corporate fleet. The deployment is part of a $565 million planned investment announced in March 2009 to replace more than 15,000 fleet vehicles with more fuel-efficient models through 2018. AT&T currently operates a fleet of more than 77,000 vehicles.

    The 10-year initiative includes an expected $350 million to purchase approximately 8,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles over a five-year period, including the 1,000th alternative-fuel vehicle, a CNG van deployed in Oakland, California. This represents the largest initiative to CNG to date by a U.S. company. AT&T anticipates spending another $215 million through 2018 to replace 7,100 fleet passenger cars with alternative fuel models. According to the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), AT&T’s overall alternative fuel vehicle initiative will:

    • Save 49 million gallons of gasoline over the 10-year deployment period
    • Reduce carbon emissions by 211,000 metric tons

    “In a time of deep economic uncertainty, AT&T is making investments in our corporate fleet that are good for our business, the environment and our economy,” said Jerome Webber, vice president, AT&T Fleet Operations. “The deployment of our 1,000th alternative-fuel vehicle signals a demand for cleaner alternative fuels that are less volatile in cost and that can be tapped here in America, right now.” CAR estimates that the AT&T fleet initiative will create or save – on average – approximately 1,000 jobs per year over the first five years of the initiative.

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  • A recorded presentation about converting fleet vehicles to propane and natural gas will be posted soon in the webinar section of the Mississippi Development Authority Web site, http://www.mississippi.org

    The webinar, originally presented Feb. 18 by the Mississippi Development Authority on behalf of the Mississippi Clean Cities Coalition, was geared for private and public fleet managers and lasted about 45 minutes. 

    Event speakers included Mark Denton, vice president of business development for Blossman Gas, and Bill Calvert, vice president of sales for BAF Technologies. 

    The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) is Mississippi’s lead economic and community development agency. More than 250 employees help provide services to businesses, communities and workers in the state.

    Photo courtesy of MShades under the Creative Commons License.

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  • More Winter Fleet Tips

    Feb 24, 2010

    snow-blocked car 2.24Winter may be drawingto a close, but there’s always time for a last-minute cold snap.  That’swhy AutomotiveFleet has issued another edition of its winter driving tips forfleets.  Keep these handy hints in mind if you find your fleet affected bywinter weather:

     

    • Remove snow and ice from your vehicle’s hood, windows and lights before driving.
    • Make sure your windshield wiper fluid contains antifreeze.
    • Get the feel of the road: try your brakes while driving slowly to test the road surface.
    • Adjust your speed to road conditions.
    • Avoid using cruise control on slippery roads.
    • If your vehicle becomes stuck on ice or snow, try to free your vehicle by “rocking” it back and forth. Keep the front wheels straight and slowly drive forward, then backward, as far as possible, without spinning the tires. Accelerate gently when the tires grip. If your vehicle starts to slide or your tires start to spin, apply the brake and repeat this operation in the opposite direction.

     

    Photo courtesy of liangjinjian underthe Creative Commons License.

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  • Ford Motor Company unveiled the all-electric version of the Ford Transit Connect at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 8 – the first product in the automaker’s accelerated electrified plan. Limited production of the new model will begin this year, with full production ramped up in 2011. Ford confirmed the zero-emissions small van will be in fleet operators’ hands later this year.

    About 1,000 units will be produced annually depending on customer response, said Praveen Cherian, program manager of the Transit Connect. Ford collaborated with Mich.-based Azure Dynamics and Johnson Controls-Saft’s technology in the development of the electric model.

    Cherian said the vehicles are designed to meet the needs of commercial customers with a predictable drive route, such as “florists or a handyman, plumber, or a Best Buy Geek Squad, utility type purposes vehicle.” Rechargeable using either 240-volt or standard 120 volt outlets, the electric vehicle can travel a range of 80 miles, providing an alternative for drivers who need a utility vehicle, but don’t want a pickup truck.

    Production of the Ford Transit Connect Taxi, which will arrive in dealerships later this year as a 2011 model, was also announced. The automaker said it will introduce engine prep packages on all Transit Connect models – base and taxi – allowing conversion to efficient, clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane (LPG, or liquefied petroleum gas).

