Stuart O'Brien, Author at Fleet Summit
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Stuart O'Brien

SMMT calls for new incentive plan to grow UK’s zero emission truck fleet

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The UK Government should reform its ‘dated’ Plug-in Truck Grant to reflect the progress made by the sector in developing new zero emission truck technology and help cut CO2 by 18.8 million tonnes a year, according to calls from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT cites ONS data that shows that following billions in investment from manufacturers, there are now 27 models of zero emission trucks available to UK operators with many more to come, based on its own registration data.

While the Plug-in Truck Grant, introduced in 2016, seeks to help operators switch from conventionally fuelled heavy commercial vehicles to zero emission alternatives, models can only be eligible after undertaking an approval process that takes around two years. The SMMT says that as a result, less than half (10) ZEV truck models on the market today are currently eligible for grants.

Given new truck purchases are critical long-term investments for hauliers operating with tight margins, transitioning to zero emission operations requires commercial benefit and operator confidence. Zero emission trucks are currently more expensive to manufacture so grants are essential if operators are to benefit from the many advantages, including potentially lower running costs, quieter operations and more positive public perception.

While 2024 saw a record number of new zero emission trucks registered, there are still just 327 vehicles in operation – meaning drivers are more likely to encounter a pink van (564 on the road) than a plug-in truck. These trucks already meet a wide range of business needs – with vehicles up to 44 tonnes and ranges of up to 311 miles – but fleets need a ‘next generation’ incentive scheme which makes it much easier for new zero emission trucks to qualify, plus a dedicated national infrastructure plan to power Britain’s road haulage fleet.

Hauliers who have already committed to fleet carbon reduction must then install depot charging or refuelling – a significant additional, but essential, cost – to ensure they can use their zero emission vehicles as easily and flexibly as their business requires. However, HGV operators do not have the same access to infrastructure installation support as other sectors, and even those who have the resources to invest in depot chargepoints face additional hurdles in terms of grid connectivity and local planning constraints. The challenge continues once out on the road as there is currently just one HGV-dedicated public charge location in the whole country, on the M61 Southbound at Rivington – preventing longer distance operators from going green.

Given truck decarbonisation is essential to the UK’s 2035 net zero targets and with the end of sale of new non-zero emission HGVs weighing less than 26 tonnes coming at the same time as the car and van sectors, urgent action is needed to create the right conditions to allow hauliers to plan their net zero investments.

Operators need to see a nationally consistent, locally delivered plan for charging infrastructure, the provision of genuinely compelling incentives for vehicle purchases, as well as support for depot investment. A national plan must also reform planning laws to speed up grid connectivity at depot sites, while ramping up the provision of HGV-dedicated public charging infrastructure to make the transition fair and accessible for all operators.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “2023 was the best year ever for zero emission truck uptake but they remain a tiny fraction of the UK’s fleet. With an end of sale date of some fossil fuel HGVs starting in less than 11 years’ time – the same as cars and vans – urgent action is required. Operators facing higher capital expenditure, a paucity of dedicated charging infrastructure, planning constraints and grid delays to depot upgrades, need a next generation incentive and infrastructure strategy and planning reform if they are to invest in the greener future the country needs. Doing so would not just cut carbon and improve air quality, it would put the UK at the forefront of global road transport decarbonisation.”

Photo by Netze BW on Unsplash

Tesla introduces new pricing structure for Supercharger network

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By WhichEV

Tesla has revised its pricing structure for its Supercharger network in the UK, introducing a new membership model that offers lower charging rates for all electric vehicle (EV) owners. The company confirmed that as of April 13th, it moved to a membership-based system, where Tesla owners are enrolled automatically.

Having lost ground to BYD in terms of pure EV sales, Tesla is now launching a marketing initiative in an area where it knows it can win – its Supercharger Network. We recently discussed product pricing with a senior member of Tesla’s management team. When we asked, “So how long before we will be able to buy a Tesla for £20-25,000?” – we got a wry smile along with the reply, there’s one over there. The Tesla chap was pointing to a two year old Model 3 Standard Range. For now, that’s all Tesla has to compete with the up-coming flood of decent quality Chinese options arriving in European markets.

For more on this story, head over to WhichEV.

Two-thirds of fleet vehicles ‘ready to go electric’

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New research has found that two-thirds of vehicles (cars and vans) operated by private and public sector organisations in the UK are ready to go electric — contrary to increasing industry and media pessimism around electric vehicle (EV) adoption.

