Fleets need to adopt strict policies to give AFVs ‘fair chance’, FleetCheck
Business need to adopt structured policies matching alternative
fuel vehicles to the right purpose in order to give them a ‘fair chance’ to
integrate into fleets successfully, according to FleetCheck.
The fleet management software specialist says that so far alternative
fuel vehicles adoption has quite often been haphazard and that some fleets have
already become wary of emerging technologies as a result.
Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “We
are already seeing this with plug-in hybrids. Some fleets have started using
them, often at the behest of drivers looking to minimise taxation, and found
that they do not work well in common fleet applications, such as for regular
long journeys where electric power is barely used.
“We have even come across instances where plug-ins have been
allocated to drivers who do not have driveways at home, so cannot charge the
vehicles, which makes little sense at all.
“These possibilities become even more acute with electric
vehicles, which remain only suitable for quite specialised fleet applications
at present. There are many, many potential pitfalls.”
Fleets needed to create structured policies that enabled
them to carefully match driver and vehicle to their job needs and personal
circumstances, added Mr Golding, in order to maximise the benefits of alternative
He said: “There is a general consensus across the industry
that fleets of the near future will contain a mix of diesel, petrol, plug-in
hybrid, conventional hybrid and electric vehicles.
“For these strategies to work, vehicles need to be matched
to purpose in a strictly exact fashion, otherwise alternative fuel vehicles will
not be given a fair chance on fleets and rates of adoption may suffer as a
“Even in quite small fleets, it seems to us, written
policies will be needed to ensure that this happens in a way that works for
fleets. These should include profiling the way in which the vehicle is likely
to be used, the driver’s circumstances, fuelling and more.
“Of course, where choice lists exist, these profiles should
be integrated in a way that is fair and easily understood by employees.”
Mr Golding said that FleetCheck were already becoming
involved in helping construct policies of that kind for fleets.
He continued: “Certainly, we have customers who are taking alternative
fuel vehicles seriously but don’t want to make mistakes when it comes to
adoption. They have been asking us about the best ways to start to integrate
them into our fleet.
“This is a
consultancy skill that is developing across the industry but one that needs to
quite quickly mature in order for everyone to make the most of the advantages
that alternative fuel vehicles provide while avoiding obvious issues.”