Zonar Grants Fund Fleet Technology
Smart fleet management is used across a variety of industries, from passenger transportation to over-the-road trucking. It’s also used with increasing frequency in the construction industry. However, funding for new technologies like this can be a challenge.
“A challenge we see regardless of industry is acquisition of hardware to run smart fleet management,” said Matt Hultman, vice president of sales for Zonar Systems, Seattle. This is made more difficult as the wireless carriers upon which telematics control units (TCU) rely continue to update to third, fourth and fifth-generation technology.
“The resulting replacement and labor costs for those TCUs can really add up,” Hultman said. “It’s a challenge for our clients that often requires them to phase things in slowly over time.”
That’s why Zonar established a grant assistance program for its customers and prospects in November 2019. Zonar offers smart fleet management solutions to decrease downtime and fuel costs while improving safety and compliance.
“Our customers all want to get to the most current technology as quickly as possible,” Hultman said. “By offering some assistance and augmenting their budgets with grants, they can accelerate those upgrade cycles.”
Zonar Grant Assistance Program Goals
The grant assistance program aims to save fleet managers and transportation directors time and effort by connecting them with an experienced team of funding specialists who can help them access funds to purchase smart fleet technology.
Hultman has been leveraging grant programs for 15 years in other industries and has brought more than $40 million in funds to various customers. “There’s a different twist to it in this industry, but I’m confident there are programs that can help companies in the construction market,” he said.
Zonar’s three main verticals are pupil/passenger, over-the-road trucking, and vocational, which includes construction. “[Vocational] is actually our largest growth market,” Hultman said. “We see a lot of grant funding used for pupil and passenger fleet management, but it’s relatively new to this vertical.”
Grant funding received as a result of Zonar’s program can be applied to any technology pertaining to the project; it’s not limited to investments in Zonar technology.
“We are doing this to provide a service that’s needed in the industry in general,” Hultman said. “As a result, we think we’ll get our share of opportunities.” It’s a service the industry has already responded to with enthusiasm, Hultman said.
Access to Grant Writing Experts
The program is administered by Learn, Design, Apply Inc., a grants consulting company with more than 50 years of combined experience in grant management, writing and program development. Learn, Design, Apply Inc. will assist program participants in identifying, applying, securing and managing grant funding to enhance fleet safety and performance.
“It’s not just funding for technology,” Hultman said. “It really has to have some benefit to the larger community, like highway safety or improved efficiency through the use of technology.”
For example, Hultman mentioned a customer in Northern California who was able to replace its fleet with electric vehicles more rapidly than anticipated and receive carbon credits for those investments.
The grant assistance program offers participants access to Learn, Design, Apply Inc.’s team of experts for grant consulting services, educational webinars and other grant resources, and access to grant writers.
“A lot of our customers have grant writers, but may not know of the programs available to them,” Hultman said. “Or, they may not have a grant writer and we can provide a contract grant writer to them. There’s no one-size-fits-all with any grant program. Having a group that can help will take that load off customers’ plates and help them meet their objectives.”
The experts at Learn, Design, Apply Inc. can also help applicants strategize how to maintain its programs in the future. “The worst case scenario is that a grant is used up and there’s no sustainability plan to continue those efforts after the grant has expired,” Hultman said. “The best case scenario is that a client leverages grants consistently, receiving the initial grant to get off the ground and then coming back for additional grants in smaller amounts to expand the program.”
Companies interested in the grant program can get started by visiting the Zonar Grant Assistance Program page on Zonar’s website.