Geotab’s  ‘Taking Charge: On the Road to an EV Future’ report analysed driver data from 1.3 million vehicles across seven countries over 12 months. It found that fleets switching to EVs could reduce 2.2 billion gallons of fuel from conventional vehicles while avoiding approximately 19 million metric tons of CO2 emissions over the next seven years.

From the analysis, the UK was also singled out as by far the most ‘EV suitable’ market in Europe. That is despite having some of the poorest national EV incentives on offer compared to the other European countries in the report. France, Germany, Italy and Spain all currently offer EV buyers up-front purchase incentives*, whereas the UK government withdrew the Plug-in Car Grant in 2022.

Geotab found that 66% of light-duty vehicles (cars and vans) in the UK are ready to go electric and, crucially, save money for the organisations running them. The UK’s EV suitability compares favourably to other markets covered in the report, which includes Canada (with an EV suitability of 50%), Spain (43%), the United States (38%), Germany (35%), Italy (28%), France (20%).

The 66% figure for the UK is based on a typical seven-year replacement cycle for a fleet vehicle. Expanding this period to 10 years would increase the percentage of fleet cars and vans in the UK ready to go electric to 73%, based on the fact that EVs have a longer usable lifespan than their petrol and diesel counterparts thanks to service, maintenance and repair (SMR) savings.

“The idea that the UK is not ready for mass EV adoption is a fallacy,” said David Savage, Vice President for the UK and Ireland at Geotab. “On the contrary, it’s time for British businesses to ‘double down’ on fleet electrification – not just for the good of the environment and our collective climate goals but for their bottom line. A visionary CEO of a business operating a vehicle fleet could effectively pay their own salary by going electric, thanks to EVs’ financial savings.”

The Taking Charge study delves into real-world telematics data to understand the feasibility of transitioning from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to EVs within light-duty fleets, and the potential financial and CO2 savings available.

The report reveals that by going electric, British private and public sector organisations could reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) per vehicle by £13,279 over a seven-year period, equating to a saving of £876,414 on a large fleet of 100 vehicles.

These numbers were calculated using Geotab’s proven EV Suitability Assessment (EVSA) tool, which helps fleets transition to electric vehicles. EVSA uses telematics data to understand a fleet’s specific needs to make a tailored EV adoption recommendation. It maps the fleet’s driving patterns against real-world EV performance metrics to pinpoint which fleet vehicles can be replaced with an EV available in that market. The tool also provides a forecast of the financial savings and environmental benefits of making the switch, taking into consideration the purchase price along with fuel and maintenance costs.

When evaluating the suitability of replacing an ICE vehicle with an EV, Geotab looks at two essential factors: Is there a range-capable electric model that can meet the existing daily driving requirements and does it make economic sense to make the switch?  Driving patterns can have a major impact on fleet electrification potential as they determine whether a suitable replacement vehicle is available that satisfies the vehicle’s range needs while saving money.

For a replacement to be considered range-capable, it needs to be able to drive 98% of the days that year on a single charge. This 2% margin allows outlier days to exclude abnormal driving distance days outside of standard usage. For it to be considered suitable, the EV would have to be both range-capable and economical, i.e. have a TCO that is lesser or equal to a new replacement ICE model.

Photo by Red Dot on Unsplash

FLEET SOFTWARE MONTH: From Paper Maps to Predictive Maintenance – How fleet software has evolved…

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For decades, fleet managers relied on clipboards, spreadsheets, and a healthy dose of guesswork to keep their vehicles humming. But the times they are a-changin’. Fleet management software (FMS) has emerged as a game-changer, transforming the way businesses manage their mobile assets and optimise operational efficiency. Here’s how…

The Efficiency Revolution:

FMS offers a centralised platform for managing everything from vehicle location and fuel consumption to driver behaviour and maintenance schedules. This translates to several key benefits:

  • Optimised Routing and Scheduling: Gone are the days of inefficient routes and wasted miles. FMS helps plan fuel-efficient journeys, factoring in traffic conditions and real-time updates. This minimises journey times and driver fatigue.
  • Reduced Fuel Costs: FMS provides detailed fuel usage reports, helping identify areas for improvement. Features like fuel card integration and idle time monitoring can lead to significant cost savings.
  • Improved Maintenance Management: FMS helps manage preventive maintenance schedules, ensuring vehicles are serviced on time, preventing costly breakdowns, and extending vehicle lifespan.
  • Enhanced Driver Behaviour: Telematics data from FMS can reveal harsh braking, speeding, and other risky driving behaviours. This allows for targeted driver coaching, promoting a safer and more fuel-efficient driving style.
  • Real-Time Visibility: FMS offers real-time tracking of vehicles, allowing managers to monitor their location, speed, and overall performance. This improves communication with drivers and provides valuable insights for route optimisation.

