Find out how a career conversion landed this ERS alumn in the driver’s seat of a hot green energy startup
Switching a vehicle fleet from traditional fuels to environmentally sustainable ones isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for business. That’s the pitch Environment and Resource Studies graduate Eric Mallia makes every day as the general manager of FleetCarma, a Waterloo-based startup dedicated to reducing costs and emissions in North America’s largest corporate and government vehicle fleets.
“FleetCarma focuses on two things for a fleet,” Mallia explains. “The first is providing technology for clients to track key performance metrics of their vehicles, and the second is helping organizations pick the right vehicles for their fleet applications. We show them through modeling and simulation the advantages of higher efficiency vehicles over time, before they commit to the capital costs of new vehicle purchases.”
While the expertise and information that goes into the fleet modeling is complex, the results are usually simple. Organizations learn how to save money if they switch to hybrid and electrics, and avoid the risks of choosing a vehicle that wouldn’t work well for them. It’s an equation that has earned FleetCarma clients such as the City of Toronto, BC Hydro, Manitoba Public Insurance, and of course the University of Waterloo.
Like the fleets themselves, Mallia went through his own environmentally friendly conversion not long after graduating with an undergraduate degree in business from Wilfrid Laurier University. “I got a job selling products to major retailers,” he says. “We were always focused on growing consumption; there was something that rubbed me the wrong way about it.”
After travelling the world and doing some soul-searching, Mallia decided he would like to pursue a career that had some social value. “As I looked into it more, I gravitated more to the environmental side of it,” he says. “I looked into programs where I could study that, and it led me to the Faculty of Environment at University of Waterloo.”
At the Faculty of Environment he focused his studies on energy efficiency and became involved in the EcoCAR Challenge, a three-year collegiate engineering competition which challenges 15 universities across North America to reduce the environmental impact of a GM-donated vehicle without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.
As the lead of business and outreach on the EcoCAR team, he met the two men who would eventually create FleetCarma as an extension of their hybrid and electric vehicle consulting business CrossChasm.
“I got to know them, and they got to know me. I was pretty well-prepared working on the energy side from Environment, and the Business side with my past experience, and also the automotive side with EcoCAR.”
In the past few months, Eric and his colleagues have launched MyCarma, which focuses on providing individual car buyers, rather than fleet operators, with the same ability to determine if higher efficiency vehicles like a hybrids and electrics will save them money. MyCarma is a service currently being offered through car dealerships in Toronto and Waterloo.
“It has been great to work on the FleetCarma and MyCarma technologies and services. I know that I’m really doing all that I can to create economic development that provides social value – growth that considers conservation as an integral element of sustainable consumption.”