Clean Air Zones, aimed at improving air quality in towns and cities, could present an opportunity for medium term rental, says Meridian Vehicle Solutions.
Phil Jerome, managing director of Meridian, believes that, while present proposals meant that the majority of fleets would meet CAZ standards with their current vehicles, they were likely to be tightened up over time.
“Cities such as London and Birmingham are currently looking to enforce a standard of minimum Euro 4 petrol and Euro 6 diesel, meaning that most fleets would not be charged for entering those cities,” he said.
“However, there will still be quite a small number of fleets who will need cars to operate in those zones - for example, someone running a grey fleet scheme with an employee that needs to enter a CAZ every day as part of a six-month contract. For these people, medium term rental makes a lot of sense.”
However, it is over the longer term that medium term rental is likely to become more important in terms of CAZ accessibility, he says.
“It is very likely that the CAZ rules are tightened up over time, especially in those cities, such as London, where the biggest air quality problems exist,” explained Jerome. “It may be that, in a few years, fleets will need EVs to enter a city for a short term contract and we can meet that need.
“We see this very much as the kind of flexible fleet provision that will be happening more and more in the medium term.
“Fleets are likely to operate a core of vehicles that meet their fundamental needs but will look to flexible, shorter term provision to meet requirements such as temporary CAZ access.”
Meridian has recently started to offer a range of hybrids including the BMW 530e and Kia Niro as part of its medium term rental range.
“There is a lot of interest around these from fleets and we expect to be adding a selection of EVs to our offering over the next year or so,” continued Jerome. “It may be that we soon offer the same model in petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric form to meet the needs of different fleets.”