The Future of Fleet Management in the UK:

The FMS landscape in the UK is constantly evolving, with exciting trends shaping the future:

  • Connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT): The rise of connected vehicles and IoT sensors will provide even richer data streams for FMS, enabling predictive maintenance and real-time fault detection.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML will be used to analyse FMS data, identify patterns, and predict potential issues. This allows for proactive maintenance and preventative actions, minimising downtime and optimising resource allocation.
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Integration: As electric vehicles become more prevalent, FMS will need to adapt to manage charging schedules, optimise battery range, and integrate seamlessly with charging infrastructure.
  • Focus on Sustainability: FMS will play a crucial role in promoting sustainable practices in fleet management. By optimising routes and monitoring fuel consumption, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint.

The Final Gear:

Fleet management software has transformed the way UK businesses operate their fleets. By leveraging data, automation, and advanced analytics, FMS empowers managers to make informed decisions, optimise resource allocation, and achieve greater operational efficiency. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more innovative solutions that will further revolutionise the future of fleet management. Remember, in today’s competitive landscape, efficiency is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. FMS is a powerful tool that helps businesses stay ahead of the curve and ensure their fleets operate at peak performance.

Are you searching for Fleet Management Software solutions for your organisation? The Fleet Summit can help!

If you specialise in Fleet Management Software we want to hear from you!

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Each month on Fleet Management Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the fleet market – and in May we’ll be focussing on Fleet Management Software solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help fleet buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Fleet Management Software and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Nick Stannard on 01992 374092 /

Here’s our features list in full:

May 24 – Fleet Management Software
Jun 24 – Telematics/Tracking
Jul 24 – Contract Hire & Leasing
Aug 24 – LPG/Alternative Fuel & Fuel Management
Sept 24 – EV Charging & Infrastructure
Oct 24 – Duty of Care
Nov 24 – Grey Fleet
Dec 24 – Service, Maintenance & Repair
Jan 25 – Electric & Hybrid Vehicles
Feb 25 – Security & Dash Cams
Mar 25 – Driver Training
Apr 25 – Risk Management

VIDEO: Here’s what to expect at June’s Fleet Summit

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There are still free delegate passes available for you to attend the Fleet Summit in June – Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to meet the industry’s best suppliers in one place!

3rd & 4th June 2024 – Hilton, Manchester Deansgate

Your free pass will include: short meetings with various suppliers, numerous networking opportunities, a buffet lunch, refreshments throughout, a seat at educational seminars, overnight accommodation and a gala dinner with entertainment.

What to expect at the event >>

Click Here To Register

For more information please feel free to contact us here.

LEVC looks to offset PiTG with new TX finance offer

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LEVC has unveiled a new finance deposit contribution for its TX taxi, which is says fully offsets the recent reduction in the Plug-in Taxi Grant (PiTG).

Making a £1,500 deposit contribution available for an initial period on all new TX taxi models across all finance types offered by LEVC Financial Services with zero customer deposit and at a subsidised finance rate of 10.51% APR representative, the new campaign offsets the PiTG reduction, which was reduced from £7,500 to £6,000 at the start of the month.

Launched in 2018, more than half of London’s entire black cab fleet now zero-emission capable, with the TX also on sale in over 25 countries across the globe, playing a vital role in offering clean green, and accessible urban mobility.

The new finance offer follows LEVC’s recent announcement regarding its new pure electric vehicle technology, which it says will transform the brand from a high-end taxi manufacturer to a leading provider of zero emission e-mobility solutions. LEVC claims its Space Oriented Architecture (SOA) is the world’s first EV platform focused on setting new standards for onboard space.

The copay says the architecture will bring interior-optimised, zero-emission mobility to more consumers than ever before, while enabling LEVC to enter new sectors, outside of its existing models.

