• January 25, 2022

  • Abby Nuttall

  • Fleet News

As many sectors changed and adapted due to the pandemic, the fleet industry was no different. With less businesses relying on fleet management services, with work from home a priority, it was no surprise that 2021 was still a challenging year in the industry.

Simon Naylor, Director at Wessex Fleet, has shared his insight into the world of fleet management over the last 12 months, as well as looking at rising trends the fleet industry will likely see this year.

“Customers were initially hesitant to commit to new a fleet in Q1 and Q2. However, after the vaccine rollout, and from the summer break, most sectors seemed confident about the future. We’re seeing strong quote requests and order requirements particularly in EV and hybrid vehicles.”

“Covid has speeded up the move to EVs. As mileage has fallen, range anxiety is less of a concern, and EVs suit more company car drivers as a result. Anything with a WLTP range of c250 seems to be at the top of the list for customers.”

Simon continued to explain that the current fuel shortage and higher fuel costs has helped move people further away from combustion engines and towards electric vehicles.

“The fuel shortage (and price rise) has only amplified the move to EVs. Fleet management is either seen as ensuring driver compliance, reducing risks associated with driving for work, or driving costs down. As costs rise, more businesses are keen to review fleet, and look at areas where savings and efficiencies can be made.”

The Future of Fleet Management is Green, According to Expert

Simon Naylor explains: “Q1 and Q2 in 2022 will continue to see challenges in the supply chain, and extended lead times. We anticipate there will be an easing in Q3- Q4 and a return to pre-covid supply and discount levels in Q1 2023. Demand will continue to be strong, but it will be hard work to develop businesses given the constraints. SMEs are looking forward to more of a level playing field in 2023.”

“The clean air zones that are starting to emerge around the country is a key area of development. Again, this will move fleets towards newer, cleaner vehicles in order to avoid any potential additional costs from their operations,” said Naylor.

But what are the main benefits of moving towards an Electric Fleet?

“Aside from BIK benefits, there are significant fuel savings, WLC benefits, and lower NI payments. Many customers are obviously attracted by the environmental benefits. However, the lower tax threshold and WLC improvements make the case for EVs compelling.”

Tips for businesses with, or looking to get a fleet management service

A fleet management solution is effective in allowing businesses to monitor their operations accurately and promotes safe as well as efficient driving, which in turn helps to cut costs and decrease any risk. This is often achieved through a combination of reporting on fuel consumption, vehicle maintenance management, the tracking of the vehicle as well as monitoring your drivers’ behavior.

Are there any specific tips for businesses looking to streamline their Fleet Management service to help save time/money or make their fleets save on their carbon footprint?

“You certainly want to maximise the low BIK opportunity on EVs currently. Anyone who is looking for a company car simply can’t rule out the potential savings. Even if there is a trade off with operational / logistical headaches, electric vehicles cannot be ignored. Overall, I would recommend that after the covid re-set, utilisation of current resource is the number one consideration to see if savings can be made on current fleets.

What are your tips for businesses thinking of implementing Fuel Cards?

“Most sizeable fleets have them already. Few would take them on as a new offering in the current climate as the BIK considerations are considerable. Obviously there has to be significant personal mileage done on a fully expensed fuel card to justify. More likely customers will look at whether they are getting value from their current arrangement, or whether they should look to charge back personal miles and avoid BIK.”

For businesses looking into fleet management companies, what would you look out for and how would you choose one?

“Those at the bottom of the pile will be reactive, slow to respond and hard to contact. Those at the top end will spend time to understand your requirements, ask plenty of questions, find out what the headaches are associated with the current fleet, and try to address the challenges you face. Value is the key driver here. Savings are often measured in pure cash terms, but also administrative benefits should be closely considered. Those offering a fully outsourced programme will save time and money internally.”

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