Two fleet-related conferences are currently ramping up and will take place in April. One, the NAFA Fleet Management Association Institute and Expo, leans toward the car and SUV needs of municipalities. The other, the American Public Works Association North American Snow Conference, deals with the large trucks and heavy-duty equipment required to clear winter roads of snow and ice. Both feature expositions and test driving opportunities in the latest generation electric cars, garbage trucks, snow plows, command units and every other vehicle and apparatus you could need, along with educational sessions detailing methods for keeping your type of fleet on the road and in top working condition for as long as possible.
Not least among other 2015 show season highlights is an anticipated new police SUV from Ford, unveiled last month at the Chicago Auto Show. Dubbed the “Police Interceptor,” Ford which has been doing police fleet vehicles for 65 years seems to hope the Interceptor will succeed the Crown Victoria as the ubiquitous and identifiable model of a generation.
Slowly, local governments’ replacement budgets are returning to acceptable levels. The segment of suppliers that seems the hungriest, and to which municipalities are responding, is the alternative energy market. Hybrid made the inroads, and all-electric, compressed natural gas and propane have come to earn shared billing as safe and accessible not to mention eco-friendly alternatives to the standard combustion engine. Once a novelty, range expansion and fueling/maintenance infrastructure is turning new energy vehicles into the common and preferred choice.
Of course, there are different considerations when the fleet you’re establishing or updating is of the two-wheel variety. Motorcycle law enforcement units are friendlier with the public and require less fuel and maintenance, but in turn offer less physical protection during violent incidents and during accidents. Even among officers who are already familiar with motorcycle operation, the importance of training cannot be overstated. Maj. Jim Polan of the Broward County Sheriffs Department points out on policemotorunits.com that police motorcycle deaths are number three on the list of duty deaths, following only automobile accidents and shootings. Learn more about his specific recommendations on pages 15–16 of this month’s issue of The Municipal.
If your shop is adding LPG or CNG vehicles to its inventory, check out our story this month by Sarah Wright about the ways in which these vehicles are different from combustion engine vehicles. What does that means for basic maintenance procedures? Be sure to take a look.