EV van charging

Less than a third of hauliers are optimistic the 2040 end-of-sale date for new diesel trucks can be met with almost two thirds wanting greater government support for the transition, according to a joint report from Bridgestone and Webfleet.

The report - Keener to be Greener - published this week, surveyed 300 fleet decision makers.

It found that while 45% of respondents believe decarbonisation is the number one priority for commercial fleets, most hauliers estimate it will be more than eight years before their fleets are fully carbon neutral and only 31% believe the 2040 cut-off date for new diesel trucks will be met.

Almost two-thirds of fleet decision-makers (60%) also think the government should make greater financial support and guidance available to businesses to support the drive to net zero.

Despite the lack of government support, 53% of respondents said their companies had a ‘robust’ strategy for net zero transport, with 43% of HGV operators planning to invest in alternative fuel vehicles and 36% of van fleets in EVs, in the next 12 months. Furthermore, 39% of both HGV and van fleets will invest in energy efficient tyres.

Nevertheless the sector is facing serious challenges with more than half of HGV operators (59%) believing energy prices will dampen demand for EVs and more than two-thirds (68%) concerned about the cost impact of Clean Air Zones.

In addition, almost half (47%) cited the lack of specialist EVs for different businesses as a number one barrier to EV adoption, closely followed by a lack of rapid charging infrastructure (41%).

Transport decarbonisation also risks being held back by competing business interests, according to more than half of fleets (56%), while 60% cite the need for a cultural shift within their company for it to be embraced by all business stakeholders.

In addition, more than a third (34%) believe their current technology systems are insufficient to help them manage the environmental impact of their vehicles.

Meanwhile, one in five businesses said they do not measure their carbon footprint and more than a third (34%) would not be confident calculating an EV fleet’s TCO.

Andrea Manenti, Bridgestone EMIA north region vice president said: “Transport electrification is gathering pace but establishing a management strategy for fleet decarbonisation is viewed by many as a challenging undertaking.

“Not only must businesses plan for transitioning to electric vehicles, but also for optimising their operations – from maximising electric miles to ensuring effective charging, maintenance and service delivery.

“Data insights generated by dedicated software solutions are a critical ingredient to helping simplify this process, enabling fleets to make the right decisions at the right times.”

Beverley Wise, regional director for Webfleet, UK and Ireland, added: “While some fleet and transport managers are under pressure from board level execs to develop electrification strategies apace, others are struggling to champion the cause and make their voices heard.

“Establishing a strong business case that brings all influential stakeholders on board – from sustainability and utility managers to heads of finance, HR, procurement and marcomms – can be crucial for fleets looking to make the electric transition.

“Calculating projected total cost of ownership (TCO) savings, using telematics data to compare conventional internal combustion fleet running costs with EV alternatives, can be a persuasive starting point. Wider justifications can include supporting ESG, CSR, reputational benefits and meeting the environmental expectations of customers.

“Electric passenger cars may have been the motor industry’s headline-makers to date, but commercial EV adoption is now set to enter a phase of exponential growth as progressive fleets look to stay ahead of the curve and retain their competitive advantage.”