22 June 2018

When it comes to reducing on-going costs and improving the environmental credentials of an organisation, operating a green fleet could be a huge advantage to fleet managers and their companies and the planet overall.

As with many business decisions, there are pros and cons to adopting this approach, so this month we wanted to explore both sides of introducing a green fleet.

The pros of running a green fleet

It improves environmental impacts

An advantage of running a green fleet is that it helps to reduce the impact an organisation has on the environment. The reduction in carbon emissions has the added benefit of improving environmental credentials, especially in the eyes of the public.

In this age of social media and continuous business scrutiny, companies that operate in a green, environmentally friendly way get a lot of positive attention. However, this doesn’t just apply to the public; it could also incentivise new employees to join a business, especially if they’re already searching for a company with “green credentials”.

Government grants are available

Within the UK, there are various government grants that are available to cover the cost of electric vehicles, as long as they meet certain conditions.

If a fleet manager is looking to increase the number of green company cars in their fleet, it’s important that they research these incentives beforehand.

For example, the grant currently covers 35% of the cost of the vehicle, up to a maximum of £2,500 or £4,500 depending on which car the fleet manager chooses. If they need to invest in a commercial van, then the grant covers up to 30% of the initial cost, up to a maximum of £8,000.

These savings can then be reinvested in core business operations, or given back, as an incentive or reward, to employees that choose one of these vehicles.

Reduced long-term expenditure

Aside from the government incentives that are already available, operating a green fleet can reduce an organisation’s monthly expenditure even further. Fleet managers and fleet owners who invest in a green fleet could see a huge reduction in monthly operating costs over the long term.

This is due to the fact that vehicle tax, fuel costs and even insurance bills vastly decrease in price when applied to green vehicles. Not only does this help fleet managers work to restricted budgets, it also means they are able to reinvest these savings into their business.

Reduced maintenance

When it comes to operating a green fleet, electric vehicles require less maintenance when compared to their traditional fuel equivalents, since they have fewer parts that may need replacing.

There are two benefits to this. The first is that it reduces the unplanned downtime of a fleet, ensuring that employees and drivers are always on the move. The second is that it helps reduce the maintenance costs that a fleet manager has to take into account throughout the year.

This reduction in costs and the money saved could also be reinvested in expanding the fleet further, or in developing other areas of the business.

The cons of running a green fleet

Restricted mileage

If a fleet manager is planning to go fully electric, then they need to remember that electric vehicles do have a restrictive range compared to their hybrid or traditional fossil fuel counterparts.

The technology is always improving, with fully electric vehicle ranges increasing all the time, but this may prove a challenge to some businesses with fleets that regularly drive for long distances. This is because the vehicle will use considerably more electric power when it’s maintaining a constant, faster speed, reducing the total mileage range.

With this in mind, if a fleet manager is concerned about the range of vehicles available, then the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) may be the most suitable option. Whilst PHEVs do still use traditional fuel, at lower speeds in urban areas, they utilise the stored electric to power the vehicle.

Extended recharging times

For many fleet managers and electric vehicle drivers, the extended recharging times can be seen as a disadvantage of owning or leasing an electric vehicle. Charging times can range from less than 30 minutes to overnight for a full charge.

However, this could be countered by rotating the vehicles in the fleet, ensuring that there is always a vehicle on charge should it be needed by an employee. However, with the advances in charging technology and rising popularity of electric vehicles, these times could be drastically reduced over the next few years.

Limited makes and models based on price

As is the same with their traditional fossil fuel counterparts, the existing range of electric vehicles has prices that differ substantially based on their make and model.

For example, Tesla electric vehicles are selling for up to £100,000, whereas the Renault Zoe starts at just under £14,000. With the limited makes and models of mid-range vehicles, the choice and options of traditional vehicles may still sway fleet managers and employees.

In conclusion, fleet managers that are serious about improving their environmental responsibilities and reducing monthly expenditure should consider introducing a green fleet policy. There will undoubtedly be considerable advances in both technology and grants over the next few years, so it’s an area that’s always worth considering. 

To find out more about our fleet management and leasing, employee benefits solutions and driver services, call a member of our team on 0844 854 5100 or email CSalmon@sgfleet.com.