Fleet News

Your opinion

LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Fleets not being served well

I READ with interest the feature ‘Do your homework when signing up for telematics’ (Fleet News, February 8).

Rather than just being wary of a few operators, as you warn, there is an argument that the whole shape of the telematics industry is not really serving fleet operators well.

Why? Well, for years now, telematics technology has existed to record what is happening to your vehicles out on the road and transmit it back to you in real-time, but it happens on no more than a very few fleets. The adoption of telematics across fleets of all kinds remains, at best, patchy.

Why does this unhappy situation exist? It’s largely because of the way in which the telematics industry has developed.

To begin with, there are no common standards. Devices from different telematics providers all use different technologies and data standards, and none is anywhere near establishing themselves as the overall leader.

Therefore, fleet managers are nervous of backing what turns out to be the Betamax of telematics rather than the VHS.

There is also a reduced amount of price competition in the market. Prices have come down but not to the level where the vast majority of fleets would class them as affordable and where the cost benefits are clear.

Finally, the actual products themselves are often lacking. Too often a fleet is looking at fitting two or three telematics devices to gather all the information they want from their vehicle, rather than one that does everything they need. It is a market that should be exploding rather than seeing steady growth, and with the potential benefits it offers, that is very frustrating.

ANDY LEECH
Business leader, cfc solutions

Be positive about biofuel development

I’M writing in response to the green transport feature ‘Get your sources sorted – or the monkey gets it’ (Fleet News, February 15).Why does Fleet News have to pick up on the negative of something that is going to be one of the best advances in the battle to cut carbon?

There are lots of different ways to develop new biofuels that are very environmentally friendly, such as waste cooking oil. I wouldn’t personally use palm oil in the production of our biodiesel but if you would like to learn more about fuels such as biodiesel contact us at www.greenbio.co.uk

DAVID MCMULLAN
Green Bio

Clearer identification could cut misfuelling

A COUPLE of points occur to me on the subject of diesel power.

Firstly, following the suggestion made by Trevor Gelken in his letter ‘Simple ideas are the best’ (Fleet News, February 8), I wonder if the market for diesel cars is as big in New Zealand as it is in Europe.

Also, would the manufacturers of European diesel cars be happy for their customers to see ‘warning diesel’ every time they filled up?

And how exactly does this prevent a driver accidentally putting petrol in a diesel vehicle?

Obviously there is a problem, part of which would be helped by clearly identifying which pumps are diesel and which are petrol by a very distinctive, universally-adopted colour code. Maybe the same colour code should also be also adopted for all vehicle filler caps.

It also seems many modern diesel vehicles sound much less like a diesel engine than they used to, while some modern petrol engines make so much noise on start-up that you could be forgiven for wondering if they were, in fact, a diesel.

My second point concerns the article ‘Engine filter warning for city drivers’ (Fleet News, February 8), which covered Lex’s warning that the Exhaust Particulate Filters (EPF) in new-generation diesels could clog up through low-speed motoring.

Superficially this appears to be a worrying development, given the already high and ever-increasing popularity of diesel vehicles in the UK. As it is widely known that diesel engines produce damaging particulates, is there any relationship between the increase in diesel vehicles and the widely-reported significant rise in the incidence of asthma?

It seems that if you do the responsible thing and purchase a vehicle with an efficient particulate filter, you will regularly need to take it for a high-speed run to clear it out. Alternatively, you could take the advice offered in the article and avoid vehicles with particulate filters – so which option is the greenest?

ALAN DARCY
Lascar Electronics

Audible warning is a better alternative

THE letter ‘Simple ideas are the best’ (Fleet News, February 8) doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

The nozzle of a diesel pump won’t fit in the filler neck of a petrol vehicle, which has a narrow opening to prevent diesel contaminating the catalytic converter, so you really would have to be a fool to fill up a petrol vehicle with diesel. However, it is very easy for the filler neck of a petrol pump to fit into the filler neck of a diesel vehicle, hence the problem of misfuelling.

Perhaps an audible warning fitted to petrol pumps to warn users that they are about to dispense petrol would go some way to reducing the problem.

EMMANUEL LEWIS
Fleet manager, Vista Retail Support

Clearer identification could cut misfuelling

A COUPLE of points occur to me on the subject of diesel power.

Firstly, following the suggestion made by Trevor Gelken in his letter ‘Simple ideas are the best’ (Fleet News, February 8), I wonder if the market for diesel cars is as big in New Zealand as it is in Europe.

Also, would the manufacturers of European diesel cars be happy for their customers to see ‘warning diesel’ every time they filled up?

And how exactly does this prevent a driver accidentally putting petrol in a diesel vehicle?

Obviously there is a problem, part of which would be helped by clearly identifying which pumps are diesel and which are petrol by a very distinctive, universally-adopted colour code. Maybe the same colour code should also be also adopted for all vehicle filler caps.

It also seems many modern diesel vehicles sound much less like a diesel engine than they used to, while some modern petrol engines make so much noise on start-up that you could be forgiven for wondering if they were, in fact, a diesel.

My second point concerns the article ‘Engine filter warning for city drivers’ (Fleet News, February 8), which covered Lex’s warning that the Exhaust Particulate Filters (EPF) in new-generation diesels could clog up through low-speed motoring.

Superficially this appears to be a worrying development, given the already high and ever-increasing popularity of diesel vehicles in the UK. As it is widely known that diesel engines produce damaging particulates, is there any relationship between the increase in diesel vehicles and the widely-reported significant rise in the incidence of asthma?

It seems that if you do the responsible thing and purchase a vehicle with an efficient particulate filter, you will regularly need to take it for a high-speed run to clear it out. Alternatively, you could take the advice offered in the article and avoid vehicles with particulate filters – so which option is the greenest?

ALAN DARCY
Lascar Electronics

Audible warning is a better alternative

THE letter ‘Simple ideas are the best’ (Fleet News, February 8) doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

The nozzle of a diesel pump won’t fit in the filler neck of a petrol vehicle, which has a narrow opening to prevent diesel contaminating the catalytic converter, so you really would have to be a fool to fill up a petrol vehicle with diesel. However, it is very easy for the filler neck of a petrol pump to fit into the filler neck of a diesel vehicle, hence the problem of misfuelling.

Perhaps an audible warning fitted to petrol pumps to warn users that they are about to dispense petrol would go some way to reducing the problem.

EMMANUEL LEWIS
Fleet manager, Vista Retail Support

Clarify eyetest details

I’D like to add to the answer given by Susan Weller in the ‘eye tests’ helpline (Fleet News, February 8) as many fleet managers are also responsible for light vans.

In January, 1997, the legislation for eyesight requirements for van drivers changed and is now far in excess of the minimum required of car drivers which is only to read a standard number plate at 20.5 metres (67 feet) and to have 120º wide field of vision.

Van drivers of vehicles between 3.5 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes must have a minimum vision of 6/9 Snellen in the better eye, 6/12 Snellen in the other eye, and 3/60 Snellen in each eye without spectacles or contact lenses.

There may be some ambiguity regarding vehicles towing a trailer which once the gross plated train weight exceeds 3.5 tonnes may come under higher eyesight requirements.

Therefore, the proposed confirmation forms suggested by Ms Weller are deficient and should be clarified with precise eyetest details since the optician is unlikely to be aware of all the Road Traffic Act requirements relating to different vehicles.

TERRY QUINN
Transport Services & Solutions, Lymington

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