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Most wanted fleet ADAS devices revealed

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Collision avoidance and emergency braking head the list of advanced driver assistance (ADAS) systems desired by fleet and mobility managers on company cars.

That’s according to new research from Arval, which reveals 49% ranked collision avoidance or warning systems in top place, followed by automatic emergency or braking systems (46%), pedestrian detection systems (38%), lane departure warning systems (30%), driver fatigue warning systems (30%), automatic parking systems (20%) and adaptive cruise control (15%).

The findings come 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.

The research also looked at the measures taken by employers to minimise road risk. The most common is a risk assessment (61%) followed by a safety communication programme (35%), on-road training (33%) and classroom training (22%).

However, there is a wide variance between the smallest and largest businesses. For example, 84% of those with more than 1,000 employees carry out risk assessments compared to 32% with fewer than 10 employees. The difference is even more marked for on-road training, with 62% against 11%.

Shaun Sadlier, Head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, said: “ADAS systems are becoming very common on company cars but they are something of an issue for fleets in that there is very little reliable information available about which work best in terms of actually helping drivers avoid accidents.

“What this research represents is therefore really a list of which devices fleet and mobility managers believe will be most useful in real world conditions – and what it indicates they want more than anything is to avoid collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians.

“Our view is that ADAS technology works best in promoting safety when used alongside telematics devices that allow driver behaviour to be highlighted, helping employees to make improvements both by themselves and through options such as training.”

Most useful systems to improve driver safety

Collision avoidance or warning systems                                     49%

Automatic emergency or braking system                                    46%

Pedestrian detection system                                                          38%

Lane departure warning system                                                   30%

Driver fatigue warning system                                                      30%

Automatic parking systems                                                            20%

Adaptive cruise control                                                                   15%


Measures taken to minimise road risk

                                                All       Fewer than                10-99             100-999         More than 1000
                                                            10 employees          employees    employees    employees

Risk 
assessment                          61%                32%                62%                79%                84%

Communication
programme                           35%                12%                35%                47%                57%

On-road
training                                  33%                11%                26%                43%                62%

Classroom
training                                  26%                8%                  32%                37%                38%

‘Range & charge point anxiety’ a prevailing urban myth among fleet drivers

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

While many company car drivers are genuinely interested in the benefits of driving an electric vehicle, the UK’s charging structure still creates concern for 69 per cent of those motorists polled.

The findings, from a survey by Venson Automotive Solutions, come as Nissan reports there are now more EV charging stations (9,199) in the UK than conventional fuel stations (8,396) and the Department for Transport reports that at present, the UK has a network of more than 24,000 public charging connectors in nearly 9,000 locations. 

In addition to highlighting a wide misconception that there is a lack of EV charging points across the UK, the Venson survey also reports preconceptions regarding limited battery range which came a close second; 57 per cent of those surveyed reported this was still a barrier when considering an EV.  

However, according to Go Ultra Low, the range of 100% electric cars is rapidly improving. Huge advances in battery technology and falling costs mean this will continue to grow.  Today, virtually all Go Ultra Low pure electric cars can drive over 100 miles with ease on a single charge; some of the latest models are closer to 200 miles or more.  

Alison Bell, Marketing Director at Venson Automotive Solutions, said: “With charging and battery range concerns abated, EV fleets should now be far more appealing to businesses.  The revised BiK charges which sees zero-emission electric vehicle tax liability for company car drivers fall from 2 per cent to 0 per cent for the tax year 2020-21, will also appeal to company car drivers which should boost demand for EVs in the next 12 months.”

Further good news is that 86 per cent of motorists surveyed said that a ‘lack of clarity in terms of ownership implications as a company car driver’ is a thing of the past, and more than two thirds of drivers said that they had a good understanding of the costs and convenience of owning an EV.  

Dealerships are also making it easier for fleet managers to promote a charge towards electric – only 13 per cent of motorists cited lack of ‘try before you buy’ options as an obstacle to purchase and only 5 per cent of people surveyed said they are worried about manufacturer lead times in acquiring an EV.  

Bell concluded: “Whilst our survey findings confirm a greater willingness by company car drivers to adapt to an EV world, there are still some ownership concerns. 41 per cent of people we surveyed expressed concern over the practicalities of being able to charge their vehicle at home.  And 30% per cent said they had concerns over service, maintenance and repair costs.”

