SVT Fleet Solutions President Don Kelley answers fleet management questions from HDT. - Photo: SVT/Canva

SVT Fleet Solutions President Don Kelley answers fleet management questions from HDT. 

Photo: SVT/Canva

SVT Fleet Solutions is a new fleet management company that can help a variety of types of fleets, including Class 8 fleets, with regulatory compliance and funding support for zero-emission vehicles.

It's owned by Velocity Vehicle Group, which operates full-service commercial truck dealerships in the U.S. and has an international footprint in Australia and Mexico.

Velocity is a distributor for 14 brands of OEMs in the medium- and heavy-duty truck sector, with more than 9,000 trucks sold in 2022, and is the exclusive U.S. distributor for the Daimler Truck Group’s RIZON brand of electric trucks.

Combined, SVT and Velocity provide new and used commercial vehicle sales, service, parts distribution, and vehicle rental and leasing.

The new fleet management arm was created to help companies and municipalities maximize vehicle efficiency, productivity, and total value, according to an SVT announcement.

SVT's fleet management services include:

  • Regulatory compliance support
  • Fleet sustainability strategy
  • Vehicle funding and financing
  • Diverse vehicle procurement options
  • Comprehensive uptime support
  • Centralized fleet administration support
  • Vehicle remarketing

At the helm is Don Kelley, who brings 40-plus years of experience to his role as SVT president.

“SVT was created by industry veterans to break the mold of traditional fleet management solutions by providing comprehensive, single-source solutions that are tailored to meet each client’s unique support needs,” said Kelley.

"Our team has access to extensive resources and expertise in the commercial vehicle sector to help our customers streamline their fleet management, while driving economic and environmental sustainability.”

    Lower-Emissions Future

    “Given the ongoing market pressures that fleets are facing to lower emissions – such as California’s recently passed Advanced Clean Fleets Rule – we believe SVT’s end-to-end fleet management approach couldn’t come at a better time,” Kelley added.

    He said his team can help clients from the planning phase through the end of a vehicle’s term, he said, while maximizing total value of ownership.

    SVT’s fleet management abilities range from material handling equipment in a warehouse to municipal fleets, and even up to Class 8 heavy-duty fleets. According to Kelley, large private fleets and municipal fleets with more than 100 assets are prospects for SVT.

    Q&A with the CEO

    HDT and sister publication Automotive Fleet put several questions in front of Kelley to gain more insight about SVT and what it has to offer.

    AF: There are many fleet management players, including the traditional fleet management companies and now new types of consultancies serving various fleet sectors. Why is there a need for SVT?

    Kelley: We saw a need in the marketplace. The landscape has changed over the last three or four years, and most of it is tied to sustainability.

    The largest private and municipal fleets in North America, particularly in California, are required to satisfy sustainability mandates through EV power and zero-emission vehicles, and there’s a timetable placed on that transition.

    In other areas of the country. there are large national fleets making this transition voluntarily, because they believe it's the right thing to do.

    These large fleets and municipalities need to source and procure new electric vehicles and understand the charging infrastructure and all the components that are required to make this journey toward sustainability.

    There are companies that play in each one of those narrow niches, and there are more every day because it's such a hot topic.

    But there aren't any companies that bring a holistic approach to fleet management, to provide resources that touch all these components. And that's what SVT was created to do.

    SVT simplifies the fleet management process by providing a full spectrum of services under one umbrella. Sustainable fleet management can and should be done in a way that is both efficient and environmentally conscious through adoption of battery-electric trucks, exploring alternative fuel options, and optimizing the lifecycle of vehicles through proper maintenance and repairs.

    AF: The existing fleet management companies (FMCs) are focusing on these goals, too. How is SVT different?

    Most large FMCs predominantly focus on Class 1 through Class 6 assets – cars, pickups, vans, utility trucks.

    And there are truck leasing companies such as Ryder, Penske, and Transervice that play in the market as a type of FMC. But their core competency is leasing and logistics.

    And then you have companies like Vehicare, Amerit Fleet Solutions, and Cox Automotive Mobility, and their primary focus is on maintenance, mostly mobile maintenance. In that niche, they're very good at what they do. 

    The differentiator for SVT is that we're the umbrella that provides all those services, from securing the asset from an OEM to disposal of the asset and everything in between.

    AF: How do you help fleets define their sustainability goals?

    Kelley: Our process is for fleets to help us understand where they are today. That's a deep dive into what their fleet is, what their market is, what are any changes that they project down the road, and then define what their objectives are. Where do they want to be at a specific time?

    A lot of big corporations have dates to meet certain objectives for zero emissions. But most companies don't have that yet, especially the ones that aren't based in California. It's an emerging need that they know is on the horizon that they must be aware of and engage a resource of experts.

    If we understand where you are, now we understand where you want to get to, we can develop the map that will get you from here to there. And then we can quantify the financial impact of that entire journey, not just from an investment standpoint, but also a return standpoint.

    HDT: How will working with Class 8 fleets differ from other types of fleets, such as municipal or delivery?

    Kelley: The differences are substantial when comparing Class 8 fleets to municipal or commercial delivery fleets.

    Lifecycle and cost are of paramount importance to Class 8 fleets, especially when we look at the new market for battery-electric vehicles. Even things like driver recruitment are different, especially considering CDL requirements, and recruitment is one area where SVT helps clients.

    Serving electric Class 8 trucks is also a specialty that SVT is able to deliver, and there are a different set of considerations because municipal and last-mile fleets can use Level 2 chargers, so that implies very different infrastructure complexity and costs compared to heavy-duty fast chargers for Class 8.

    And of course, vehicle types and applications are different, with municipal fleets managing lifecycles for smaller vehicles in local and regional operations including work trucks and specialty occupational vehicles and are almost always return-to-base operations.

    Delivery fleets typically have shorter range requirements and use a variety of step vans and straight trucks, which are easier for a fleet operator to electrify.

    So, a lot of differences, but all fleet categories face federal compliance regulations, in addition to state-by-state mandates which differ by fleet type, and SVT’s knowledge of those compliance requirements helps our clients navigate the complex regulatory process.

    HDT: How will your fleet replacement expertise best address the needs of Class 8 truck replacement and sustainability according to a fleet’s need?

    Kelley: We formed close partnerships with reputable OEMs, dealerships, and service providers, allowing us to offer competitive pricing, favorable financing options, and reliable after-sales support while factoring in vehicle age, mileage, maintenance costs, and fuel efficiency.

    This analysis enables us to identify the optimal time for replacing Class 8 trucks. Sustainability is a top priority for us, and newer Class 8 trucks are equipped with advanced technologies that reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.

    We also consider alternative fuel options, such as natural gas, electric, and relatively soon, hydrogen. This ensures that fleet replacements are not only environmentally sustainable, but also financially beneficial in the long run.

    HDT: You report having fully certified CNG and EV technicians; how are those provided? Do you have service locations, or will these be contracted by local shops or individuals?

    Kelley: SVT’s team of certified CNG and EV technicians have specialized knowledge and expertise to service and repair advanced fleet technologies. This comes from experience selling and maintaining Class 8 electric trucks in our sister organizations within Velocity.

    We strategically positioned our service locations for convenient access to maintenance and repair services across a wide geographical area. In places where our physical locations may not be nearby, we partner with local service shops that have experience in those technologies and provide support, guidance, and technical assistance to these contracted shops to ensure they meet our high standards.

    Our goal is to deliver consistent, high-quality service in any location, allowing fleet operators to confidently rely on us for servicing their CNG and EV trucks.