Fleet News

“I’ve flipped the Covid-19 challenge on its head”, says Lorna McAtear

Lorna McAtear

National Grid’s fleet manager Lorna McAtear has used the changes to working practices caused by Covid-19 as an opportunity to rethink employee mobility.

“I've flipped the Covid challenge on its head and turned it into an opportunity to get my HR directors to step back and look at how we do the reward packages, and how we need to look at the future for our employees,” McAtear told attendees at the recent virtual Fleet200 Executive Club meeting.

Ultimately, McAtear (pictured) would like to introduce the concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) but the first step is to “stop thinking of company cars in the traditional way with mileage limits” because they can encourage “the wrong behaviours”.

The traditional model is for drivers doing 10,000 miles to have a company car but McAtear believes any drivers who have had to do business journeys during the Covid-19 pandemic are the true ‘essential users’.

However, mileage data still has a part to play in the company’s mobility plans as it will help determine which drivers should be in an electric vehicle (EV) and which should be in a hydrogen vehicle as the company moves towards its entire fleet of 1,756 cars, 740 panel vans, 306 4x4s, 54 HGVs and 1,000 items of plant being zero emissions by 2030.

On its car fleet, National Grid has 206 pure electric cars, with another 125 on order (as at the end of August) and 559 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, up from just seven electric vehicles on the fleet when McAtear joined the company in August 2019.

National Grid is “close to having” 60 pure electric commercial vehicles, according to McAtear, with 50 of them “still in the build process”.

Making the items of plant and HGVs zero emission, however, is a “longer term journey”, she said.

As well as increasing the number of electric vehicles on the fleet, McAtear is progressing her MaaS plans by working with the individual teams that run the rewards packages at National Grid to look at travel poilices and manage the travel contracts to align the contract expiry dates.

This will allow them to “start to pull this together as a mobility solution rather than the individual components that they currently are”, she said.


> The above was shared with Fleet News at the virtual September meeting of the Fleet200 Executive Club.

Fleet200 Executive Club: join us

If you're a fleet decision maker interested in joining the club and attending the final meetings of this year (November and December) and our meetings in 2021, email emma.bunce@bauermedia.co.uk.

Membership is free.

The Fleet200 Executive Club is a group of the most influential fleets operating in the UK.


It produces research on key fleet trends and holds events which bring together the UK’s most professional fleet decision makers to debate the issues of importance to their businesses, share ideas on new initiatives and industry developments, and hear from outstanding, thought-provoking speakers.

Our next meeting: November 10 (via Zoom)

Our guest speakers

David Crundall, professor of psychology at Nottingham University

David Crundall specialises in applied cognitive psychology, particularly in traffic and transport psychology, at Nottingham University. His presentation will offer learning and understanding about the role and importance of hazard perception assessment and training for professional drivers. David is also chair of the PACTS (Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety) Road User Behaviour Working Party.

Julie Davis, Amey

Julie has over 25 years’ experience in the transport industry and has been employed by Amey for the last eleven years, having previously worked in the haulage and parcel logistics sectors. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience in all aspects of transport and holds a certificate in professional competence in both HGV & PSV. 

Julie is currently responsible for the management of all Amey operator licenses and the compliance of the companies’ 6500 vehicle fleet. She is a key member of the Logistic UK Regional Council, the Utilities Services Group and Highways England Van Reference Group

Find out more

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