From carrying capacity to build and engine type, fleet managers must select and procure the right vehicle for the job, and at an early stage it’s important to consider how these vehicles will be powered.
Talking on the topic, Ashley Sowerby, Managing Director (above) of Chevin Fleet Solutions , a leading global provider of fleet management software, said, “The drive to utilise more sustainable and cost-effective vehicles has led to more choices than ever before when it comes to engine and drivetrain options, so it’s vital that organisations compile a comprehensive selection strategy to enable highly informed choices.
“Ultimately, careful consideration of fuel type can help to improve fuel economy, curb emissions, comply with legislation and cut total cost of ownership (TCO). The best way to analyse these elements is to invest in fleet management software, such as Chevin’s FleetWave.”
Diesel, once the most popular fuel in the UK market thanks to its low-carbon make-up, has this year been overtaken by its petrol rival with new registrations accounting for only 44.5% of the market in February 2017; significantly falling behind petrol vehicles which claimed a 51.5% share.
“This shift is not entirely unprecedented of course. Diesels, once the undisputed industry favourite, have taken considerable knocks to their reputation over the past years due to the issue of high NOx emissions. Meanwhile the Government revealed that the 3% ‘Benefit in Kind’ surcharge on diesels would not be abolished until 2021 – and as of April 2017 fleets will also take a hit from changes to Vehicle Excise Duty; from this point only newly-registered cars with no tailpipe emissions at all will be exempt from VED tax”, Ashley added.
Diesel vehicles are still a serious contender, though. Despite higher purchase and fueling costs, diesels are considered a better ‘all-rounder’ as they typically carry lower repair and maintenance outlays, have lower depreciation rates and maintain more value over time.
An alternative to diesel-powered models are Electric vehicles (EVs), which run 100% on electricity supplied from a rechargeable battery pack and provide a quiet, clean form of transport with a complete absence of tailpipe emissions.
Ashley went on, “As a fairly new addition to the automotive marketplace, there are a number of pros and cons to using these types of vehicles in a fleet. Low emissions make them a strong contender for town and city driving – where charges or bans might apply for vehicles emitting harmful pollutants – not to mention the comparatively low cost of charging EVs, which provides significant potential for reducing fuel expenditure. ‘Refueling’ does, however, take significantly longer and charging points are not as readily available as traditional pumps.”
EVs also require less servicing and maintenance than vehicles with internal combustion engines, however, there is only a very small range of models available compared to conventionally-fueled vehicles, initial purchase costs are considerably higher and, generally speaking, EV vehicles are better suited to short-distance journeys.
“At Chevin, it’s our belief that implementing result-driven decisions based on sound and accurate knowledge about your operations is the best strategy for weathering changes in the most efficient manner – so we recommend taking steps to gather as much data as possible, to help you make more balanced decisions about fuel choices.
“Our FleetWave product (illustrated above) has a proven track record in allowing our clients to make better, fully-informed purchasing decisions, providing a means of comparison across all business areas.
“Ultimately we don’t know exactly what changes the future will bring – and there’s really no single or simple answer to the question of what fuel to use in your fleet. But as always, the best decisions will be made by those organisations that are proactive rather than reactive.”