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Stuart O'Brien

Government wants all new rapid chargepoints to offer card payment by 2020

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The government wants to see all newly-installed rapid and higher powered chargepoints to provide debit or credit card payment by spring 2020.

One year since the launch of its Road to Zero Strategy, the government has signalled it expects industry to develop a roaming solution across the charging network, allowing electric vehicle drivers to use any public chargepoint through a single payment method without needing multiple smartphone apps or membership cards.

To date, government and industry have supported the installation of over 20,000 publicly accessible chargepoints in the UK, including more than 2,000 rapid devices, making it one of the largest charging networks in Europe. There are now more locations where you can charge your car than there are petrol stations, with almost every motorway service area having at least one rapid chargepoint.

To increase confidence in the charging network and reduce range anxiety the government says it’s working with industry to make chargepoint data freely available, helping drivers easily locate and access available chargepoints.

Future of Mobility Minister, Michael Ellis, said: “The government’s vision is for the UK to have one of the best electric vehicle charging networks in the world, but we know the variety of payment methods at the moment is a source of frustration for drivers.

“It is crucial there are easy payment methods available to improve electric vehicle drivers’ experiences and give drivers choice. This will help even more people enjoy the benefits electric vehicles bring and speed up our journey to a zero-emission future.”

Business and Industry Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “Initiatives like this are essential as we move towards a net zero economy, making it easier than ever for people to own and use electric vehicles.

“Investing in batteries, technology and infrastructure through our modern Industrial Strategy and Faraday battery challenge will ensure the UK leads the world in the global transition away from fossil fuels while supporting the future of our automotive industry.”

The announcement comes as BP Chargemaster, the operator of the UK’s largest public charging network, has taken what it says is a major step forward for industry by committing to introducing card payment on all new 50kW and 150kW chargers. It will also retrofit its existing UK-made rapid chargers with the technology over the next 12 months.

David Newton, CEO at BP Chargemaster, said: “As the operator of the UK’s largest public charging network, including the greatest number of rapid chargers, we support the government’s vision for all new rapid and ultra-fast chargers to support contactless bank card payment.

“We will be going one step further, not only by introducing this facility on all new 50kW and 150kW chargers from today, but also by committing to retrofit our existing UK-made rapid chargers with this technology over the next 12 months.”

The move follows the Prime Minister’s announcement last week that the government wants to see the development of a high speed electric vehicle charging infrastructure nationally; with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to lead a review on the vision for the network.

The government has made clear that if the market is too slow to deliver improvements across the entire network it is prepared to intervene to ensure a good deal for consumers by using powers in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act.

Image by Goran Horvat from Pixabay

Commercial fleets in South West offered best practice training

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New training course dates have been announced for fleet managers across the South West of England via a partnership between Venson Automotive Solutions and the Freight Transport Association (FTA). 

Taking place in September and October in Devon and Cornwall, the course will focus on achieving higher standards and best practice in managing light commercial vehicles.

Fleet managers are being advised to sign up ASAP to guarantee places. 

The most recent Road Casualties Report from the DfT revealed there were 26,610 people killed or seriously injured reported to the police in the year ending June 2018. An estimated one third of road traffic collisions in Britain involve someone at work, excluding commuting journeys.

Alison Bell, Marketing Director for Venson Automotive Solutions, said: “Employers have a duty of care to those driving as part of their work activities. They must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that they are providing a safe working environment at all times. 

“The stark DfT road accident figures demonstrate why it is important for companies to comply with health and safety regulations when operating a van fleet. We are therefore supporting commercial vehicle operators in Devon and Cornwall by providing a course designed for individuals who manage or supervise a van fleet. Having achieved Van Excellence accreditation ourselves, we are passionate about sharing best practice with fleet and transport teams.

“The training sessions include vehicle maintenance systems, overloading, towing and driver competence. This course is part of Venson’s focus on raising standards and helping fleet managers operate safe, legal and efficient commercial fleets to help reduce road casualties across the UK.”

Individuals attend a half-day workshop which includes a short exam that leads to  the FTA Certificate of Excellence, which is valid for 3 years.

