3rd MPU Archives - Fleet Summit

3rd MPU

ELECTRIC & HYBRID MONTH: Making the case for partial fleet electrification

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The adoption of hybrid vehicle technologies in the wider new car market has a direct impact on the thinking of fleet managers and the choices available to them. These factors, driven by environmental concerns, evolving regulations, and economic incentives, promise to reshape how fleets operate in the coming years, as much as fully electric options. Here we collect together key ways hybrid vehicle technologies are poised to impact fleet management in the UK…

  1. Reduced Environmental Impact: Hybrid vehicles, which combine a traditional internal combustion engine with an electric motor, offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional petrol or diesel vehicles. This is particularly pertinent in the UK, where there is a strong governmental push towards reducing carbon emissions. Fleet managers can expect to play a pivotal role in meeting these environmental goals, with hybrids offering a practical and increasingly popular solution.
  2. Lower Operational Costs: One of the most appealing aspects of hybrid vehicles for fleet managers is the potential for reduced operational costs. Hybrids typically consume less fuel and, as a result, incur lower fuel costs. Additionally, they tend to have fewer maintenance requirements than traditional vehicles, owing to their less intensive use of the combustion engine and regenerative braking systems. This reduction in fuel and maintenance costs is likely to be a significant draw for fleet managers looking to optimise their budgets.
  3. Improved Corporate Image: As public awareness of environmental issues grows, the image of a company becomes increasingly tied to its environmental footprint. Companies with hybrid or low-emission fleets are likely to be viewed more favourably, enhancing their corporate image and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers and clients.
  4. Adaptation to Urban Low-Emission Zones: With the introduction of Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) and Clean Air Zones (CAZ) in cities across the UK, fleets containing traditional combustion engine vehicles may face restrictions or additional charges. Hybrid vehicles, due to their lower emissions, are better suited to comply with these regulations, enabling smoother operations in urban centres.
  5. Challenges in Infrastructure and Training: The shift to hybrid fleets will necessitate new infrastructure, such as charging stations, and training for drivers and maintenance staff. Fleet managers will need to plan for these logistical aspects, ensuring that their teams are equipped to handle the unique requirements of hybrid vehicles.
  6. Potential for Government Incentives: To encourage the adoption of greener vehicles, the UK government may offer incentives such as grants, tax benefits, or subsidies for hybrid vehicles. Fleet managers should stay informed about such opportunities, as they could significantly offset the initial higher costs associated with hybrid vehicles.
  7. Integration with Fleet Management Software: As hybrid vehicles often come equipped with advanced telematics systems, their integration into fleet management software platforms will be smoother. This integration will enable more efficient tracking, management, and optimisation of fleet performance.

The rise of hybrid vehicle technologies is set to offer a range of benefits for fleet management in the UK, from reduced environmental impact and operational costs to improved compliance with urban regulations. However, it also brings challenges in infrastructure adaptation and staff training. Fleet managers who proactively embrace these changes and prepare for the integration of hybrid technologies will be well-positioned to lead in this new era of fleet management.

Do you need Electric & Hybrid Vehicle solutions for your organisation? The Fleet Summit can help!

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All TfL fleet suppliers must be FORS Gold accredited from April

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Transport for London (TfL) is introducing new requirements for fleet service contracts as part of plans it says are aimed at improving vehicle safety on London’s roads.

From April 2024, all Greater London Authority Group contracts, worth £1 million and over involving vehicles, will need to be FORS Gold accredited or a TfL equivalent approved scheme (Mission Zero and DVSA Earned Recognition). Encouraging fleet operators to take part in FORS is part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate death and serious injury on the transport network.

FORS currently have over 203,000 vehicles accredited across 4,700 companies both within the UK and abroad. The introduction of additional safety equipment and additional driver training through FORS has led to a 31 per cent reduction in serious injuries as a result of collisions involving commercial vehicles based on performance data submitted for Silver audits between 2021 and 2022.

