Fleet Electrification: Behind the Scenes at Merchants Fleet

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Written By: Eric Goldfisher, Content Manager

Fleet Electrification

At Merchants Fleet, our mission is to enable the movement of people, goods, and services freely and responsibly. As the fastest-growing fleet management company in North America, there is a lot going on behind the scenes to make it all happen.

Take a walk through the halls of our Hooksett, NH, or Rosemont, IL offices and you’ll meet the people leading the charge at Merchants. Every department plays a role in pushing Merchants to be a cutting-edge fleet services and technology provider. Whether your fleet needs to acquire vehicles, remarket them, or any of the fleet management in between, Merchants is true end-to-end source for your fleet and mobility needs.

For example, let’s look at the Fleet Electrification team. These are true experts in their field and ready to help fleets during any part of their EV journey. Together they provide end-to-end support for grants, charging infrastructure, or trying to figure out what EVs fit their driver’s needs.

Lisa Drake, Program Manager of Fleet Electrification took the time to sit down with me recently and share what her team does to help spearhead the electrification of fleets across the country. With EVs recently reaching the tipping point in the United States, it’s easy to see why our Fleet Electrification team plays such an important role for Merchants clients.

Q: How long have you been working at Merchants Fleet?
A: I started with Merchants in September of 2021, so I’ve just started my second year here.

Q: What about Merchants led you to make the move from your previous role as a Director of Sustainability?
A: I spent close to 20 years working in corporate sustainability and clean energy has been a big part of my career focus. I was excited to join the Merchants electrification team because fleet electrification is a key piece of the puzzle moving toward a clean energy future.

Q: The Fleet Electrification/EV team is a newer addition to Merchants Fleet. What role does your team play in our organization’s ecosystem?
A: We’re a unique core subject matter expert group that coordinates with other teams across every part of the organization to assist clients with fleet electrification. We work closely with Fleet Consulting – who provides hands on analysis for clients, Acquisitions – who evaluate and procure EVs for clients, and Mobility who brings different rental models into the mix.

Building the foundation for this now is a priority for our company as the industry continues to shift toward EVs. These internal tools and processes will help our entire organization be successful in advancing their electrification goals.

Q: With technology rapidly advancing as the world moves toward EVs, what does your team do day-to-day to support clients and their growth?
A: We meet every day with clients on various stages of their EV journey. It could be a first conversation starting at ground zero with their awareness, or a client that might have already completed a pilot and is ready to adopt EVs at a larger scale into their fleet, and everything in between. We also work with our internal consulting team to evaluate fleets and see which EV models are a good fit for their needs, evaluating charging infrastructure requirements, and provide any support and education they need to align the key players in their organization.

Q: With so much experience in sustainability and innovation, can you tell me about a story where the Fleet Electrification team innovated?
A: A great time when the entire team came together—and very quickly too, might I add—was with Edge Auto Rental. They are a NYC based rental agency that had EVs on the way and no charging infrastructure in place. The Merchants team was on the ground within 48 hours, we provided them with a quote within a week, and they had their charging infrastructure installed and in-place in just under six weeks. This is a real proof point in our ability to guide a client quickly and efficiently in what for many is totally new territory.

Q: So, after your first year in fleet, what’s your favorite fleet story?
A: I had an amazing invitation from the University of New Hampshire EV club to participate in Unity Day. I was invited along with a couple of other Merchants employees to meet with students and other EV enthusiasts from around New England. We brought a few models to the event, including a Tesla, VW ID4, and Polestar, and got to see electric bikes and other electrified modes of transportation. It was exciting to see students and the younger generation excited about EVs and clean transportation.

Q: What do you want the other departments in Merchants to know about your team?
A: Even though we’re all fairly new to the fleet management space, we share an interest in helping clients electrify their fleets to create a cleaner world and make it a better place to live. We all have unique backgrounds and bring something different to the table, but we’re united with a common goal.

Q: You’ve had many great roles in building environmental awareness and sustainability, how is Merchants continuing this trend for you in your career?
A: After more than 20 years in corporate sustainability work, being at Merchants is an amazing opportunity to deep dive into one sustainability solution that can have a tremendous impact. It’s energizing to be a part of a fast moving and exciting transition in transportation.

Q: What would you say is your favorite part about working at Merchants Fleet?
A: You can’t deny the passion that people bring to work every day. I love the fast pace of learning and innovation that I experience daily in my work.

Q: What’s your favorite local area restaurant in the Hooksett or Manchester areas?
A: There are a lot of amazing places to eat in Manchester. If we’re going downtown, it would be very hard for me to pick between Crown Tavern and Campo Enoteca.

Q: What is your favorite movie of all time?
A: It’s totally The Muppet Movie. It still holds up over 40 years later!

Q: Merchants is big on fur babies. Do you have any pets to add our to the growing list?
A: I have an eight-year-old puggle named Sparky. He’s a rescue that was transported from GA to MA. We adopted him from Cape Anne Animal Aid and he’s my shadow wherever I go in my house.

Our Fleet Electrification experts are ready to provide end-to-end support for your organization as you embark on your EV adoption journey. Contact us today to learn more.

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