The Salvation Army’s entire 750-strong fleet of company cars will be switching from diesel to petrol over the next three years.
The church and charity has struck a deal with independent supplier Venson Automotive Solutions (VAS) to run alongside its existing contract with ALD Automotive. So far VAS has delivered around 40 cars – mostly Vauxhalls – with another 50 on order.
Salvation Army bosses say they’ve made the move mainly because of issues with DPFs on diesels.
Fleet manager Peter Bonney explained: “The majority of our drivers live in town centres and getting out on to dual carriageways or motorways to regenerate DPFs isn’t always possible. We’ve had a few problems with Zafiras and Merivas.”
The bulk of the cars are driven by church ministers and other essential users.
Bonney accepts it’s going to cost him more in fuel terms. But he argues when whole life costs over the three-year/51,000-mile contract are considered, there’s not much between petrol and diesel.
“In acquisition and driver tax costs it’s very similar. The taxable benefit is 13% of a higher figure because of the diesel premium, or 15% of a lower figure on petrol cars,” he said.
The switch doesn’t affect the church’s commercial vehicles, which will continue to be diesels.
The decision to swap was made earlier this year, when some diesels were still on order. The last of those have now arrived. The VAS contract hire with full maintenance deal also includes provision for short-term rental vehicles and pre-contract vehicles.
Another key element is a pooled mileage agreement, which means the Salvation Army is given credit if vehicles are below contracted mileage on defleet. Whether VAS or ALD supplies each company car is decided by price.