Is it time to rationalise your fleet?

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 10:06
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Businesses have dealt with vast change throughout the pandemic. Ever-changing restrictions have forced many to re-think their overall strategy, which has had a radical impact on business fleets.

Fleet ManagementAt the same time, Covid-19 has given businesses a renewed focus on lowering carbon emissions and the role they play in the journey to net zero. Yes, emissions fell drastically as the world slowed down significantly, but they are on the rise again. A recent report by the IEA found that in December, global emissions were 2% higher than they were in the same month a year earlier.

We all have a vital part to play in tackling climate change. And with road transport making up over a quarter of the UK’s CO2 emissions, every vehicle in your fleet counts.

With change comes opportunity. This new-found perspective gives you the chance to re-examine your fleet’s make-up through a green lens and find efficiencies. Now is the time to do just that, so here are some vital questions to ask to help rationalise your fleet.

What do you really need?

The first and most important question to ask yourself is: Which vehicles are critical to what you do? This will help you to work out which vehicles your business can’t do without, and which, in light of all the changes that may have happened over the last 12 months, are no longer needed.

Assessing the make-up of your fleet can be challenging. There are always arguments to be made for keeping different assets. Yes, the handful of smaller vehicles sitting in the yard are useful for shorter, unexpected one-off journeys. But are those journeys really necessary? Consider how your business can adopt new practices to maximise fleet efficiency without holding onto vehicles you may not need.

If you’ve asked yourself this question before, don’t avoid answering it again now. Having re-assessed your business needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have surplus vehicles now. Historically, drivers may have travelled hundreds of miles for meetings each week, but many of those might be remote conference calls going forward. Likewise, if your company is considering making flexible working a permanent benefit, you might find yourself with quite a few vehicles sitting idle on driveways.

Once you’ve established your business-critical fleet, you should take the opportunity to identify potential vehicles that can be shifted to electric.

Is your fleet right for you?

Fleet suitability is all about assessing what your vehicles are doing day-to-day. Ask yourself how far they travel. Where to? How long are they used? How long are they idle for?

Fully understanding your fleet’s patterns is key to choosing the right vehicles. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your fleet software, like telematics, to assess this.

Electrification is a vital step on the journey to net zero. So, businesses should always be reviewing the type of vehicles in their fleet, with the aim to switch to EVs at the earliest opportunity.

You also need to look to the future, as upcoming rules and regulations might impact your fleet policy. For example, over the next few years more towns and cities will introduce Clean Air Zones (CAZ), which could come at a considerable financial cost if you have the wrong type of vehicles in your fleet. As well as this, with consumers, employees and investors becoming increasingly focused on the environmental impact of the companies they buy from, work for and invest in, businesses need to act now to ensure they are not left behind as the world moves away from less environmentally friendly modes of transport. Businesses need to act now and invest in EVs, enabling them to benefit from early savings and futureproof their operations.

Do the finances stack up?

The next question to ask is yourself is: How much is each vehicle costing over its lifetime?

EVs have seemingly high sticker prices, putting many businesses off. But research shows that they not only benefit the environment but can be good for your bank account too.

Lower running and maintenance costs, coupled with government incentives and avoiding both congestion and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charges, mean that EVs can be cost effective over their total lifetime. If you’re investing in a large fleet, there’s potential for huge savings through electrification.

 As the world is beginning to reset, now is a good time to reassess your fleet policy and think towards the future. A fit-for-purpose fleet will meet the needs of both your business and drivers and should also be economical. Not only that but streamlining fleets and transitioning to EVs will also play a key role in reaching the UK’s net zero target, supporting the fight against the climate crisis.

Author: Adam Hall, Head of Electric Vehicles at Drax Group

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