July 26, 2023
Transitioning to a greener fleet is becoming more of a priority for businesses. Here at Wessex Fleet, we’ve been helping our clients improve their fleets to greener ones with affordable and sustainable measures and now we’re going to help you! In this article, you’ll find what going green really means, the considerations you need to make and our top five tips to help make your fleet a little greener.
What Does Going Green Mean?
There are two ways the phrase going green is used in relation to a company’s fleet. The first and most commonly used meaning is creating a sustainable fleet, one that can support your drivers’ needs with minimal cost and damage to the environment. The second is switching to electric vehicles, due to the general shift towards electric cars many people equate going electric to going green. While electric vehicles do contribute to a greener fleet as they have zero emissions at the point of use, they are not an entire strategy on their own. In this article we will explore different aspects of creating and maintaining a green fleet which will include electric vehicles but as part of a wider strategy.
Five Ways to Make Your Fleet Greener
Our team has picked five areas where most fleets can make changes for a greener fleet and provided some expert advice on the changes you can make.
1. Reduce Your Fuel Consumption
The most obvious thing that you can do to make your fleet greener is to use less of the traditional combustion fuels, petrol and diesel.
One way to do this is to look at electric and hybrid vehicles. Full electric vehicles (EVs) will reduce vehicle emissions to zero at the point of use and can instantly make your fleet significantly greener with just a few new cars. However, you should also consider other factors when deciding if electric vehicles are right for your fleet including the electric range and whether this is suitable for your needs, how the vehicle charging will be managed, and driver resistance to the change.
Hybrids can also help with your fuel consumption and do not present all of the same challenges that a fully electric fleet does. For one, there’s still an internal combustion engine (ICE) in the vehicle which means that once the electric range is depleted it will switch to the ICE – which reduces a lot of the range concerns that businesses and their drivers have with a full EV.
Whilst EVs are the most common alternative fuel source there have been advancements in hydrogen-powered vehicles and there are currently models from Toyota and Hyundai that are available in the UK. If you are looking at the long-term plan for your fleet then you might also want to consider hydrogen as an alternative fuel source.
When looking to change your fleet’s fuel make up, we recommend taking the time to understand your current fleet make up and the needs for each of the vehicles as well as the drivers before making any decisions. Whilst you want to consider the fleet as a whole when developing a fleet strategy you need to think of the individuals when deciding on the best implementation of it.
Another way to reduce your fuel consumption is to optimise your drivers’ journeys so that they use less fuel. If you have drivers that are regularly needing to drive as part of their role then you can look at creating greener routes for them.
2. Invest in Driver Training
One aspect that is often neglected when going green is the drivers. As the day-to-day operators of your fleet vehicles, they can have a significant impact on the vehicles’ condition, how it is used and their effect on the environment.
There are a number of different ways that you can use training to support your drivers in becoming greener – from educating them on EVs to one on one practical training to improve their skills. In terms of going green, there are three ways in which you can utilise driver training to support your team.
- Providing sessions or information that advises on the best driving practices for improved fuel economy.
- If you are switching to EVs or hybrids then providing detailed information that addresses driver concerns, especially about charging and mileage ranges, to reduce driver resistance to the new vehicles.
- Additionally, as electric vehicles require a slightly different driving style than those with an ICE so you may also want to provide drivers with training on how they can tweak their driving styles to better drive electric vehicles.
3. Use Telematics Smartly
You can use telematics in a number of different ways to support your fleet. Telematics can help detect areas of concern, improve fuel consumption, and optimise routes – all of which help you have a greener fleet.
Areas of concern can include both the vehicle and the driver. On the vehicle side, telematics can help you detect mechanical issues which you can then investigate and high fuel consumption, which may be an indication of something wrong with the vehicle or poor driving habits. It’s not just the fuel consumption that might flag a driver needs additional support, telematics can also highlight poor driving habits or route planning that you can then address.
4. Conduct Regular Maintenance
If a vehicle is damaged or in need of maintenance and not running in its best condition, then it is likely to be less fuel efficient and potentially more polluting.
Keeping on top of scheduled maintenance and servicing as well as conducting any repairs or maintenance promptly when they are detected will help keep your fleet running in optimal condition.
There are a few things that you can do to help ensure maintenance is completed in a timely manner including having your drivers check the car regularly themselves. This will not only help them to spot issues earlier but also improve the sense of responsibility they feel for the vehicle and encourage better care.
Keeping on top of maintenance not only helps your fleet be a little greener, but it can also save you money in the long term as it stops maintenance issues becoming larger or causing further damage.
5. Look After Your Grey Fleet
It’s not just the vehicle the business owns and leases, that contribute to how green your fleet is but also those in the grey fleet.
There are a few different strategies that you might want to try to encourage your drivers to keep their personal cars as green as possible. This can range from incentivising drivers to switch to greener to supporting them with maintenance programmes. What will work will be individual to your business and your drivers’ needs, and we recommend talking to your teams about the programmes that would work for them.
Our team is on hand if you want to discuss grey fleet management and how you can turn it green.
What to Consider When Turning Your Fleet Green
There are three main considerations you need to keep in mind when deciding on the strategy for going green:
The timeframe – this will depend on what steps you are planning on taking, including training, replacement vehicles and the cost of these plans.
The cost – no matter how you’re planning on funding a change to your fleet, there will be a cost and it this will be a major consideration on the timeframe of implementation.
Driver resistance – something to be conscious of, especially if you are electrifying, is that drivers might be resistant to changes you want to put in place. This is something that you can combat by being open and informative about the fleet strategy but will take time.
Enjoyed this article? Read more of our latest blogs below:
- Should I Take a Salary Sacrifice Car?
- Maintenance for Your Company Car
- The Three Biggest Fleet Expenses
- UK Fleet Excess Mileage Charges
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