We spoke to you almost exactly two years ago, and you gave us your take and outlook on some of the most talked about things in the industry— EVs, autonomous vehicles and telematics. They have so much promise, but are forecasts for their take up too aggressive? I’d love to hear what you are thinking on those three subjects. Firstly, what are your thoughts on the deployment of autonomous vehicles?
There’s a growing number of reports which tend to be pushing out the predictions for wide-scale autonomous vehicle take up. You’re starting to see OEMs struggle to actually get their vehicles to what they call level-five full autonomy. My view is that we are heading more towards geo-fenced autonomous zones. Certainly over the next five years geo-fenced, or zoned autonomous, is much more likely than level-five full autonomy.
And, EVs. I think we are seeing that take off now in Australia, and it could pick up very quickly? What do you think is going for it, or against it?
Everyone we talk to wants to talk about EVs. We recently had 40 odd customers test drive EVs and hybrids. There’s no doubt there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the product, but the sticking point for getting more momentum for sales particularly for electrics seems to be around the pricing. There’s no doubt that as more product comes to market, and once the infrastructure becomes more widespread, we’ll see a much greater take up of EVs, but for the time being we’ll see hybrids tending to increase at a far greater pace of knots than the pure electrics.
And, we’re also interested in your understanding of the take up of telematics. Who is doing it well? Who needs to get it?
Large corporates are finally starting to do it really well. Now what we can do is provide mid-market and even small businesses with a library of case studies where you can now demonstrate the hard savings that can be achieved and the driver safety outcomes. That’s proven to be a catalyst for the uptake of telematics. So the expansiveness in terms of who we are selling to has increased.
I was at an industry event last year and was surprised to hear of how basic some fleet management systems are. I guess a small business can’t necessarily make the capital investment in the best technology and people. What are your thoughts? If data is king, how can a service like Eclipx help?
Small right through to large wouldn’t want to make the investment in terms of the technology, wouldn’t be able to keep it at the front in terms of fleet management. We see common themes that come through from customers around service and fleet optimisation, asset risk, driver safety, and the tech developments that encompass all those aspects of fleet management. Our solutions now can really create a huge amount of cost reductions, and enhancements for fleets from small right through to large.
What are some other areas where Eclipx can help small and medium sized business in managing their fleet?
We believe a fully maintained operating lease is a perfect solution and a payment product for SMEs. It reduces administration burden having insurance, fuel, tyres, and service all bundled into a monthly budgeted number. It just makes it so simple for them to get the usage and access to a brand new vehicle. We think there’s great opportunity.
Let’s end our interview with you talking about something that you are looking forward to working on in 2020?
It’s interesting prior to Christmas, I’ve never been as excited to coming back to work in a new year as I have been about this one. It’s an awesome team of people here at Eclipx and we’re looking at building that presence into SMEs. We’ve got activities underway to enhance customer service and the customer experience, and we have got a range of digital solutions which we are looking to bring to market through the year.