A new survey seen exclusively by Fleet News reveals a growing acceptance by company car drivers that they will be driving low and ultra-low carbon cars within a decade.
Only 4% of business drivers believe that petrol vehicles will be the most popular fuel type in 10 years time and less than one-in-five (18%) predict diesel will be the car of choice, according to the survey by the UK’s largest leasing company Lex Autolease.
In contrast, almost two thirds (60%) are confident that petrol or diesel hybrids will rise to the top of the volume sales charts in the fleet sector, while 10% believe plug-in hybrids will come to the fore and 8% see a fully electric future.
“Oil burners have already overtaken petrol as the fuel of choice and the bulk of drivers anticipate that this trend will accelerate as hybrids begin to take up a significant portion of the market share,” said Colin Thornton, specialist sales director at Lex Autolease.
“Ten years is only three or four replacement cycles away, so now is the time for fleet managers to begin exploring new technologies with a greater degree of seriousness.
“Employees are readied for change and the business benefits are becoming more and more apparent.”
Manufacturers have been busy developing both hybrid and full electric vehicles and fleets are already familiar with the likes of the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.
However, newer, more advanced models are beginning to make their way on to the market, including Nissan’s Leaf electric vehicle, which is available to order and will begin arriving with customers in March 2011.
They will be pleased to hear then that 13% of the 200 drivers polled said they would consider a fully electric vehicle as their next company car and exactly half said a hybrid, in either petrol or diesel form, was a possibility. That suggests the latest batch of hybrids have overcome many of the perceived barriers to entry.
Indeed, almost half (47%) of all drivers polled said they would like to road test either a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric vehicle.
“Many of our customers are looking to trial new vehicles, new fuel technologies and new fleet policies, which is a sensible approach, and our consultancy team has never been busier with enquiries of this nature,” added Thornton.
“In tandem, we are forging ever closer alliances with manufacturers and other parties in the supply chain to ensure that our customers are well informed and ahead of the game, irrespective of whether they are keen adopt now or in the future.”