Fleet News

People will still need their car

As we move from lockdown to a relaxing of the rules around travelling, office working and social distancing, what will be the long-term impact on business transport and travel?

There are some short-term implications, including a reluctance to use shared services, from car share to public transport, and far less road travel due to people working from home (note – while Department for Transport stats show daily traffic levels now rising again, the peak congestion times remain way below usual levels, indicating new reasons for travelling during the day).

Local authorities are spotting an opportunity to consolidate new active behaviours with pop-up cycle lanes and wider pavements, but, ultimately, what does all this mean for fleets?

Many businesses are now considering new agile working practices which will allow their staff to work more often from home. Their need to commute will reduce, but will this change their need for a car?

I don’t think so. If you work in the city, chances are you commute on public transport; and if not now, you may not have a choice in the future as congestion charging and workplace charging schemes accelerate across major conurbations. But you will still need a car for leisure purposes, and, maybe, the occasional business trip.

Would you rent or join a subscription scheme? Possibly, and there are plenty now on offer. But they don’t offer ‘drop-of-a-hat’ access; you have to plan ahead. And the emergence of electric vehicles arguably knocks all of this into a cocked hat.

This year, a company car driver will pay no taxfor a pure electric car. Next year, they will pay 1% benefit-in-kind tax – or £60 a year on a £30,000 car – and for each of the three years after that, they’ll pay £120 for same car.

Show me the subscription scheme that can compete with that price. 

Employee demand for company cars will remain. It might drop slightly, but it might even rise as cash takers wake up to the savings. And this is supported by Fleet Intelligence research which shows fleet sizes will, on balance, increase, with much of the growth driven by electric cars.

Agree/disagree? Share your thoughts or simply watch the debate at our webinar on July 28 when a panel of experts will discuss the fleet response to Covid-19 – register here.

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