The FTA Van Excellence Code incorporates advice and support from many of the UK’s leading van fleets and represents an ideal basis for the safe and legal operation of vans and light commercial vehicles (LCV). It also forms the basis of the accreditation process for operators seeking recognition under FTA’s Van Excellence scheme.

For more information on the seminars please contact Arron Wells 08444 99 1402 or email events@venson.com

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Infrastructure and tax top list of fleet buyer concerns

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A lack of road infrastructure causing greater congestion and increased vehicle taxation are the two biggest issues facing fleet and mobility managers in the next five years.

The finding comes from the 2019 edition of Arval Mobility Observatory, which covers 3,930 fleets and asks a wide ranging set of questions about fleet and mobility trends.

When asked what they expected to be the main challenges facing them in the next five years, 49% replied lack of road infrastructure causing increased congestion, 30% increased vehicle taxation, 19% unclear Government policy towards transport, 19% implementation of alternative fuel policies, 16% increased driver personal taxation and 16% the introduction of more Clean Air Zones in urban areas.

Shaun Sadlier, Head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, said: “The breadth of issues mentioned in response to this question shows that fleet and mobility managers are facing some very difficult challenges over the next few years.

“Probably the most interesting aspect is that the majority of these issues are linked to external regulatory and policy factors that have an impact on fleets, rather than being practical issues. 

“Some of these, such as Clean Air Zones, are generally supported by fleets who are well aware of the need to make their transport activities as environmentally responsible as possible. However, the fact that 19% of fleets believe Government policy is unclear and that large numbers mention both vehicle and personal taxation is certainly frustrating.

Sadlier added that he was unsurprised that the issue of road infrastructure causing congestion had topped the list of challenges.

“When we talk to fleet and mobility managers, there is a general level of concern, not really over the building of new roads, although these are needed in some places, but at the condition of existing ones and the impression that they are not being used to their maximum efficiency.”

He also said that fleet recognition of the challenges arising from the switch to wider fuel diversity, especially widespread use of electric vehicles (EV), was understandable.

“Cars and vans have been almost exclusively powered by combustion engines for more than a century and a fundamental shift to having a relatively high EV penetration into fleets definitely represents a change.

“However, our experience to date is that many of the factors that are perceived as obstacles can be overcome relatively easily with the right approach, and we are supporting many businesses through this transition both in an advisory and practical manner. 

“Generally, fleets that have made the switch to EVs are very positive about the experience.”

Main challenges expected in terms of fleet management in the next five years?

Lack of road infrastructure causing increased congestion                  49%

Increased vehicle taxation                                                                         30%

Unclear Government policy towards transport                                      19%

Implementation of alternative fuel policies                                             19%

Increased driver personal taxation                                                          16%

Introduction of more Clean Air Zones in urban areas                          16%

Image by John Howard from Pixabay 

Reserve your free priority VIP place at the Total Supply Chain Summit

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Don’t delay! Reserve your free priority VIP place at the Total Supply Chain Summit this autumn.

It takes place on November 4th & 5th at the Midland Hotel, Manchester and is entirely free for you to attend.

Simply register your place here, for the opportunity to:-

– Meet new innovative and budget-saving suppliers

– Learn via our series of seminar sessions

– Network with other senior supply chain, distribution and logistics professionals

You’ll also enjoy complimentary meals and refreshments, overnight accommodation is included and there’s and invitation to our gala dinner with entertainment.

Book your FREE place here, but act swiftly as we have a limited number of places.

An event created especially for fleet managers

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This autumn we are hosting the Fleet Services Management Summit – a unique event designed specifically for fleet management professionals like you.

11 & 12 November 2019 – Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire

Your personal two-day experience will be created based entirely on your own requirements and interests…

  • Receive a bespoke itinerary of 1-2-1 meetings with suppliers who match your business and upcoming projects
  • Choose to attend a range of insightful seminar sessions hosted by industry thought-leaders.

Meanwhile, we will provide all of our VIP guests with full hospitality, including overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our gala dinner with entertainment.

We have just 60 VIP places, so register today so that we can start creating your own personalised experience at the Summit.