As the UK’s electric TX fleet increases, LEVC says so does the positive contribution this purpose-built vehicle is making to cities. Powered by its eCity technology, LEVC’s electric TX taxi has travelled more than 780 million miles globally and it claims has prevented more than 240,000 tonnes of harmful CO2 emissions from entering the world’s atmosphere.

Chris Allen, Managing Director, LEVC, said: “Demand for our award-winning TX continues to accelerate, but with the recent £1,500 reduction in the PiTG coupled with currently high national interest rates, drivers need support to continue their transition into new, green taxis. LEVC recognises this and it’s why we’re making this new contribution and subsidised APR finance offer available, initially bridging the gap for our customers. Looking ahead, LEVC will continue to work closely with government to provide long term support to the trade, including provisions beyond the current one-year PiTG extension.”

THE WHICHEV VIEW: UK car market sees notable growth according to the SMMT

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By WhichEV

The UK’s new car market recorded a significant upturn, marking its 20th consecutive month of growth, with new car registrations climbing by 10.4%. This surge resulted in 317,786 new cars being registered, all sporting the new ’24’ numberplate, indicating the strongest March since 2019. However, this achievement still trails behind the pre-pandemic figures by 30.6%.

This period of growth predominantly stems from fleet investments, which saw a 29.6% increase. Despite this positive trend, the sector faces challenges with a downturn in private buyer registrations by 7.7%, affected by the prevailing economic difficulties, low consumer confidence, and heightened interest rates. Additionally, small business registrations experienced a decline of 8.0%.

Although petrol cars still sell and diesel continues to dwindle, there was a noteworthy surge in the registration of  vehicles with an electric motor – led by hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) registrations, which hit a record 19.6% increase, totalling 44,550 units or 14.0% of the market share.

Click here to read the full analysis over at WhichEV.

RISK MANAGEMENT MONTH: Navigating the road ahead when it comes to tech and training

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The UK’s fleet management sector facies a multitude of daily risks. From driver behaviour to vehicle downtime, effective risk management is crucial for ensuring safety, compliance, and operational efficiency. Here, we explore the key recent and future trends shaping how fleet managers mitigate risk, based on inout from attendees at the Fleet Summit…

Recent Trends:

  • Driver Behaviour Monitoring: Telematics systems with advanced driver behaviour monitoring (DBM) are gaining traction. These systems track metrics like harsh braking, speeding, and phone use, allowing fleet managers to identify and address risky driving habits.
  • Focus on Data-Driven Decision Making: Big data analytics are playing an increasingly important role. Analysing fleet data on accidents, fuel consumption, and vehicle maintenance helps identify areas of risk and inform proactive risk management strategies.
  • Proactive Maintenance and Safety Programs: Fleet managers are moving beyond reactive maintenance, adopting preventative measures like scheduled servicing and vehicle health checks. This reduces the risk of breakdowns and accidents.
  • Duty of Care and Compliance: Regulations like the Working Time Directive and the Road Traffic Act place strict obligations on fleet managers regarding driver well-being and vehicle safety. Risk management solutions are tailored to ensure compliance with these regulations.

Future Trends:

  • Predictive Maintenance powered by AI: Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize risk management. AI-powered predictive maintenance can anticipate potential vehicle failures based on real-time data, minimizing downtime and repair costs.
  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS): The rise of ADAS features like lane departure warnings, blind-spot detection, and autonomous emergency braking will further enhance safety and reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Cybersecurity for Connected Vehicles: As vehicles become increasingly connected, cybersecurity risks rise. Fleet management solutions will prioritize robust cybersecurity measures to protect against hacking and data breaches.
  • Focus on Sustainability and Environmental Risk: Sustainability is becoming a key concern. Fleet management solutions will incorporate features for monitoring fuel efficiency, optimizing routes, and reducing emissions, mitigating environmental risk.
  • Integration with Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Expect greater integration between fleet management solutions and wider logistics and supply chain management systems. This allows for real-time risk assessment and proactive adjustments to minimize disruptions.

Benefits of Effective Risk Management:

Implementing these trends offers significant benefits for UK fleet management companies:

  • Reduced Accidents and Downtime: Effective risk management leads to fewer accidents, breakdowns, and vehicle downtime, resulting in a safer and more efficient fleet operation.
  • Improved Driver Safety: By addressing risky driving behaviour, fleet managers can ensure the safety of drivers and other road users.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Robust risk management systems ensure compliance with relevant regulations, avoiding potential fines and legal repercussions.
  • Reduced Operational Costs: Minimizing accidents, breakdowns, and driver inefficiency translates to significant cost savings.
  • Enhanced Sustainability: By promoting fuel efficiency and responsible fleet operation, companies can reduce their environmental impact.

