Why Create a Greener Fleet


Whether you’re a fleet manager responsible for tens or hundreds of vehicles, the growing take-up of hybrid vehicles is likely to be on your mind.

So let’s start with the basics, then look at what’s in it for you.

What exactly is a hybrid vehicle?

Hybrid technology started hitting the mainstream in the late nineties, pioneered by models like the Toyota Prius*. As the need to reduce emissions increased, more manufacturers sought to design their own hybrid systems, and significant gains have been found in cutting harmful tailpipe gases like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. * Interesting fact: The flattened floor and centre console of the first-generation Prius was designed to allow the driver to easily exit the vehicle from the opposite door when parking in tight spaces… which is preferable in our view to Option B below:

There are several different types of hybrids now on offer, with the first being the traditional ‘serial’ hybrid that uses a conventional petrol or diesel engine as its main power source. Assistance is provided by an electric motor and a small battery pack, typically under acceleration and at lower speeds.

Next there are ‘plug-in’ hybrids, also called plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs). The main difference here is the size of the battery pack, which is much larger than that of the serial and usually allows the car to drive on electric power alone for a certain distance. The size of the battery means it also requires charging from your business or home electricity supply, or a charging post to fully top-up.

[Original source: Carbuyer.co.uk]

Here’s an article published in the Daily Telegraph that covers six reasons why fleet managers should consider going greener (we’ve plugged in the latest stats).

Not got time to read all this? Call us on 01925 713 212 for an informal chat, or drop us a line at info@whittlehallfinance.co.uk to get advice tailored to your specific situation.

The benefits of going green

Slowly but surely, the world is going green. Incentivised by ever-stringent government eco-rules, the auto industry is doing its bit to combat environmental disaster, and manufacturers are developing alternative-fuelled models from superminis to supercars.

With fleets accounting for 53 per cent of new-car sales, the business sector is highly important to eco growth – and the benefits of going green are manifold.

Fleet managers tell us that they are aiming to increase the proportion of eco-friendly models, including hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs), within their remit.

Cost savings are central to the upward trend, as are a growing infrastructure and motorists’ increasing familiarity with renewable energy. Let’s explore the benefits in more detail:

1. Cost savings for users

Boosted technology and constant development are driving down the purchase price of alternative-fuelled cars – whether hybrid, electric, or from the burgeoning hydrogen sector. Meanwhile, the government’s current plug-in car grant (which gives up to £3,500 off a model’s list cost*), low or zero road tax and London Congestion Charge exemption are further benefits of joining the renewable-energy crowd. *The grant will pay for 35% of the purchase price, up to a maximum of £3,500, for vehicles with CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and can travel at least 112km (70 miles) without any emissions at all. Compounded by lower fuel costs, for many the decision to go green is a no-brainer.

2. Tax savings

Low CO2 emissions can have a major impact on Benefit In Kind (BIK) taxes, providing a further incentive for fleet managers and company car users. Businesses will benefit from corporation tax relief and allowances, and lower National Insurance contributions too. For instance, annual tax bills can be reduced by £3,600 with the BMW 530e – savings not to be sniffed at.

3. Electric vehicles

EVs offer plenty of advantages to the fleet user, particularly those with short daily journeys. Tailpipe emissions are negligible, while ‘refuelling’ is low cost and, once dedicated equipment has been installed, can be carried out at home or the workplace, or even on the street using the growing infrastructure of public charging bays with 19,076 connectors by the end of 2018 (an increase of 10,000 since December 2015). You need never visit a garage forecourt again, and will be unaffected by the fluctuating price of hydrocarbon fuels. Electric drivetrains are efficient, and continuous development means EVs’ initially high costs are being driven down as battery and chassis tech is refined. The major obstacle at present is battery range, which is why EVs currently better suit low-distance company car drivers.

4. Hybrids and plug-in hybrids

Promising the best of both worlds by combining fossil fuel engines and electric motors, hybrids and plug-in hybrids claim to achieve incredible mpg, with correspondingly impressive savings on the garage forecourt. Official lab-tested efficiency figures might not be attainable in real-world motoring, but they’re what the government uses to work out taxation levels – and that includes BIK tax for company car users. These vehicles also eliminate range anxiety, giving them a distinct advantage over pure electric models.

5. Choice

Alternative fuels have been around as long as the automobile – believe it or not, the first production electric car was built more than 130 years ago – but the marketplace now offers an impressively broad selection. Whether your idea of a perfect company vehicle is a family saloon, a compact supermini or a warpspeed-achieving hypercar, you’ll find a suitable contender with serious eco credentials somewhere in the new-car price lists.

6. It’s good for your brand

Is your fleet powered by alternative fuels? Then why not shout about it? It’s the trend du jour for brands and businesses to advertise just how green they are, so follow the example of London’s Green Tomato Cars taxi fleet by designing special livery boasting of low tailpipe emissions and negligible carbon footprints. Other fleets and businesses that have successfully embraced sustainability include Red Bull, eConnect Cars plus City of York and Birmingham City councils.

Sounds enticing? Call us on 01925 713 212 for an informal chat, or email info@whittlehallfinance.co.uk and we’ll get right back to you.

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