Jim Mele

Editor-in-chief

Nationally recognized journalist, author and editor, Jim Mele joined Fleet Owner in 1986 with over a dozen years’ experience covering transportation as a newspaper reporter and magazine staff writer. Fleet Owner Magazine has won over 45 national editorial awards since his appointment as editor-in-chief in 1999.

Articles by Jim Mele
Daimler adds telematics to Detroit brand 

DETROIT. With the introduction of a new integrated onboard tablet, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is consolidating its telematics offerings under the Detroit Connect brand name (www.demanddetroit.com/connect).

Detroit automated transmission now available with DD13 

DETROIT. Initially introduced only for Freightliner Cascadias powered by the Detroit DD15 15L engine, the Detroit DT12 automated mechanical transmission can now also be spec’d with the 13L DD13 diesel.

The lighter pairing is well suited for regional haul P&D applications which usually involve extensive stop and go operations, according to Daimler Trucks North America.

What's that truck worth? 

 

“What’s it worth?” is a question often asked. And when it comes to your trucks and trailers, the answer carries serious implications. Vehicles are the primary asset of almost all fleets, and their values weigh heavily on a fleet’s ability to conduct basic business functions like acquir­ing new equipment, obtaining operating credit lines, paying taxes, and even passing on ownership. Getting it right re­quires—and deserves—careful attention.

No end in sight 

As diesel-powered cars begin to make a comeback in this country, there’s growing public awareness that diesel exhaust is clean, really clean. While you may hate the high cost of the emissions systems needed to meet them, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for diesel engines have resulted in trucks with almost no particulate matter (PM) or NOx emissions, two of the major components impacting air quality. Diesels and the trucks they power have gone from clean-air bad guy to clean-air hero. But if you thought you were done with emissions, think again.

Trucking by the numbers 

Trucking is not a single industry.  It can’t be easily described or explained because it’s really a collection of diverse businesses that happen to use trucks.  For some, trucking services are their primary business, and trucks are their primary business tool.  For others, trucks provide essential support for their core businesses.

They add up 

I’m a words guy.  I’ve made my living arranging them as a writer and massaging them as an editor.  But even I recognize that sometimes you can’t beat numbers for telling a story.

Freightliner ramping up natural-gas offerings

YOUNTVILLE, CA.  Although today natural gas-powered trucks only make up 1% of Class 6 through 8 power units, “we see a clear path to mid to high single digit [market share] in the next few years,” said Mark Lampert, sr. vp of sales & marketing for Daimler Trucks North America

Safety: The active approach

Until quite recently, truck safety rested on passive systems, things like brakes that allowed drivers to stop as quickly as possible or cab structures that resist high impacts. But with the advent of reliable heavy-duty antilock braking systems (ABS) in the 1990s, the industry started down the road to a new safety era, one marked by systems that actively controlled vehicle performance to augment and even override the driver’s control.

Carrots, not sticks

Talking or texting on mobile phones while driving a truck is not only a serious safety problem, it’s also an expensive one. In the first four months of this year, over 3,600 truck drivers and nearly 50 fleets they work for have been fined more than $10 million for violating a federal ban on using such handheld devices. A single infraction can cost a driver $2,750, and multiple ones can lead to the loss of their CDL. Fleets found guilty of “requiring or allowing” their employees to use handheld devices while driving can be fined up to $11,000 per incident.

Alternative Fuel Trucks at the 2013 ACT Expo
The latest developments in alternative fuel commercial vehicles were on display at the 2013 ACT Expo in Washington, DC.
Cummins Westport ready to ship 400-hp ISX12G

WASHINGTON, DC.  A 400-hp. rating of the new ISX12 G natural gas engine has been approved and will begin shipping to truck makers in August, according to Jim Arthurs, president of Cummins Westport.  Considered the first true heavy-duty natural gas truck engine, the ISX12 G was initially introduced with a 350-hp. rating just last April and is currently offered in heavy-duty models from all of the major truck OEMs.

Volvo adds DME to alternative fuel options in North America

Sacramento, CA.  Volvo Trucks says it will begin limited production of Volvo VNL trucks powered by the alternative fuel dimethyl ether (DME) in 2015.

Obvious, but true

There’s a new survey out that finds the chief concern of fleet managers is maximizing productivity. They rank working to generate better productivity from their fleet as more important than meeting cost savings goals or understanding the impact of new technology.

In fact, productivity was named as the primary concern almost twice as often as cost control and technology education.

NYC spending $500 million in 2013 fleet renewal

FLUSHING MEADOWS PARK, NY. The City of New York is investing half a billion dollars in its municipal fleet this year, much of it focused on continuing efforts to create “the greenest fleet in the country,” according to Keith Kerman, deputy commissioner and chief fleet management officer.

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