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Fiona Soltes

Fiona Soltes

Fiona Soltes is a longtime freelance writer based just outside Nashville, TN. Her regular clients represent a variety of sectors, including fleet, engineering, technology, logistics, business services, disaster preparedness and material handling. Prior to her freelance career, Soltes spent seven years as a staff writer for The Tennessean, a daily newspaper serving Nashville and the surrounding area.


Charging Ahead: Integrating Telematics in Electric Vehicles

| Fiona Soltes |
Over the last decade, Southern California Edison has worked with a handful of telematics providers. That’s meant plenty of learning opportunities with both traditional and electric vehicles. The utility company’s fleet has roughly 6,300 units; about 10% of those are electrified. And it’s an ongoing challenge to be able to report the data that the […]

Improving Ergonomics through Better Truck Specs

| Fiona Soltes |
Small adjustments can sometimes make a big impact. For those who work with utility trucks, details like properly placed steps, strategically placed handles, appropriately grippy surfaces and convenient storage can mean the difference between safety and injury. A careful eye toward work truck specs, then, can aid in ergonomics – and result in a happier, […]

Bucket Trucks, Powered Up

| Fiona Soltes |
New Jersey-based Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) has a little over 500 bucket trucks in its fleet. Of those, 327 have some degree of electrification. That might mean an original Bohlinger electric drive system from decades back, or perhaps a more current and elaborate work-up that operates the boom and provides climate control […]

Technology Tools to Ensure Proper Fuel Use

| Fiona Soltes |
Remember the days when fuel consumption was likely to be documented on a clipboard near the pump? Chris Lindquist does, too. Lindquist, who spent almost 30 years managing fleet and fleet operations for Colorado Springs Utilities before other opportunities, said vehicle numbers and gallons used were marked, “but reconciling those wasn’t very accurate.” Times have […]

The Fleet Manager of the Future

| Fiona Soltes |
Being a utility fleet manager today can be tough. How much tougher will it be tomorrow? With the constant advancement of technology, the increasing need for communications savvy and leadership acumen, ever-decreasing budgets, and an aging workforce being replaced by a younger cohort lacking institutional knowledge and experience, it’s a nail-biter of a time. So, […]

Making the 5G Connection

| Fiona Soltes |
In late 2018, AT&T announced a standards-based, mobile 5G network in parts of 12 U.S. cities, with seven more areas to follow. The company also said it was on the verge of bringing 5G Evolution technologies to 400 markets, enabling faster speeds, wider coverage and lower latency, which improves streaming capabilities. Verizon, meanwhile, has been […]

Hydrogen Fuel Cells Still Packed with Promise

| Fiona Soltes |
In the transportation sector, fuel cell technology has long been on the brink of breaking through for a variety of medium- and heavy-duty applications. We’re still not quite there yet, the experts say – but the promise continues. “Increasingly, the toughest remaining challenges for heavy-duty fuel cell trucks relate to the hydrogen fuel they run […]

The Search is On for Quality Technicians

| Fiona Soltes |
Dale Collins, CAFM, fleet services supervisor for Fairfax Water in Virginia, faces an increasingly disturbing and familiar scenario in the next handful of years: Five of the eight people working in his two repair facilities will retire. The good news is that his organization is “pretty attuned” to the so-called Silver Tsunami of aging baby […]

Collaboration is Key When Rightsizing Your Fleet

| Fiona Soltes |
For organizations contemplating a fleet rightsizing effort that won’t anger end users, here’s some advice: use solid data, convey information clearly and seek understanding. “At the end of the day, it’s ultimately about communication,” said Charlie Guthro, vice president of global strategic services for fleet management company ARI ( Prior to a rightsizing initiative, operators […]

Flat Fees for Fleet Asset Flexibility?

| Fiona Soltes |
As drivers and fleet professionals explore the possibilities and realities of vehicle subscription models, they’re in good company. Fleet management organizations also are kicking the tires of the concept – including how it might eventually apply to utility fleets. Under the subscription model, subscribers have access to vehicles on demand, often with insurance and maintenance […]