During the 1970s, pay freezes put the brakes on attracting newcomers to businesses. Instead, organisations used company cars to lure top talent – and so the UK fleet market was born. Now, 40 years later, more than half of all cars in the UK are registered to companies.
Although, this could all be set to change. Urban locations are predicted to expand, with it being thought that by 2030 there will be more than 30 ‘megacities’ dotted around the globe. The result? It will be more expensive to drive and pricier to park, with some fearing that in urban locations company cars could be seen as a pain rather than a perk.
The sharing economy
It’s already being reflected in our own capital – congestion charges, escalating parking prices and sharp insurance costs have caused 10% of people in the city to not replace their car and the number of teenagers learning to drive has dropped by 20%. It’s not surprising though when, on average, a vehicle is only used 4% of the time. Mobility options are changing too, with different modes of transportation becoming increasingly available. Uber is seemingly taking over the world with 30,000 people downloading its app each week in London alone and 51% of travel policies now include car sharing.
Ultra Low Emissions
Transport technology is also changing. Electric cars are becoming more commonplace on our roads (with numbers expected to grow further over the next few years as accessibility continues to rise) and the UK government has recently launched a consultation into self-driving cars, in line with soaring public concern for the environment. In a bid to reduce transport emissions, London will soon be transformed into an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) under the careful watch of mayor Sadiq Khan. September 2020 marks the date that all cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and HGVs will need to comply with exhaust emission standards or face a daily charge when travelling into central London. Indeed Sadiq Khan has recommended this date be brought forward by one year in his consultation – along with proposals to introduce the Emissions Surcharge (more commonly known as the ‘T-Charge’) in 2017, for older, more polluting vehicles. This would be in addition to the Congestion Charge.
So how do businesses keep up with these changes and how does it impact their fleet operations?
- Every business will need to be aware of the size and impact of its organisation’s footprint.
- Emissions will need to be reduced where possible – businesses will need to explore the number and type of vehicles in their fleet, opening up to the possibility of electric and hybrid cars.
- Car sharing will need to be encouraged, along with home working and teleconferencing , and schemes need to be put in place for the use of shared or public transport.
While all of these things can’t be expected to be implemented all at once, they will need to be integrated over time. Such changes to fleet management must be efficient for employers and employees alike – but finding that sweet spot that pleases both parties may take a little time and energy to discover.