By Paul Fincham
Green vehicles provide a more efficient fleet, while saving your business money on fuel, taxes, maintenance and even fleet insurance. When you pick cleaner vehicles, you are able to improve your balance sheet as well as your corporate social responsibility (CSR) cred.
So, what is the best approach to greening your fleet? The solutions below can result in cost savings from reduced fuel consumption, optimized route planning and improved vehicle maintenance.
It is important to first gain employee buy-in. Being forced to change to a specific type of company vehicle can cause disharmony with some employees. So, it's important to communicate the advantages to them appropriately. Make them aware of the money it can save them: Employees will see reduced benefit in kind (BiK) taxes in some countries, as well as a savings in private fuel costs. Offering an acceptable amount of choice within your limits on CO2 emissions will also help to avoid employee dissatisfaction.
When looking to green your business vehicles, full consideration needs to be given to adopting electric vehicles (EVs). Running a few around town may make sense for those shorter journeys. But those traveling and building up higher mileage should need to consider the operational challenges that come with electric vehicles. Recharging, service, maintenance and repair can be more difficult for those undertaking longer journeys. Usually a mix of some petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric vehicles within your portfolio will provide you with a better solution. Make sure the right vehicle is being used for the right purpose.
When investigating vehicle choice, it is also important to take a whole-life cost approach. Whole-life costs include the cost of running and servicing a vehicle over its replacement cycle. This will provide the best estimate of real costs to your business. It can be argued that in most cases the whole-life cost of electric vehicles can be far more beneficial to your business. Yes, the up-front list price will be much higher when compared to petrol or diesel. Often the vehicle cost is considered as a barrier to purchase, but when savings of about 8 pence per mile in fuel and 20 to 30 percent in service, maintenance and repair costs are considered they can be well worth the initial investment.
Not only does the adoption of eco-driving techniques cut fuel consumption, but it will also generate safer drivers with reduced risk of accidents and unwanted downtime as a result.
Many driver training providers also quote a reduction of up to 15 percent in fuel costs as a result of driver training. They believe that defensive drivers are 20 percent less likely to be involved in a collision, not to mention the savings in maintenance and repair.
Vehicle technology can also be used to measure driving techniques and encourage improved driver behaviour. Technology can help with reducing vehicle speed, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, concentration techniques and hazard perception.
Going green has become a prominent trend for business fleets and practices such as selecting fuel-efficient or hybrid vehicles to meet environmental legislation is continuing to grow in popularity. It’s the end of the road for gas-guzzling executive cars. More and more businesses are committed to meeting their corporate social responsibilities. By reducing emissions and greening your business vehicles you can not only meet your environmental obligations, but can clearly save money for your business as you go.
Image credit: Flickr/Will Wynne
Paul has 24 years’ experience in the motor insurance industry and has a wealth of knowledge in this area. As Motor Fleet Broker for Bluedrop Services, Paul specialises in Motor Fleet Insurance. He offers advice and support to customers managing Motor Fleets with a commitment to the environment, advising how to reduce your fleet insurance premiums through sustainability policies.