Imagine a company bringing an innovative business model to a new market.
Everyone is excited because the company has a well-researched plan to save millions of dollars over a decade. In its first year of operation, the model shatters expectations and earns national recognition.
Suddenly, a local political fight erupts that has nothing to do with the results of the program and everything to do with bureaucratic procedures.
That’s the situation right now in Indianapolis, and my company, Vision Fleet, is stuck in the middle of a dispute that threatens not just one municipal fleet modernization program, but the reputation of a city that wants to develop innovative solutions that can be replicated elsewhere.
What’s more disconcerting is the lack of factual information being publicly provided about the program.
Last week, an editorial in this publication mischaracterized Vision Fleet and the Freedom Fleet program that will put more than 400 new, efficient city vehicles on the street, along with hundreds of new charging stations, by next year.
Our partnership with Indianapolis is a roughly $26 million performance contract for services.
We provide vehicles, infrastructure, fuel, electricity, maintenance, insurance, telematics, advising and warranties. We make the up-front investment and carry a large amount of risk; we guarantee costs and only make money if we deliver the savings that come from a modernized fleet.
We’ve spent over $9 million in Indianapolis, and we’ve been paid back just $1.5 million.
We’ve saved more than 40,000 gallons of gasoline, and the vehicles have been driven more than 800,000 miles, almost half using electric power.
The City-County Council and others have raised concerns about the procedures that set up the program, but no one has disputed Freedom Fleet’s success.
Because we pride ourselves in openness and transparency, we want all open procedural questions answered, too.
That’s why we’ve asked a court to mediate what the council in its own filings calls a “political dispute” so we can work through these issues and get back to our core mission of modernizing an outdated municipal fleet.
We look forward to continuing to work with Indianapolis to save money, reduce oil dependence and promote innovation.
Michael Brylawski, CEO, Vision Fleet