The fleet news cycle extends far beyond our own local borders, with many stories, trends and ideas eventually filtering across to the Australasian market.
With that in mind, here is the round-up of the latest fleet management news, views and events from around the globe.
Russia – Rushing Russians
Eight people have been injured after a taxi-driver in Moscow ploughed into a group of pedestrians as the city was preparing for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It is believed the driver accidentally accelerated onto the sidewalk and ran over several people before coming to a stop after hitting a traffic sign.
“The driver failed to control the vehicle,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said. “Several people were injured, who have already received the necessary assistance.”
Although cars hitting pedestrians is not new, it has certainly been in the spotlight in recent months. The latest system has sparked further calls for legislators to require collision avoidance systems be installed in older cars while also increasing the demand for these types of systems in new models.
Major carmakers have more or less universally agreed to install automatic emergency brake systems (AEB) in nearly all new passenger cars by September 2022 in an attempt to reduce the number of driver related errors.
The taxi driver in question was detained by police and the case is being investigated.
Switzerland – Vanishing Volvo
Volvo has announced it won’t have a booth at the Geneva auto show in 2019, as the manufacturer considers other opportunities to showcase its new vehicles.
The Swedish automaker has revealed it is currently reassessing how it communicates its products, opting for standalone events and marquees of its own instead of simply committing to all other major automotive conferences and events.
“The ongoing change in the car industry is creating new audiences for Volvo Cars and new ways of bringing products to the market,” said Björn Annwall, senior vice president of strategy, brand and retail at Volvo Cars.
“We are not saying never to car shows – we expect industry events like the Geneva show to continue evolving and we may return in future.”
The trend to shun major car shows in favour of smaller more tailored launch events is gaining traction across the market with Volkswagen, Opel, Nissan and much of the Fiat Chrysler group all set to miss the 2018 Paris motor show, following lukewarm attendances at this year’s Detroit show.
Italy – Sharing is CAR-ing
Toyota has extended its commitment to hybrid car-sharing by launching a new offering in Venice. Known as YUKÕ – Japanese for ‘Let’s go’ – the initiative offers customers the opportunity to drive hybrid electric vehicles without the need for car ownership.
In Venice, a fleet of 49 self-charging and plug-in hybrid electric Toyotas will be made available to the public, ranging from the Toyota Yaris Hybrid to the Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
Customers will be able to register for the program online in just a few minutes and use the vehicles either as part of a station-based service (pick up and return at a station of their choice) or as a free-floating service (simply leave the car in any parking space in the city centre).
Managing Director of Toyota Motor Italy Mauro Caruccio, said the plan presented an exciting opportunity for the Italian market.
“Launching this hybrid electric vehicle car-sharing business represents a first, concrete step in our journey to enhance sustainable mobility in the city of Venice together,” he said. “Thanks to the environmental credentials of Toyota’s hybrid electric YUKÕ fleet, every citizen can choose to contribute to reducing emissions and congestion in the city.”
United Kingdom – Subscription Service
Jaguar Land Rover has joined the growing number of manufacturers to offer its premium vehicles via a subscription service, known as Carpe.
Carpe is targeted at high-mileage UK drivers, and provides any car within the Jaguar Land Rover range a 12-month contract with no deposit. Current pricing is approximately $1,622 AUD per month for access to a standard Jaguar E-Pace compact SUV and tops out at over $3,922 AUD per month for a Range Rover Sport HSE.
The new service has been brought to market by InMotion, JLR’s venture capital arm, which specialises in high-growth start-up companies in the mobility, transport, travel and digital lifestyle sector.
InMotion Ventures managing director Sebastian Peck said there was definitely a “growing appetite” for subscription services that can better meet individual needs.
“For people who love driving premium vehicles but are tired of inflexible contracts, a subscription to Carpe is the solution,” he said. “We aim to give our customers as much flexibility, freedom and choice as we can.”
New Zealand – Flying Cars
Our friends over the ditch are challenging the stigma that autonomous flying cars are nothing more than a pipe dream or something only seen on The Jetsons.
Tarver Graham, chief executive of digital innovations agency Gladeye, said autonomous flying cars are “very close” to being deployed in Aotearoa.
“They’re prototyped and being tested. There’s a company run by Google’s founder that’s testing them in the South Island,” he said. “I’m not sure people will be flying to work anytime soon, but they’ll definitely fly to the Coromandel from Auckland, for example.”
Mr Graham was referring to a pilot-less flying taxi project in the South Island spearheaded by Google co-founder Larry Page.
The prototype being tested in the South Island, known as Cora, is a small electric aircraft capable of vertical take-off like a helicopter. It uses three onboard computers to calculate flight paths and it can carry up to two passengers.
“With New Zealand’s internationally respected aviation certification processes, the South Island is the obvious place to test Cora,” Christchurch Airport chief executive Malcolm Johns said.
China – EV Demand
Electric vehicles may be struggling for market penetration within the Australian sector but there are encouraging signs from Asia, with global superpower China leading the way.
The nation’s electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid deliveries are on track to exceed 1 million this year, a 29 per cent jump from 2017, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said. The association made the forecast last week after releasing deliveries of electrified vehicles for May.
Last month, roughly 102,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids were sold across China, an increase of 126 per cent from 2017. The new tally includes about 82,000 EVs and 20,000 plug-in hybrids.
For the first five months, combined EV and plug-in hybrid sales in China totalled 328,000, soaring 142 per cent from the same period last year. The number includes 250,000 EVs and 78,000 plug-in hybrids.
The Chinese government is set to enact a carbon credit program next year to shore up domestic EV sales. It also plans to phase out subsidies for EVs and plug-in hybrids by 2020 to help ease fiscal burdens.