Fleet Buying in a Changing World
Originally uploaded on March 21, 2022
It’s no secret that the past two years have been tough for those managing fleets. Lockdowns, fuel price surges, and driver shortages have left the industry reeling and many fleet managers asking about the future of diesel and petrol fleets. With the incoming government regulations for the UK to reach net zero by 2050 including banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, those in charge of fleet buying are now beginning to look to the future.
While it isn’t realistic to expect a fleet to roll out electric vehicles (or EVs) en masse, when buying for your fleet, it is now a good time to be looking at filtering in EVs. Previously, electric vehicles have been both challenging to procure and difficult to facilitate for long journeys. So, should fleets switch to electric vehicles?
Should I move away from petrol and diesel when buying fleet vehicles?
The government policies to reduce carbon emissions are being put in place with the aim of lessening the consequences of climate change before the world reaches a “point of no return”.
The most widely discussed and commonly known advantage of electric vehicles is their lack of exhaust emissions. This is of vital importance to the reduction of the effects of climate change and the wellbeing of future generations. This means that, when fleet buying, it will not only be a morally influenced decision to go green, but one of legal obligation and logistical necessity.
In addition to this, as a result of the environmental crisis, customers are now considering companies’ green policies and actions when looking at who they’re spending with. At the same time, they are still wanting fast delivery and service. Fleetnews have stated that 80% shoppers want same day shipping, at the same time, 81% customers want companies to work towards helping the environment.
This means that companies need to be environmentally aware yet able to operate at their previous capacity in order to please their consumer base. With this in mind, it is best for fleet managers to consider introducing electric or hybrid vehicles into their fleets in a phased approach to minimize any disruptions to their operations.
Can an electric vehicle save me money?
More recently, fleet managers operating fleets using petrol and diesel vehicles will have been feeling the pinch of rising fuel prices. During the first quarter of 2022, fuel prices rose to their highest rate since 2008 due to a variety of factors. This rise in prices has made the prospect of turning away from fossil fuels even more appealing to many fleet managers.
Notably, electric vehicles generally benefit from lower running costs. EVs require less maintenance than traditional diesel or petrol vehicles due to the decreased number of moving parts within their engines. There is also no need for costly and time-consuming oil changes. As well as saving you money on the upfront cost of repairs, this also reduces operational downtime and keeps your fleet on the road.
However, the comparison between the price to refuel a diesel or petrol vehicle and the price to recharge an EV is a bit of a tempestuous subject. Which is better value for the upfront refuelling/recharging price fluctuates depending on the market prices of oil vs electricity.
Saying this, on average, it does usually cost less to charge an EV. Wilsons previously estimated that, for those with a 30-minute daily commute, an EV could save them up to £850 per year, but bear in mind that this may not accurately reflect the savings for fleet use. When buying, it’s best to assess this on a business-by-business basis.
Planning the move to electric
When moving your fleet to electric and hybrid vehicles, make sure you have time to manage a considered and careful transition.
The best way to approach this change would be to assess your current fleet and see if there are any vehicles that are costing you more in repairs then they are perhaps worth. If you source your vehicles through a provider or vehicle management service, get in touch with your account manager to discuss the range of more sustainable models available that would suit your fleets needs moving forwards.
There will be a stage of trial and error when it comes to finding out which electric or hybrid vehicles are right for you and your fleet, but you’ll find that, in the long run, the transition is worth it both financially and logistically.
You will also need to plan how your drivers will charge their vehicles. Previously, fleet managers have been hesitant to switch to EVs due to the lower amount of charge points compared to fuel stations. However, between 2019 and 2023, the number of EV models available has been predicted to double and the rollout of charge points is constantly increasing the ability to charge vehicles on the go. The ever-increasing amount of charge points across the country will help fleets during the transition away from petrol and diesel in the coming years.
If on the road, you’ll find that fuel cards are, of course, still available for electric vehicles. Our Chargemate fuel card offers access to the expanding network of charge points whilst still giving you access to the comprehensive fleet services we provide.
If you would like any help with your future fleet buying and options, or would like us to run our personalised analysis on your current fuel spend free of charge, get in touch today.