However, freight vehicles remain disproportionately represented in fatal collisions in the capital, and TfL says more action is needed to achieve the Vision Zero goal. It says moving to the higher standard of FORS Gold (or equivalent) will ensure accredited operators meet the enhanced standards which are above the legal requirements for operating commercial vehicles, further reducing the risk to vulnerable road users.

The new requirements will be enforced from April 2024, and will not affect suppliers with prior contracts. Suppliers holding contracts valued under £1 million will be required to be accredited to a minimum of FORS Silver accredited. Their internal supply chains must also be FORS Bronze accredited.  These changes aim to further enhance the safety standards of fleet services operating in the capital, helping them to reduce road danger for all, including vulnerable road users such as people walking and cycling.

FORS is an accreditation scheme recognising freight and fleet safety and environmental standards. It was created in 2008 by TfL and is now run by Sopra Steria. The voluntary scheme audits fleet operators and awards Bronze, Silver and Gold accreditations. Within the FORS standard, HGVs are required to be fitted with additional safety equipment for the protection of Vulnerable Road Users along with high-quality driver safety training embedded as part of the requirements. FORS assesses and recognises fleet performance in key areas: environmental impact, safety, and operational efficiency. The program provides a framework and sets benchmarks to help operators enhance their performance in these areas.

Initially run as a scheme for fleets operating in the capital, it was expanded nationwide to ensure that people across the UK could benefit from higher vehicle, safety and environmental standards. FORS provides a continuous system of performance improvement, through the accreditation levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold, providing reductions in incidents and collisions, along with the provision of member benefits, such as savings on insurance premiums, free and funded manager training.

TfL and other organisations in London and nationally require FORS standards or equivalent schemes in contracts to improve safety.

Fleet specialist Anglo Scottish Asset Finance completes management buyout

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Durham-based Anglo Scottish Asset Finance has confirmed the completion of a management buyout (MBO) to take back control of the business.

The investment is backed by a consortium of UK-based funders, the company’s original founding directors, wider management team, existing employees, and contractual agents.

Founded in 2007, Anglo Scottish quickly established its name in the finance brokerage sector. In 2015, the company was acquired by McMillan Shakespeare Group. The MBO follows the publicly listed Australian company’s move to seek an appropriate acquirer for its UK operations on the back of a strategic view to exit the UK and focus on its core capabilities down under.

The MBO will result in an expansion of the business’s presence in the UK as Anglo Scottish aims to develop a new funding option for customers while establishing new partnerships, joint ventures and strengthening relationships with current funding partners. It plans to leverage new technologies and expand its capacity to secure new clients and support partner relationships in the industry. The funding raised will support these initiatives as the Anglo Scottish brand continues to develop.

Anglo Scottish supports fleets across the country, having helped businesses across the country access affordable finance for commercial vehicles. The company has also partnered with local councils to deliver the financial assistance scheme for fleets affected by the introduction of Clean Air Zones. This has helped more than 400 businesses to replace non-compliant vehicles.

During 2023, the company added three new divisions – Renewables, Agriculture and Ground Transport – to its existing structure, which already covers Vehicle Finance, Asset Finance, Commercial Finance and more.

The company has increased its headcount to 86, with newly employed staff based in Scotland, Merseyside, Yorkshire, London, and Devon, and has grown its network of tied agents to 68.

Additionally, the company brokered over 12,900 deals in the financial year 2022/23, reaching a substantial milestone with over £519 million of brokered business within the year. During the MBO process, the company offered investment opportunities to all employed staff and agents, allowing all to benefit from the company’s success.

Managing Director David Foster expressed his excitement for the future, stating that the MBO marks a “landmark moment” for Anglo Scottish and its leadership team. He commented: “With this continuing growth, we see a huge opportunity to develop a new way of doing business, offering a broker/funder hybrid service to our customers and bringing us closer to our industry partners.

“While the MBO gives us the financial strength to broaden our market and offering, we will maintain the identity and independent approach that our existing customers and partners have come to expect.

Commenting further David added: “We look forward to a promising future, anticipating continued growth and success for our management team, employees, and the businesses and individuals we serve.”

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash