Some of Europe’s largest and most influential corporate fleets participate in one of the continent’s biggest ever mobility trials.
Rental and business mobility company SIXT launched the Sixt Mobility Club at the start of the Smart Mobility Institute in Brussels on 14 May. The Sixt Mobility is a new European mobility practice pilot with fleet and mobility customers, with the goal to learn about mobility management behaviour. Each fleet will then involve 10 to 20 employees in the programme, creating a real-life user group of 300 to 400 company car drivers who forfeit the keys to their cars and instead use a mobility budget to pay for their business and private travel over a three-month period.
Participants are based across western Europe, primarily in the Benelux region, France, Germany, Spain and the UK. They also represent all grades of seniority within their organisations and their mobility budgets are determined by the total cost of ownership of their current company cars. One of the objectives of the discovery phase of the project is to analyse the accuracy of setting a mobility budget based on current car costs.
How will fleets transition from vehicle ownership to usership?
The pilot aims to explore how the fleet sector can transition from the ownership to the usership of cars by recording actual human behaviours when employees are presented with a free choice of how to travel, rather than defaulting automatically to a company car.
Stuart Donnelly, senior director – Group International Sales (Europe/USA), SIXT, said: “We recognise that everyone is talking about mobility, but no one is actually doing it. So we decided to create an exclusive members club where we would bring together around 20 senior professionals from major corporate fleets who have enough fleet behind them to bring about a change.”
When participating employees do not need or want a car, they will simply return it to their local SIXT rental station.
“Today, people have a car 100% of the time and they have 100% of the cost. But if you could realise how much at a unit level it cost per mile or per minute to run that car, then maybe you would be more comfortable with the idea that there is a better way than owning the car,” said Donnelly.
Multi-modal mobility access
Participating employees have a SIXT Mobility Card to access rental cars, ride hailing services and shared cars, and will also be able to use trains and metros.
“We are very intrigued to understand the percentages of utilisation of different modes of mobility,” said Donnelly.
The mobility budget also allows drivers to be flexible in their vehicle choice depending on how many days per month they actually need a car. It is possible, for example, for participants to use any underspend in their budgets to upgrade their hire car for a weekend, or to use the budget for a hire car on holiday.
SIXT Mobility Club launch
The SIXT Mobility Club was launched in Brussels on 14 May, with presentations from companies such as McKinsey, Mercer, and insights from the corporate fleet managers of Microsoft, MSD and Phillips. Their brainstorming session was represented graphically by a cartoonist (see photograph).
At the end of the pilot scheme, SIXT aims to present a white paper based on qualitative data from fleet operators and quantitative data from their entire company car driver populations to present a vision of how mobility budgets could work in practice.
This report will also enable SIXT to engage with tax authorities about how mobility budgets might be taxed, so that tax regimes can catch up with developments in mobility.
“We are looking to help the industry change and bring about the future of mobility and bring action. Today there’s a lot of talk and no action, but with this unique initiative we are going to change this, together with the customer,” said Donnelly.