The Venson Automotive Solutions ‘Plug-In Vehicle Guide’ is free and can be downloaded here. 

Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

‘Terrible’ road conditions & congestion top fleet manager concerns

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Fleet and mobility managers want the Government to tackle terrible road conditions and congestion.

That’s according to research from Arval, which revealed that of nearly 4,000 fleet mangers polled, over half the respondents (54 per cent) said that they wanted to see better roads, with 47 per cent asking for a solution to congestion.

30 per cent of those polled supported incentivising companies to adopt newer fuel options such as electric and hydrogen and improving public transport (22 percent).
 
18 per cent of fleet and mobility managers also believe that Government should be doing more to reduce pollution caused by road transport.
 
The findings come 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.
 
Shaun Sadlier, Head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, said: “The striking aspect about the areas highlighted by fleet and mobility managers is that they are all highly practical issues that affect the running of business transport on a day-to-day basis.
 
“The condition of roads and the problem of congestion are a concern because they affect the core efficiency of company transport. Businesses want journeys to be predictable and safe, and poor roads and large volumes of traffic have a negative effect on this aim.
 
“It is also striking the extent to which there is a desire to see Government make the adoption of EVs and hydrogen vehicles easier. There is clearly growing enthusiasm among businesses for these cars and vans, but also an awareness of the need to make their cost and the level of infrastructure support more appealing.
 
“Linked to the adoption of zero-emissions fuels is the belief that more should be being done to tackle road transport-based pollution. Our experience is that businesses are almost always supportive of Government moves to make improvements in this area.
 
“Finally, some people may think it surprising that fleet and mobility managers want to see better public transport but the strategic developments we are seeing in this area show that businesses see the future of travel as being one where cars and vans are used alongside a range of other options. Better trains, trams and buses should form a key part of this mix if possible.”

Image by shilin wang from Pixabay

Infrastructure and tax top list of fleet buyer concerns

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

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 

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

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

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

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

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

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

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

UK front runner in £62 billion self-driving car race

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The UK is in pole position in the global race to market for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), with a £62 billion boost to the UK economy by 2030 up for grabs.

That’s according to a report published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and Frost & Sullivan, which analyses the wide-ranging societal and economic benefits to be achieved by gradually increasing CAVs on our roads.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and Collision Warning are already available on the majority of new cars registered in the UK.

Combined with the gradual introduction of automated vehicles from 2021, this will deliver massive safety benefits, the report claims.

Over the next decade, the technology is set to prevent 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives. At the same time, some 420,000 new jobs will be created, including in the automotive industry and other sectors such as telecoms and digital services.

Driving commuters, we’re told, will gain back the equivalent of a full working week thanks to more ‘downtime’ and smoother traffic flows during their commute.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Winning the Global Race to Market identifies three critical areas that will help CAV rollout and in which the UK has a significant advantage: supportive regulation, enabling infrastructure and an attractive market.

With the world’s first insurance legislation for autonomous vehicles already in place, the most comprehensive review of road transport underway and more miles across motorways, urban and rural roads able to be driven autonomously, the reports says the UK is already ahead of global rivals in its readiness to commercialise self-driving technology.

It ranks the UK above other major automotive countries, including Germany, US, Japan and South Korea as a global destination for the mass rollout of CAVs.

To realise this potential, however, the reports says conditions must be right, and sustained support from government will be vital – particularly if we are to meet its ambition to get autonomous vehicles on to UK roads in 2021.

The report’s key recommendations for government include updating road traffic laws, improving 4G coverage across all road networks, encouraging local authorities to work with industry to implement urban mobility services and influencing future harmonisation of international regulations to ensure these new vehicles can operate seamlessly between the UK and abroad.

Crucially, however, the UK’s departure from the EU must be orderly with a deal that supports both the industry and technological collaboration, especially in data. A ‘no deal’ Brexit will result in lasting damage to the UK’s reputation as a politically stable destination for inward investment, putting the benefits identified in the report at risk.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “A transport revolution stands before us as we move to self-driving cars and the UK is in pole position in this £62 billion race. Government and industry have already invested millions to lay the foundations, and the opportunities are dramatic – new jobs, economic growth and improvements across society. The UK’s potential is clear. We are ahead of many rival nations but to realise these benefits we must move fast.

