There’s been a huge amount of discussion in the past couple of years as to the future of vehicle fleets. Much of this has revolved around the (supposed) death of diesels and the (slow) rise of electric vehicles. Something that has been less widely debated, but which could turn out to have a far greater impact, is the idea that within 20 years private ownership of cars will be a thing of the past. With costs of ownership rising and with environmental concerns becoming more compelling, and with driverless cars appearing on our streets, reports are predicting a fall in vehicle ownership of 80% by as early 2030.
The idea of moving away from vehicle ownership is one that’s already starting to take hold in the fleet sector with the increasing adoption of fleet mobility.
Fleet mobility is a relatively new way for businesses to get its people from A-B without having sole reliance on company vehicles. Companies using mobility schemes will look to use all available methods of transportation to get the job done. So, as well as traditional fleets they will use public transport, private vehicles (so-called ‘grey fleets’) and hire cars. Their rise has been brought about in an effort to reduce businesses environmental impact and also to reduce costs. The introduction of this method of operating a fleet can reduce costs in terms of owning, insuring and maintaining vehicles. It can also help by allowing for the merging of fleet, travel and compliance departments.
Fleet mobility is an increasingly popular development. As leading research company Frost and Williams put it, ‘We are witnessing a shift away from just considering the total cost of ownership of fleet towards managing the total cost of mobility for the organisation.’
With its cost savings and the reduction in environmental damage, running a business fleet in this way makes for an attractive proposition, after all what company doesn’t want to save money? So, does this mean that we’re witnessing the death of fleets as businesses follow private individuals in the abandoning the idea of vehicle ownership? Well before we get carried away there a few things we need to consider.
Most people in the industry would agree that something has to change for fleets to survive. The crackdown on diesels, spiralling taxes – both benefit in kind and vehicle excise duty – delays in electric vehicle adoption and the emergence of driverless vehicles and the pressing need for clean air and the increasing use of clean air zones, are all challenges fleets have to overcome. Fleet mobility certainly can go some way to answering these problems but, in our opinion, they are not the simple answer. Realistically it will take a combination of electric vehicles, fleet mobility, technology and a willingness of company vehicle drivers to deliver the long-term future of fleets.
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