20th July 2016

Average fleets could include 5% fewer diesel vehicles by 2021

According to the UK fleets Arval interviewed for their 2016 Corporate Vehicle Observatory (CVO) Barometer1, 86% of their vehicles run on diesel, which is unsurprising as it has long been the primary fuel for business. However, the fleet managers surveyed said that they expect their diesel reliance to fall to an average of 81% in five years’ time.

Analysed further, managers of smaller fleets with 40 or less vehicles estimate that their diesel car parc will only reduce by 1%, so it is clearly larger fleets that will account for the more significant overall drop, their managers forecasting a shift of over 10%, from 88% diesel in 2016 to 76% by 2021.

With the Institute for Public Policy Research’s latest report2 describing London’s air as ‘both lethal and illegal’ and attributing a large part of this ‘public health crisis’ to diesel vehicles in the capital, combined with new Mayor Sadiq Khan looking set to introduce an additional £10 T-Charge3 for all vehicles with pre-Euro 4 emissions standards, it’s likely that hybrid or full EV adoption will accelerate in the capital and southern counties in particular.

The irony with the seeming U-turn on diesel vehicles is that March 2016 saw the government’s Plug-In Car Grant4 revised and tiers introduced, category 1 vehicles required to emit 50g/km CO2 or less and provide a zero-emission range of 70 miles or more in exchange for a £4,500 discount, £500 less than the original grant.

Arval’s CVO Barometer found that 34% of the fleets they spoke to already run at least one conventional hybrid vehicle, whilst 26% of their managers are contemplating purchasing or leasing one or more fully electric cars or vans in the near future – which 17% of the participating fleets already include.

Despite stating that this trend puts the UK in front of Europe when it comes to alternative powertrain adoption, Arval concedes that diesel will still form the most cost-effective, efficient and practical choice for many business fleets and drivers for years to come.

Conventional hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) like the Mitsubishi Outlander and pure EVs including the Nissan e-NV200 may seem relatively expensive to the fleet managers of more traditional businesses, but can improve employee wellbeing through their quiet operation, tangibly bolster organisation’s CSR policies and result in significant fuel savings being achieved in the medium-term and beyond.

The last but by no means least benefit cited is especially experienced when a telematics solution is procured at the same time, such driver monitoring technology assisting and encouraging employees to drive more efficiently as well as safely, reducing CO2 emissions and accidents as a result. Traditional notions over black box telematics solutions being expensive, involving fleet vehicles being taken off the road for installation purposes and being shunned by employees over privacy concerns are being quickly dispelled by cutting-edge products like Appy Fleet

A completely app-based system run from employees’ smartphones, Appy Fleet removes the need for physical installation and related vehicle downtime, and employees can simply deactivate the app when they are using their company or personal grey fleet vehicles for non-business journeys.

Vehicle usages and requirements have a strong bearing on the viability of alternative fuels for certain businesses and the shift away from diesel may even turn out to be more significant than Arval predicts if electric vehicle battery ranges and charging times improve considerably over the next two or three years. In these exciting times for business and technology, fleet managers certainly have an unprecedented array of vehicles to choose from.


1 http://fleetworld.co.uk/diesel-use-to-fall-over-next-five-years-predict-uk-fleets/

2 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/18/ban-diesel-cars-in-london-thinktank-urges

3 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/99656818-42b0-11e6-b22f-79eb4891c97d.html

4 https://www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants/eligibility