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Further fleet controls needed to give AFVs ‘fair chance’, says FleetCheck 

Fleets need to ensure structured policies and strict controls are in place for plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles to maximise their benefits.

AFVs need to be matched to purpose in a strictly exact fashion, says FleetCheck

That’s according to fleet management software specialist FleetCheck, which adds that AFVs will not be given a fair chance on fleets unless they’re correctly matched up to drivers, with rates of adoption possibly suffering as a result.

Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “We are already seeing this with plug-in hybrids. Some fleets have started using them, often at the behest of drivers looking to minimise taxation, and found that they do not work well in common fleet applications, such as for regular long journeys where electric power is barely used.

“We have even come across instances where plug-ins have been allocated to drivers who do not have driveways at home, so cannot charge the vehicles, which makes little sense at all.”

It’s an issue that the ICFM has also been vocal as it highlights the need for rational decision-making over future vehicle choices and says more government support is needed to drive plug-in vehicle take-up.

Speaking earlier this year, ICFM director Peter Eldridge drew attention to ongoing industry concerns that fleets and drivers were turning to plug-in hybrids due to tax loopholes but were very likely to suffer increased operating costs – specifically fuel bills – as a result; he warned that plug-in hybrid cars were for “a significant number of fleet managers the proverbial duck out of water operating predominantly outside of their economic efficiency zone”.

And last year saw ACFO warn that fleets are not using PHEVs properly as it highlighted that the fleet industry is “awash with stories of company car drivers choosing plug-in hybrid vehicles in pursuit of lower BiK tax bills, but not reaping fuel economy savings” and added that fleets were incurring early termination charges by returning such vehicles to leasing firms ahead of the end of the contract.

FleetCheck is adding to calls for fleets to take more care with AFV adoption, including outlining how firms need to create structured policies that enabled them to carefully match driver and vehicle to their job needs and personal circumstances.

Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “For these strategies to work, vehicles need to be matched to purpose in a strictly exact fashion,

“Even in quite small fleets, it seems to us, written policies will be needed to ensure that this happens in a way that works for fleets. These should include profiling the way in which the vehicle is likely to be used, the driver’s circumstances, fuelling and more.

“Of course, where choice lists exist, these profiles should be integrated in a way that is fair and easily understood by employees.

“This is a consultancy skill that is developing across the industry but one that needs to quite quickly mature in order for everyone to make the most of the advantages that AFVs provide while avoiding obvious issues,” he added.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006.