Hybrids can’t replace diesels without fleet policy changes, says FleetCheck
FleetCheck is warning of poor fuel economy and an increase in emissions
for fleets moving to plug-in hybrids, unless accompanied by significant fleet
The fleet software and management specialist says that a number of issues need
to be tackled - from making charging points available to teaching drivers new
Peter Golding, managing director, said: “With the ongoing ‘demonisation’ of
diesel, plug-in hybrids are being presented as a potential like-for-like
replacement offering similar fuel economy and improved emissions.
“However, as some fleets are already finding, this is not really the
case. Before committing to use this technology, organisations really need to
ensure that they have policy measures in place to ensure that they access the
benefits they seek.
“If they don’t look carefully at how they plan to operate these vehicles, they
could find various problems arising very quickly, most notably poor fuel
economy and the resulting increase in emissions.”
A key point, Mr Golding explained, was ensuring that drivers had access to
charging, ideally both at home and at work.
He said: “The strong fuel economy and emissions that plug-in hybrids deliver in
the official figures are entirely dependent on their electric range being
maximised. If drivers cannot charge them easily, then fuel economy will suffer.
“Certainly, it must be a matter of policy that any driver issued with a plug-in
hybrid should have off-road parking with charging available.”
Mr Golding said that drivers would also need guidance on how to get the
best fuel economy out of their hybrid, which might require changes in their
He said: “Depending on how the hybrid is engineered, some drivers will use the
electric motor to add to the acceleration of the combustion engine and access
very strong performance.
“However, driving the car in this way will remove the fuel economy advantages.
Drivers must be shown how to get the most out of their hybrid and this may
require some kind of formalised training and regular monitoring of fuel
In many cases, Mr Golding said, fleets would still come to the conclusion that
diesel was the best option in terms of fuel economy and emissions.
He concluded: “For higher mileage drivers especially, there is every suggestion
that a Euro6 emission diesel remains the most environmentally responsible
solution, whatever the press, pressure groups and others are saying about its
impact on air quality.”