Nearly 88% of fleet industry experts believe that reducing emissions should be a priority but there are major concerns over business disruption, reflecting widespread confusion over emerging technology and future Government policy.
Analysis carried out for Allstar Business Solutions – and presented in its new white paper on ‘Navigating the Alternatively Fuelled Future’ – finds that a large number of businesses say they want to harness the benefits of alternatively fuelled vehicles in the near future.
The research of 250 fleet and business leaders reveals that a quarter of respondents plan to dip their toe in the AFV water in the next 12 months, some 38% in the next two years, and a further 25% in the next three to five years.
Allstar’s research also shows that almost two-thirds (62%) of businesses with more than 50 employees have some type of alternatively fuelled vehicles as part of their current fleet mix.
However, a large number of fleets have yet to make any deep commitment to AFVs. Some 22% of overall respondents say only 5-10% of their fleet is alternative fuel (and of those almost all are non-plug-in hybrids), while 22% haven’t invested in any at all.
This lack of investment is partly due to businesses’ fears about embracing the new technology. Allstar’s researchers found that 60% of fleet operators believe that transitioning to AFVs will disrupt their business in the near future.
The research also reveals significant roadblocks to the introduction in any numbers of AFVs. Barriers include confusion over Government policy, concerns over delays in roll-out and investment in the recharging/refuelling infrastructure, understanding real-world ranges and how to manage them, and issues over total cost of ownership. Uncertainty about which type of AFV to invest in is also leading fleet operators to tread carefully when transitioning their fleet.
To help support businesses in making the switch to AFVs, both now and in the future, the Allstar report gives guidance on four key areas.
- Policy – Navigating the politics surrounding alternative fuels
- Value and cost of alternative fuel vehicles – can AFVs drive down the cost of fleet operations?
- Driving fleet evolution in the right direction
- Interoperability, infrastructure and payment – meeting the challenges of incorporating AFVs into fleet operations
Key takeaways from the report include that although petrol and diesel will still be a core part of fleet make-up for years to come, mixed fleets will grow in importance as operators diversify to harness the varying advantages of different powertrains.
Paul Holland, MD UK Fuel at Allstar parent firm Fleetcor, commented: “We have already seen there has been considerable progress in recent years to establish alternative fuels as viable substitutes for traditional fossil fuels. From hybrid and biodiesel, to electric and hydrogen, each alternative fuel has its own merits that deserve to be fully evaluated in assessing sustainable fuels for fleets of the future.”
The report also suggests a ‘Test and learn’ approach, with businesses urged to see the short term as an opportunity to start assessing the role of alternatively-fuelled vehicles in their fleets.
Holland added: “It is important that businesses have access to the right information and insight before they commit. By talking to experts and specialists, all businesses can ensure they have the guidance and support they need to make the right decisions for the future of their organisation. At Allstar Business Solutions, we want to ensure our customers are supported with convenient payment solutions to keep their vehicles on the road.”
To access Allstar Business Solutions’ white paper on ‘Navigating the Alternatively Fuelled Future’, click here.