Strong desire for alternative fuels, but conditions for adoption are poor

The fleet industry has a strong desire to use alternative fuels, but conditions to promote their adoption remain poor, an AA spokesperson said at the recent FTA Future Logistics Expo in Warwickshire.

“Even though alternative fuels are in their infancy, there is a strong desire to embrace them,” said Richard Foster, commercial assistance manager at the AA. “The Government now needs to create the right environment to help them flourish. Fleets want to play their part in making environmental improvements within their sector, embracing new technology, and working with manufacturers to help clean up our air but none of this can be done in isolation. A clear steer on government policy, the provision of financial incentives that help fleets switch to clean vehicles, and cooperation from other industries will all improve our air quality.”

Richard argued that inadequate infrastructure outside of urbanised areas was holding back widespread adoption of electric vehicles among fleets and that many fleets are looking at other options such as hydrogen-powered vehicles too.

“Those early to adopt electric vehicles say that they are largely satisfied with their performance, according to The Operational Fleet Insight Report 2018,” Richard said. “Nevertheless, cost and operational functionality remain key concerns. For example, a quarter of fleet managers said that the time it takes to charge, as well as a lack of nationwide charging points, are the main reasons why they have not ‘electrified’ their fleets.

“A genuine alternative, especially for HGV fleets, lies in the use of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. Recognising this requirement, we will shortly be incorporating a mini hydrogen dispenser into one of our Fuel Assist vehicles, which assist motorists who have misfuelled their vehicles. The system will use a unit supplied by Fuel Cell Systems and is set to be one of the world’s first Fuel Assist services for alternative fuels. It was displayed on The AA’s stand at the FTA event, where it attracted considerable interest from event visitors.”

To download a copy of the Operational Fleet Insight Report, please visit: www.fleetsolutions.bt.com/insight.

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