Improving your company vehicles

Business Insights

Do you need to upgrade your business' vehicles? You should be thinking towards the future and with this in mind, what should your first step be?

There are a lot of options which can be overwhelming at first. Whether it's changing your operation, switching types of vehicles, electrifying vehicles or any combination of these. If you want to get some help, consider contacting the fleet team at Energy Saving Trust. Otherwise, keep reading to see what's important.

What's clear is that you're going to have to do something and the sooner you do, the better you'll future proof your business. From 2035, new petrol and diesel cars and vans will no longer be allowed to be sold due to the UK government's zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate. This means that all new cars and vans must be fully zero emission at the tailpipe. You'll need to do some planning now, as there's a lot to think about with decarbonisation and greener technologies.

Transitioning your fleet to be more sustainable involves its own set of challenges. From assessing carbon footprints to vehicle analysis, infrastructure assessments, and practical training for drivers, you'll need to look at what's relevant for your operation to understand how you can make a greener future for your fleet.

So where should you start? First, you'll need to understand your fleet's environmental impact and the cost of running and maintaining. This can be done with a carbon footprint and pollutant assessment and a full review of fleet practices to uncover operational and vehicle efficiencies. To ensure an accurate assessment, you should get an expert to support you.

Once you've done your benchmarking and assessments, looking at the vehicles and your depots should be next on your list. Choosing the right zero-emission technology that's fit for your organisation's requirements is crucial. You'll want to look at the operational suitability of electrifying your vehicles and for this you'll need to consider energy consumption, usage, battery size and charging requirements. The cost of vehicle electrification should be forecasted on a total cost of ownership basis as it will be expensive up-font, but could make significant savings in the long-term.

Developing a replacement strategy, to ensure a smooth transition to greener vehicles, is also a must, especially for light commercial vehicles (LCVs) such as vans, or heavy goods vehicles (HGV) if you have any. Beyond the vehicles themselves, you'll also need to consider your depot charging infrastructure if you're going electric. This means analysing energy use, planning optimal EV charging setups and assessing grid capacity or upgrades needed at your depots.

That's the main vehicle fleet considered, but what about the others? Your business might also have another fleet, outside of your company vehicles something called a grey fleet. These are personal vehicles used for business purposes. Grey fleet vehicles pose their own challenges as they can be costly if you ignore them. You should be keeping track of emissions and costs associated with them and developing a strategy to reduce grey fleet mileage, as these vehicles will cost your business a lot in the long run. One of the best ways to do this can be to offer your staff alternative modes of transport to use, such as a public transport travel pass or company vehicle.

When it comes to sustainable or alternate transport, you'll need to get all your employees on board. Consider training courses on electric vehicles, active travel and the importance of making your fleet greener. Helping staff understand how essential it is to make this transition is important to get their buy-in and to support your strategy. You or your staff can join Energy Saving Trust's webinar on fleet decarbonisation on 6 February 2024 to get a better understanding of this.

Embarking on the journey to fleet decarbonisation will require a close eye and a tailored and practical approach. If this all sounds like a bit much to manage, consider getting in touch with the fleet advice team at Energy Saving Trust. They offer flexibility to address specific needs, refining vehicle specifications, optimizing infrastructure, or providing essential training.