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The Covid-19 pandemic could see operators take a more radical approach to their future plans with a more rapid uptake of modern technology and electric vehicles than originally planned, according to FleetCheck research.

Peter Golding, FleetCheck MD, said: “With the coronavirus crisis now in its sixth month, we are starting to see some strong indications of how fleets are planning to approach the next few months as well as into 2021 and beyond.

“It’s an interesting moment because the current situation, while obviously dreadful in most respects, has created time and space for fleets to think and to consider ideas that might once might have been considered too radical to be practical.”

Golding added that operators are split in their approach to planning, depending on the sectors they are in.

He said: “There appears to be a split on whether to advance or consolidate. Some fleets are very much doubling down on their strategies for the future, especially around electrification, with some businesses looking to accelerate adoption, and push forward in areas such as EV-based salary sacrifice and handling increased amounts of grey fleet activity.

“The other main approach appears to be to work to contain costs and maximise efficiency as much as possible through sweating existing assets and refining current processes.

“Of course, the difference between these two contrasting lines of thought is very often cash. Businesses that want to undertake radical change need to be free to make investments to see them through while those that are facing tougher times are under pressure to make the most of what they already have.”

Golding argued that this divide may persist as different parts of the economy recover at different speeds.

“Fleets in sectors that are currently doing well – such as delivery companies and online retail – will be able to afford to invest in the future. Those operating in areas such as overseas tourism and hospitality face very different prospects.

“It’s not inconceivable that, in a couple of years, we will see that some fleets have rapidly moved forward and are almost fully electrified while others will have not had the resources to advance much beyond their current situation. How many will fall into one camp and how many into the other will generally depend on their individual rates of recovery.”