The future of risk management in fleet management lies in harnessing technology, data analytics, and a proactive approach. By embracing these trends, fleet managers can create a safer, more efficient, and sustainable fleet operation, navigating the road ahead with confidence.

Are you looking for Risk Management solutions for your organisation? The Fleet Summit can help!

Photo by Loic Leray on Unsplash

FLEET QUIZ: How well do you know your road signs?

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2022 saw over 5,483,000 commercial trucks, buses, vans and cars on the road, a record share of the total number of vehicles being actively driven. It is thought there are more professional drivers on the road than ever, suggesting that the average standard of driving is increasing. Despite this, over half of Britain’s drivers admit they struggle with the Highway Code, identifying a more widespread issue when it comes to knowing the road.

Many commercial drivers hold a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), requiring regular re-certification – but if it’s been a while since your last training course, it’s always worth brushing up on your knowledge.

So, how well do you know your road signs? Some of the more unique signage might not appear in the Highway Code, but you might have seen them in a training course. If you’re a commercial taxi driver and any of this signage appears in your local area, they could even feature in your locality training. Here, the road surfacing experts at Instarmac take a look at some of the most commonly misunderstood road signs in the UK…

It’s one of the more common road signs, but a surprising number of people are unaware of what this sign means. This sign tells drivers that the road is a ‘clearway’ – which means no stopping under any circumstances.

That means no picking up or dropping off passengers, which has caught plenty of drivers out in the UK since these signs are commonly found outside schools.

Typically seen on rural roads near military bases, this sign tells you to watch out for slow-moving military vehicles crossing or driving on the road. Tanks can weigh up to 70 tons, so it’s unsurprising that they’re often limited to about 40 mph. One to be aware of if you’re driving near a military facility.

What kind of zone is this sign referring to? If you haven’t noticed any previous signs relating to parking restrictions, this sign can be confusing. But it simply means that any local parking restrictions are ending – so beyond this sign, parking is likely to be free. Always double check to be safe and avoid picking up a parking ticket.

This sign is another which commonly catches drivers out, thanks to its design (or lack of). If you see this sign, it means all vehicles are banned from using the road ahead. So, turn back or you could find yourself with a parking ticket!

No, your car isn’t automatically at risk of explosion if you see this sign. If you’re carrying explosives on behalf of your company or employer, however, you’ll be unable to enter this area. This sign means “No vehicles carrying explosives,” which could apply to couriers with sensitive cargo.

If you think this sign looks similar to the “no stopping” sign, that’s because it does. A blue circular background with a single diagonal red line across it means “no waiting” rather than no stopping. So, if you’re picking a passenger up in one of these areas, it’s worth avoiding stopping for too long.

If you’re often driving in rural areas, like Devon or Northumberland, you might’ve come across this sign before. It tells motorists that this road is a hotspot for Migratory Toad Crossings. Drivers should be aware of large numbers of toads crossing these roads, in order to reach their seasonal homes.

Usually seen near level crossings, or perhaps in tunnels, this sign denotes the fact that there are overhead electrical hazards in the area. It typically warns of danger, like the presence of overhead lines used for trains – particularly important for drivers of taller HGVs. You might also see similar signs near building sites where live overhead wires are providing power to large-scale plants or equipment.

Usually used when the road ahead splits into two, this sign tells drivers that both of the new lanes will direct people to the same location. This helps limit the need for drivers to merge or switch lanes – just stay the course and you’ll end up where you need to be.

This one seems fairly self-explanatory but it’s actually one of the UK’s rarer signs. This sign denotes a railway crossing with no marked barrier or gate to prevent crossing. Since most larger roads have gates to prevent people from crossing at the wrong time, you can expect these to primarily appear on smaller rural roads.

Nick Holmes, Technical Training Manager at Instarmac comments: “Knowing and understanding road signs is vital to being a safe driver and limiting the stress experienced by yourself and others. Some of these signs are incredibly common and all road users – especially those operating commercial vehicles – should be aware of them.

“Others in this list might seem like more of a novelty, but understanding how to react if you do see one of these signs is vital.”

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash