Fleet News

Fleets reveal top challenges they face over next five years

Cars parked in a car park

Fleet managers are having to adapt fast to new demands placed upon them by Covid-19, but new research suggests some familiar challenges remain.

The survey, from the Arval Mobility Observatory, suggests roads, clean air zones and alternative fuels top the list of challenges by fleet and mobility managers over the next five years. 

Almost half (43%) of respondents listed a lack of road infrastructure, with the potential for increased congestion, as a major issue.

The introduction of more clean air zones (CAZs) in towns and cities was the second biggest concern (30%) along with the need to find suitable alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) (30%).

Unclear Government policy towards transport (27%), increased vehicle taxation (23%) and increased driver personal taxation (16%) were also reported as key challenges.

“It’s clear that businesses are thinking very hard about the practicalities surrounding the day-to-day use of cars and vans, as shown in their concerns over road infrastructure and clean air zones,” said Shaun Sadlier, head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK.

“The latter especially is a subject that is potentially quite confusing, with a whole range of different measures being adopted across the country and some now being delayed by the coronavirus crisis.

“Our view is that this complexity is probably at the root of the concerns being reported, because the rules that need to be observed in the majority of cities are quite moderate.”

Fleet News has looked at how air quality improvements achieved during lockdown, if maintained, could weaken the case for charging CAZs

The Government CAZ framework states: “Where air quality has improved to the level required and there is evidence this improvement would be maintained, the Government expects local authorities to remove the elements of the zone that are no longer required at the earliest opportunity.”

In terms of alternative fuels, Sadlier said: “A positive development is that an increasing range of models are being introduced, meaning that more drivers have the choice of an appropriate vehicle to meet their needs.

“Other key points to consider are that choice lists are carefully constructed using a whole life cost methodology and that there is an understanding of the recharging infrastructure and how to use it effectively.”

Fleet News editor-in-chief Stephen Briers interviews Arval Mobility Observatory head Shaun Sadlier about 2020's research findings.

Referring to the concerns expressed in the research around the clarity of Government policy and the possibility of increased taxation for both cars and drivers, Sadlier said: “Our view is that Rishi Sunak’s March Budget added quite a high degree of certainty in all of these areas and that, by now, for many fleets these fears will have been allayed.”

A Fleet News webinar: WATCH NOW

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fleet operations and business travel

Sponsored by Sixt.

A discussion hosted by Fleet News on the UK business response to the fleet challenges presented by Covid-19. 

A panel of experts will provide an insight into the trends and changes that they are seeing, before leading a debate and discussion among participants, including delegates, on future working practices, changes to travel policies, opportunities offered by mobility solutions and implications for fleet sizes, replacement cycles, funding methods and vehicle type.

Watch the webinar

Chaired by editor in chief Stephen Briers, in this 45-minute webinar, he will be in conversation with:

  • Dale Eynon is director of Defra Group Fleet Services and will give a fleet operator view of how covid-19 is affecting fleet operations
  • Kit Allwinter is senior consultant at AECOM and is a specialist in sustainable and active travel including shared mobility. He will provide a view on how Covid-19 is changing the way people travel and business working practices, etc. and the implications for travel and fleet activity, especially in urban areas
  • Paul Hollick, chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals. He’ll be representing the views of UK fleets, providing insight into how their operations are likely to evolve and change due to new working practices sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Simon Turner, campaign manager at Driving for Better Business, which has created a Covid-19 toolkit, driver app and management portal to help fleets back to business.

  • Stuart Donnelly, Sixt (sponsor)


• Changes to working practices (agile/remote/office working)

• Changes to travel policies (travel to work, travel to client, travel to supplier etc)

• Implications for fleet size (new car/van sales demand)

• Impact on replacement cycles (new car sales demand) and annual mileage

• Impact on demand by vehicle type (EV, Hybrid, Petrol, Diesel)

• Changes in funding preference (fewer traditional 3-4-year contract hire lease agreements and more flexi-hire contracts?)

• Active travel policies (walk, cycle, other)

• Public transport policies (to work, at work)

• Role for other mobility preferences (car share, car clubs, mobility budgets)


Click here for electric cars and hybrids best practice and procurement insight

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