Daily rental firms keen on ‘ready-to-retail’

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Daily rental companies are looking to ensure that the cars and vans they remarketed are in ready-to-retail condition, with the trend shifting from ensuring vehicles reach the used market from grade 2-3 condition to grade 1-2 condition in 2019.

That’s according to research by automotive e-commerce specialists epyx, with Vicky Gardner, head of remarking at the firm, stating: “There are really two convergent trends behind this. One is that the used sector today overwhelmingly prefers ready-to-retail stock but it remains in short supply, relatively speaking.
 
“What this means is that it really pays for companies such as daily rental operations to ensure that their cars and vans are presented to buyers in grade 1 or 2 condition. The premium being paid over grade 2-3 is very much worth it and they have moved to meet this demand over the last year or more.
 
“The second trend is that, thanks to technology, rental companies are much more aware of the condition of their vehicles on a day-to-day basis and are able to keep them in better shape.
 
“With handheld devices, the thoroughness of checking and recording of data every time that a vehicle is hired vastly exceeds older, largely manual processes. This means that vehicles stay in better condition throughout their life on the fleet.”
 
Vicky added that, as a result, the results being achieved by daily rental companies were much more impressive today than even just a couple of years ago.
 
“We work with a number of daily rental companies and the improved results that we have seen across the market in recent years have been very encouraging. All of them are achieving noticeably higher remarketing returns through presenting better quality stock but also through using online options very intelligently. 
 
“For example, where they have a quantity of similar stock coming off their fleet at the same time, which is sometimes an issue for rental companies, they are using online tools to distribute it across the market more effectively.”
 
A recently-introduced Damage Module by epyx helps to maintain the condition of hire vehicles for users of the 1Link Hire Network platform. 

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Businesses unwilling to give up company cars for mobility solutions

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Few businesses would be willing to give up their company car and use a mobility solution instead.

That’s according to research from Arval – In response to a question asking whether they would fully or in part give up their vehicle for a range of alternatives, just 7% said they would probably or certainly opt instead for car sharing, 9% for ride sharing, 8% for a mobility budget, 11% for a private lease vehicle and 7% for mid-term rental.

The finding comes from the 2019 edition of Arval Mobility Observatory, research which covers 3,930 fleets and asks a wide ranging set of questions about fleet and mobility trends.

It does show, however, that there are often differences between smaller and larger organisations when it comes to attitudes to mobility products. For example, while just 3% of businesses with fewer than 10 employees would opt for car sharing while in those with 1,000 or more employees, this grows to 14%. 

There are also signs of widespread interest in mobility solutions. Car sharing is already being used or considered for use with the next three years by 31% of respondents, ride sharing by 45%, mobility budgets by 21%, private lease by 23% and medium term rental by 22%.

The research also looks at reasons why drivers are unlikely to want to give up their company cars. They are ease of motoring (mentioned by 16% of respondents), not having to finance their own vehicle (14%), no risk of ownership (10%) and delivery of a new car every 3-4 years (8%).

Shaun Sadlier, Head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, said: “There is a lot of discussion in corporate circles about mobility solutions at the moment and our research shows that interest is high. As a provider, we believe that there is considerable potential for these products.

“What is clear above all, though, is that the company car looks set to remain the core transport method for the foreseeable future. While decision makers and employees in organisations are interested in mobility solutions, it appears that the vast majority see them as supplementing or being a partial alternative to the traditional fleet.

“The reasons for this are simple, we believe. Some of them are revealed in our research by showing how much employees value having a company car and the benefits it brings. The other is that, when a typical multi-stop journey is undertaken, a car is literally the only practical option.

“A mixed provision model is one that we have been saying for some time is the most likely to develop in the majority of businesses, where a range of mobility solutions are used alongside company cars with employees using the most appropriate form of transport for each journey.

“Our belief is that, over the next few years, as more and more fleet managers become mobility managers, one of the most interesting developments will be the process that businesses undergo in learning how to use mobility options in the most effective manner.”

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Diesel car sales continue to fall as electric rises

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Diesel car sales in the UK fell by another 242,000 in the last year, from 930,000 to 688,000, far outweighing the 131,000 rise in petrol car sales.

