Naeem Farooqi: Exhibiting Proficiency in Zero-Emission Mobility

Naeem Farooqi | Founder | Fleet Zero
Naeem Farooqi | Founder | Fleet Zero

Technology has embarked humanity on a path of exponential growth, undisputed evolution, and progress. It continues to provide solutions to realms of human life and enhance its quality. However, adjourning innovations to bring constant reformations in technological developments becomes necessary when you need to tackle never-ending difficulties, especially when technology is actively assisting in abridging the typical obstacles.

At such time, we need trailblazers who take up the initiative that remodels the technological reformations in order to introduce ecological backup in daily advancements. Naeem Farooqi, Founder of FleetZero, is a reformer who leads a zero-emission mobility team that focuses on solving challenges and delivering roadmaps for fleet electrification. Naeem concentrates on creating a center of excellence in support asset management, economic analysis, as well as charging and fueling infrastructure for both electric and hydrogen vehicle adoption.

FleetZero is a global start-up in consulting and engineering across the fleet energy transition, helping to unlock solutions to some of the world’s most critical transportation decarbonization challenges.

Naeem has been in the transportation industry for a long time; through his expertise, he comprehends that overseeing ecological supervision is high time. In an interview with CIOLook, Naeem walked us through his journey along with the significance of FleetZero in the ever-evolving modern transportation sector.

Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at FleetZero. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?

I have been in the transportation industry for 15 years, starting as a statistics intern for the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA). I was able to use this role to understand the transit industry, from which I transitioned to Metrolinx (a regional transit planning body). At Metrolinx, I took a deep dive into the supply chain and government procurement.

I assisted with joint procurements of buses and the first-ever vendor-managed inventory project, which won industry accolades. From there, I moved into senior-level roles in the private sector, which led me to consult.

Consulting is an opportunity to apply skills and capabilities across various projects. No two days are the same, and the work can take you to remote places. In my roles, I have faced challenges questioning whether I have the right education or experience. I have had clients question to ask why they should listen to me. I treat each interaction as an opportunity to grow as an individual and show others my true capabilities.

Enlighten us on how you have impacted the transportation sector through your expertise in the industry.

FleetZero is a global startup. Our goal is to be Future Ready by deploying solutions and offerings that advance sustainability across many sectors in transportation.

I have spent the last 15 years working in two primary fields of transportation. One is asset management, and the other is zero-emission mobility. Within asset management, I have helped governments and private organizations understand how to manage their vast transportation assets and use data to make complex decisions. I have developed complex Total Cost of Ownership models, which have improved bus lifecycle costs for various transit agencies.

I also have the privilege of being the instructor for the CUTA asset management course for the industry. In the area of Zero Emission Mobility, I have completed over 40 projects around the globe to help fleets transition toward alternative propulsion technologies. I helped bring the first electric bus to Lima, Peru and launch the first electric on-demand pilot in Saint John’s, New Brunswick (Canada).

Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives FleetZero.

Our work culture is derived from our team approach to solving complex problems using data. We work as a collaborative unit to ensure high-quality delivery to clients. In the event of setbacks, we use challenging situations as an opportunity at an individual and team level. We lean into our fleet heritage and bring data into the mix.

Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?

We are using technology and digital twining to address the anxiety of range and power demand for electric fleet transitions. Our toolkit is made up of FleetShift and has been developed using real-world data and a process of digital twinning of the asset. This offers our clients more accuracy in simulation results. This, in turn, provides greater confidence and flexibility in understanding the trade-offs of adding elements to electric fleets, such as USB chargers on buses and operating on extremely cold days.

What change would you like to bring to the transportation sector if given a chance?

I want to continue to expand the electric and hydrogen bus propulsion type for transit. I believe we have a significant global opportunity to reduce emissions from transportation, which roughly accounts for 25% of all GHG emissions. Expanding electric and hydrogen bus adoption would improve the quality of life for a large segment of the population around the globe. I have directly seen the impact of bringing electric buses to Lima, Peru, and other cities across the world. Moreover, I see myself continuing as a leader in the space and expanding our startup to new countries and markets globally.

What, according to you, could be the following significant change in the transportation sector? How is FleetZero preparing to be a part of that change?

Fixed route transit has evolved as Mobility as a service opportunity, and on-demand transit gains greater user acceptance. Current technology platforms like Uber and Lyft have helped transit re-think how we move around our cities and towns.

This will be an excellent opportunity for mixing zero-emission mobility vehicles and new software solutions to usher in the next era of public transit.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the transportation sector?

Speak to individuals within the industry and use platforms like LinkedIn to see what current leaders in the field are doing. Early in my career, I would organize coffees with executives from companies I was interested in learning more about.

This allowed me to network and find job opportunities. Following COVID-19 lockdowns, I converted my networking approach to virtual coffees and have continued to build new relationships and gain insights from my peers on a global stage.