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  • It’s no secret that Toyota is having major issues with its vehicles as of late.  Business Week is examining ways in which American automakers can use the recent recalls to their advantage.

    With Toyota’s reputation now muddied, American automakers are poised to inherit its customers.  The trick, according to analysts, is to draw business to their side without seeming predatory in doing so. “Disparagement or gloating,” GM marketing chief Robert Lutz wrote in an e-mail, “will only trigger a sympathy backlash in favor of Toyota.”

    Detroit doesn’t have a whole lot to brag about right now, but new developments could change the game in the near future.  The Chevy Volt, set to debut this fall, is four times as fuel-efficient as the 2010 Prius and will produce enough units after 2012 to take a large bite out of Toyota’s share of the hybrid market.  Ford’s recent focus on smaller, sportier cars such as the Fiesta and Focus also threatens to pull some of Toyota’s younger, less loyal customer base away.

    However, the Detroit automakers are not the only ones looking to capitalize on Toyota’s problems.  Honda, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai and others could also gain market share when all is said and done. Whatever the case, Detroit’s window of opportunity won’t stay open for long. “If you’re going to grab market share from Toyota,” says Consumer Reports, “you have to do it in the next nine months.”

     To read the full article, head over to Business Week.

    Photo courtesy of cliff1066 under the Creative Commons License.


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  • Rental car giant Enterprise Holdings has announced plans to shift its fleet of shuttle buses to B20 biodiesel within the next 5 years. 

    The announcement came at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, Biodiesel Magazine reported. 

    Enterprise Holdings is the parent company of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental. Together, they operate more than 600 shuttle buses. 

    Shuttle buses in nine markets will convert to B20 immediately, the company said. By the end of next year, 50 percent of Enterprise Holdings’ shuttle buses will be running on B20. 

    Biodiesel is graded by its proportion to petroleum diesel in the final product.  B20 contains 20 percent Biodiesel and has shown significant reduction in environmental harm while maintaining an affordable price for fleets.

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  • Sacramento- The California Air Resources Board said it has fined Chemical Transfer Company $6,500 for diesel emissions violations. 

    An ARB investigation concluded that Chemical Transfer Co., based in Stockton, Calif., failed to properly inspect their diesel vehicles during 2008 and 2009. 

    “All trucking companies must properly inspect and maintain their diesel vehicles to ensure that California’s emissions goals are achieved,” said ARB Enforcement Chief James Ryden. “The emissions from diesel trucks are very detrimental to the public’s health.” 

    The law requires owners of California-registered truck fleets to regularly inspect their vehicles to ensure that their engine emissions meet state air quality standards. 

    Chemical Transfer paid $6,500 in penalties and must adhere to strict procedures to improve their emissions. Of that total, $4,875 went to the California Air Pollution Control Fund for projects and research to improve California’s air quality. The Peralta Community College District received $1,625 to fund emissions education classes conducted by participating California community colleges. 

    Photo courtesy of good-god-guy under the Creative Commons License.




  • One of the main problems plaguing consumer confidence in electric vehicles is the amount of time it takes to fully charge the internal batteries- overnight charges are required, making long-distance travel impossible without adding days to a trip.  But one company is preparing to introduce technology that could eliminate this issue.

    Car Charging Group Inc. announced it plans to deploy Level 3 fast-charging stations capable of fully charging an electric vehicle in 30 minutes or less. The charging stations, designed by Coulomb Technologies in partnership with Aker-Wade Power Technologies, will be similar to gas pump-type charging stations in existence today, but will be powered by dedicated 480-volt, 125-amp circuits that will provide for much more rapid charging. 

    The new stations could fully charge a vehicle in as little as 15 minutes, only a small time longer than it takes to fill a full tank of gasoline.  With such convenient and effective charging options available, this may be a new start for electric vehicles in the US auto fleet.

    The Level 3 charging stations are expected to be available in the third quarter of 2010.

    Photo courtesy of MR38 under the Creative Commons License.


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