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DOSSIER I Green Fleet Management

To meet the needs of the corporate fleet market The case for and against integrating hybrid, electric, fuel cell and natural gas vehicles in to corporate fleets as well as the role of these powertrains in overall corporate sustainability are well discussed subjects hence it was, with a degree of apprehension, that I accepted the invite from Fleet Europe to add further commentary on these topics.


t was primarily the positioning of the brief around new alternative powertrains that convinced me to take up this opportunity since the words ‘new’ and ‘alternative’ struck me as somewhat counter-intuitive when considering how best to meet the needs of the corporate fleet manager. Words define the message and in the case of alternative one finds via a thesaurus the words substitute, unconventional, unusual, marginal and out of the ordinary as alternatives for alternative. Such traits within a corporate environment, where assets and their performance need to conform, be understood and fit for purpose, are therefore likely to deter rather than attract. Where retail customers are concerned new is largely accepted as being better than old however this rule does not equally apply in a corporate context. Take mobile devices as an example, there are few people who would choose against the latest Android or Apple model but Blackberry, in spite of all the upheaval and uncertainty within the business, continues to retain a share of the major corporate market for the reasons mentioned previously. The same applies where internal



combustion engines are concerned. Think company car and most would picture a fuel efficient, low CO2 emitting, mid-sized diesel vehicle undertaking journeys throughout the day and registering significantly higher than average annual mileage. Vehicles are working and depreciating assets that a corporate fleet manager must be able to cost and quantify in terms of reliability and durability therefore new and alternative are unlikely to score highly in the fleet procurement decision-making process. So given this backdrop what is the future for alternative powertrains in a corporate context and what needs to change for their adoption to evolve and become an established part of company policy? Meeting the needs of the Corporate Fleet Manager I am confident alternative powertrains will find their way in to commercial fleets where the case is robustly made for their inclusion. Fleet vehicles are not bought as a lifestyle choice or statement; vehicles are brought into a commercial fleet to meet a specific need and to undertake a specific purpose. By understanding in some detail

Financial incentives are key in giving business the confidence to adopt alternative powertrain vehicles in their fleet. what vehicles are being used for and the needs of those driving the vehicles i.e. company car, job need, pool car etc. so alternative vehicles which meet these requirements can then be considered. Be it hybrid, EV or hydrogen the overriding question in the mind of the corporate fleet manager remains – what impact will the vehicle have on my the total cost of ownership (TCO). This article cannot do full justice to all elements of TCO therefore I shall focus primarily on depreciation. Where purchase price is concerned the current position is clear; alternatives are more expensive than their equivalent petrol or diesel engine vehicles. Not only are they more expensive to buy new there remains limited demand in the used car market for al-

Fleet Europe 068  
Fleet Europe 068  

Dossier Green Fleet Management 2014