Turning a grey fleet into a green fleet
When businesses look to reduce their environmental impact, mobility is often a priority as it accounts for such a significant proportion of most companies’ carbon footprint. If a company owns or leases a fleet, it can switch to greener vehicles relatively easily, although it may require a gradual transition. However, for those relying even partly on a grey fleet, it is likely to be more of a challenge.
It's clear that the introduction of low and zero emissions vehicles is on the minds of over half of those businesses surveyed. 52% already have fully electric vehicles (EVs) on fleet and 54% have hybrids. However, very few businesses are able to make a wholesale switch to electric right now. Instead, many are employing a transitional strategy of reducing emissions through cutting journeys and utilising alternative transport methods, alongside testing new powertrains.
This approach will become ever more important as current fleet vehicles age. More than half of respondents to the Europcar study stated that the average age of vehicles on their fleet is 3-4 years. This is potentially hampering their ability to meet emissions targets, as well as presenting a very real cost concern when it comes to complying with the growing number of Clean Air Zones emerging in UK cities.
Grey fleet – vehicles owned by employees and used for business travel – offer employers and their staff a convenient travel solution. Indeed, a recent Europcar report, ‘Switching sustainability from buzzword to business benefit’, found that grey fleet is a crucial stop-gap for many firms.
Employees in 4 in 5 businesses (81%) use their own vehicles for business travel – 38% always use their own vehicles and 43% use their own sometimes. And in contrast to what many may expect, a deeper dive into the figures shows that larger companies appear to rely on grey fleet more than smaller businesses. Over half (55%) of companies that have 250 - 500 employees say workers always use their own car.
Interestingly, 90% of the firms surveyed that run grey fleets are actively looking into ways to reduce or stop employees using their own vehicles for business travel. And a number of strategies are being employed to help manage the environmental impact of grey fleets. 43% impose limits on vehicle emissions, the same percentage offer incentives for those driving hybrid or electric vehicles and 39% have vehicle age limits in place.
To reduce environmental impact, 43% impose limits on vehicle emissions, the same percentage offer incentives for those driving hybrid or electric vehicles and 39% have vehicle age limits in place.
Barriers to switching
It is encouraging to see that businesses are taking steps to make even their grey fleets more sustainable. However, for a number of firms there are two key issues. For many, facing challenging economic conditions, they are reticent to committing to purchasing or leasing new vehicles. And even if they do want to commit the funds, supply is still limited in the EV market.
Europcar is helping businesses on their sustainability journeys with an increasing choice of electric vehicles. The Funky Cat is a medium-sized electric car from Chinese-owned ORA that launched in the UK earlier this year. Europcar is the first rental company to add the car to its fleet. The MG4 EV, named UK Car of the Year 2023, is another affordable hatchback option now on the Europcar fleet.
At the premium end of the market, the Europcar fleet also includes the well-known Tesla Model 3 and, most recently, the Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 AMG Line Premium SUV, EQC 400 4MATIC AMG Line 4x4 and EQE 300 AMG Line Saloon.
With such a wide choice, Europcar is helping employers turn grey fleet green with vehicle rental by the day, week, month or year. This not only reduces carbon emissions but helps manage safety and compliance of employees. It’s a win, win.