“Brexit has undermined our global reputation for political stability and it continues to devour valuable time and investment. We need the deadlock broken with ‘no deal’ categorically ruled out and a future relationship agreed that reflects the integrated nature of our industry and delivers frictionless trade.”

Sarwant Singh, Senior Partner and Head of Mobility, Frost & Sullivan, said: “The UK already has the essential building blocks – forward thinking legislation, advanced technology infrastructure, a highly skilled labour force, and a tech savvy customer base – to spearhead CAV deployment over the next decade. However, it will require sustained and coordinated efforts by all key stakeholders, especially the government, to realise the significant annual economic benefits forecast for the UK from CAV deployment by 2030 and drive the vision of safe, convenient and accessible mobility for all.”

EV battery capacity up by 50kWh

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Frost & Sullivan research reveals battery capacity has increased by more than 50kWh across all plug-in hybrid/battery electric vehicles (PHEVs/BEVs), while 150+kW batteries now come with fast-charging capabilities.

These advances in battery technologies are creating a parallel need for a battery thermal management system (BTMS) to ensure higher mile range, longer life, and superior battery performance.

While passive thermal management, such as air-cooled systems, will be the key technology for HEVs, liquid cooling and active thermal management will be popular among PHEVs and BEVs.

“The use of liquid glycol through cooling tubes and plates between modules will not only help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) maintain battery efficiency but also allow their vehicles to achieve compliance with stringent battery standards,” said Arvind Noel Xavier Leo, Industry Analyst, Mobility. 

“In the future, OEMs will adopt active thermal management systems that centralise all thermal needs for battery, motor, power electronics, and cabin temperature.”

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, ‘Global Analysis of Electric Battery Market and Battery Thermal Management System for Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, Forecast to 2025,’ provides in-depth analyses of BTMS and highlights the current and future products of manufacturers. The study covers the markets of Europe (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), China, South Korea, Japan, and North America (the United States).

“Prismatic cells are the most preferred cell structure due to their high energy density and compact packaging, and present significant opportunities for high-end passive BTMS due to their thermal instability,” noted Leo. “Most OEMs are outsourcing battery cells for EVs and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and assembling the module and pack in-house. LG Chem, Panasonic, Samsung SDI, and Sanyo will be the key cell suppliers for western OEMs, whereas BYD, CATL, and CALB will be the key battery manufacturers in China and will look to adopt western OEM technology.”

More information on the analysis can be found here: https://go.frost.com/EI_PR_KCekani_MDD0_ElectricVehicle_Mar19

Professional drivers in short supply, says IRU

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The European road transport sector is facing the most acute professional driver shortage in decades.

That’s the conclusion of a report by the International Road Transport Union (IRU), based on insight from stakeholders across the European transport industry and drawn from two surveys.

The data revealed a visible driver shortage of 21% in the freight transport sector and 19% in the bus and coach sector.

The problem, the report says, is accelerating, with the shortfall predicted to reach 40% in both sectors as demand grows in 2019.

The key finings include:-

  • 57% of male drivers and 63% of female drivers believe the poor image of the profession is stifling recruitment.
  • 79% of drivers believe the difficulty of attracting women to the profession is one of the top reasons for the driver shortage. This is underlined by data from the International Transport Forum, showing female drivers make up just 2% of European road transport drivers .
  • 70% of drivers aged 25-34 believe the difficulty of attracting young drivers is one of top reasons for the driver shortage.
  • Amongst drivers, 76% believe that working conditions, and 77% think long periods away from home deter many from entering the profession.
  • The industry also suffers from an ageing labour force. In Europe the majority of freight transport sector companies are employing drivers whose average age is 44 years old, while in the passenger transport sector the average age of their employed drivers is 52 years old.

Boris Blanche, IRU’s Managing Director, said: “The transport industry needs to take immediate and decisive action to tackle the driver shortage. Left unchecked, it will have serious implications for the European economy and lead to rising costs for businesses, consumers and passengers.

“But there is no shortage of opportunity in this profession. In fact, our research found that job satisfaction tends to be high, with only 20% of drivers surveyed expressing any dissatisfaction with their work.

“A global effort must be made to address negative misperceptions and improve the image of the profession. At the same time, all industry stakeholders must act to improve working conditions in the sector. The treatment of drivers should be improved, with adequate and sufficient infrastructure and facilities provided.”

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