A growing number of employees in mainland Europe are embracing a monthly mobility allowance, rather than a traditional company car.
That’s according to Benoît Chatelier, founder of Ubeeqo, a European start-up company specialising in fleet and mobility products.
It launched its business-to-business Bettercar proposition in the UK last month, but already works with key brands in Europe, including Airbus, Bosch, L’Oreal, Michelin and Societe Generale.
“ employees car-sharing and receiving a mobility budget is growing, particularly in Germany and Belgium,” said Chatelier.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger. Drivers are open to a new approach, because they’re not considering the car as the ultimate mobility solution, it’s just one of , and they’re becoming more interested in the alternatives.”
Ubeeqo, which has been acknowledged by Deloitte’s Technology Fast50 as one of the top 30 high-growth technology companies, offers the technology for businesses wanting to switch their company car allowance to a mobility allowance.
Called Mobility Benefits, employees are encouraged to abandon their larger company car in exchange for a smaller vehicle or access to a fleet of shared cars.
They also receive a mobility allowance to fund personal travel requirements in the absence of their own vehicle making it essentially a multi-modal alternative to the company car.
Travel options, such as taxis, trains and car-sharing services are delivered to them through their smartphone, tablet or PC and paid through a booking platform, with deductions taken from their monthly mobility allowance.
Chatelier believes the concept could appeal to drivers in the UK, but for now the focus is on its telematics and car sharing products, which will give fleet decision-makers a greater understanding of their operations and the opportunity to push alternative solutions.
Bettercar Sharing offers companies a pool of vehicles in their car park, ready to use by authorised drivers for business or private travel.
The customised service, which includes regular servicing, maintenance and cleaning, also enables companies to endorse sustainable mobility solutions and minimise budgets spent on taxis and mileage allowances.
Much like similar services offered by Hertz 24/7 and DriveNow from BMW and Sixt, users register and reserve a car for a selected period of time.
The car is accessed using a card or smartphone and, once the journey is over, users return the vehicle to its parking space and replace the keys in the glove box, leaving the vehicle, which locks automatically.
Its telematics solution, Bettercar Connected, utilises onboard electronics to deliver accurate real-time data on vehicle usage.
With this insight, improved cost control can be achieved by reducing fuel consumption and managing maintenance, says Ubeeqo.
The technology is also designed to influence driver behaviour, with communications solutions, including ‘gamification’, integrated to encourage better eco-driving and road safety.
“We have already achieved significant savings of up to 38% for clients through reductions in owned fleets and the implementation of genuine car-pooling and sharing,” explained Chatelier.
“Now, UK companies can benefit from the flexibility of the Bettercar offering, helping them focus on more eco-friendly transport solutions, as well as reducing costs and improving productivity.
“We firmly believe this is a real step-change in business mobility, accessible to businesses of all sizes and supporting all levels of business travel requirements.”
The Bettercar launch comes just nine months after Europcar became the majority stakeholder in the business.
At the time, Ken McCall, managing director of the UK Group, said: “Europcar is continually looking at the dynamics that influence how business travellers want to access mobility services and, not surprisingly, the need for more flexibility and convenience has been central to how our services have developed. The partnership with Ubeeqo reflects that commitment.”