That’s according to new data from accountancy UHY Hacker Young, which says the diesel emissions scandal and subsequent ‘demonization of diesel’ has now led to two consecutive years of sharply falling diesel car sales, with this year’s 26% decline matching the 26% fall in 2017/18.

Petrol sales were up by 10% in the past year.

The 688,000 diesel cars sold in the past year represent just over half the 1.27 million sold in 2015/16, prior to the diesel emissions scandal. In the wake of that scandal, several taxes and charges were introduced to discourage diesel car purchases, including increases in car tax and company car tax for diesel cars, and a £12.50 daily charge for most diesel cars to enter the London’s new ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone’.

The biggest jump in new car sales in the past year has been seen among battery electric vehicles – ‘pure’ electric vehicles that use no fossil fuels at all. This category saw sales rise 41% from 13,000 in 2017/18 to 18,500 in 2018/19.

3,200 of these battery electric cars were registered by Tesla in the past year, down 24% from 4,200 in the previous year.

The first quarter of 2019 saw the biggest-ever quarter for sales of battery electric vehicles, with 7,000 new vehicles registered. The primary driver was Nissan’s new Leaf model.

Hybrid electric models, such as the Toyota Prius, saw sales rise another 26% to 92,000 in the past year. The category now makes up 4% of all new cars sold.

Paul Daly, automotive partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “Diesel sales have now almost halved in the two years since the emissions scandal – this has changed the landscape of new car sales completely.

“Between the negative perceptions of diesel engines among buyers, and the Government’s moves to discourage diesel through tax, it’s unlikely that diesel sales will recover in the foreseeable future.

“This is a shame, as the latest Euro 6 diesels actually make a compelling environmental case, especially for higher mileage drivers.

“Manufacturers and dealerships will have hoped that petrol sales would make up for the shortfall, but that simply hasn’t happened.

“The accelerating sales growth of battery electric vehicles is great for the small number of manufacturers who have a credible challenger in that market. However, that market is still only a tiny fraction of new car sales overall.

“The real disruptor to the market at present remains hybrids, and battery electric vehicles still have a big gap to close to change that.”

Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

Fleet Services Management Summit – Save these dates!

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The Fleet Services Management Summit is a unique bi-annual, two-day event which allows senior supply chain, distribution and logistics professionals to meet with innovative and competitive suppliers to the industry.

11 & 12 November 2019 – Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire

8 & 9 June 2020 – Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire

It is entirely free for fleet professionals to attend and, as our VIP guest, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of pre-arranged, face-to-face meetings with suppliers who match your requirements and upcoming projects.

During the course of the event, you can also attend insightful and inspirational seminars from industry thought-leaders. And there are plenty of opportunities to network with like-minded peers who share your challenges.

Overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments plus an invitation to our gala dinner with entertainment is also included with your free ticket.

Simply register your place here.

www.fleetservicessummit.co.uk

Can you afford to miss the Total Supply Chain Summit?

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The Total Supply Chain Summit is coming this November – it could connect you with innovative new suppliers and cost-effective solutions, so don’t miss out!

And, as you’re a senior supply chain, distribution or logistics professional, you are eligible to attend to free as our VIP guest. Here’s what you need to know:-

This is a bespoke and highly-targeted event created specifically for the supply chain sector. It is entirely FREE for you to attend. Simply register your place here.

When:4 & 5 November 2019

Where:The Midland Hotel, Manchester

Format:Corporate ‘speed-dating’. As our VIP guest, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of pre-arranged, 1-2-1 meetings with suppliers relevant to your requirements. A series of seminars will also be hosted throughout the two days, and you can network with professionals who share your challenges.

Overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our networking dinner, are included with your free ticket.

Who Attends:Senior Supply Chain, Distribution, Logistics and Operations professionals like you.

What are they saying?

“The selective meeting format means that, as a buyer, you can schedule meetings with specific companies in the knowledge that it is likely you can work together” – Whirlpool

“Great event hosted, meeting suppliers we normally wouldn’t think of, however generated some very promising outcomes for the future of our business” – General Mills

“A great format to meet suppliers and find solutions to challenges” – Wow Drinks

Would you like to join them? Register your free place today!