Merck Sharp & Dohme trials PHEVs under fleet mobility review

Pharmaceutical giant Merck Sharp & Dohme is reviewing its mobility policy, including trialling plug-in hybrid vehicles, to see if employee travel can be made more efficient, sustainable and convenient.

MDS is trialling the Mercedes C350e PHEVs as part of the ALD review of its fleet

The project is being carried out by ALD Automotive’s Fleet Consultancy Team in advance of the pharmaceutical company’s planned relocation to central London in the future.

MSD currently has a fleet of 600 company cars – a mix of employee car benefit and essential use vehicles – and the review will look at whether company cars remain a suitable employee benefit for those based in the city, while also exploring car sharing, public transport and taxi service options.

Joe Carreira, EMEA fleet manager for MSD, said: “Moving from a relatively rural location to a city centre location, will present many new transportation challenges that need to be tested. The hybrid trial is one potential solution that we are evaluating for future use.”

The trial builds on ALD’s research into alternatively fuelled vehicles, including a real-world evaluation of PHEVs carried out among its own company car drivers, which led to the publication of a white paper on PHEV use last year.

MSD’s trial will see a group of 20 employees whose cars are due for replacement within the next 3-6 months be given the use of a fleet of Mercedes C350e models on a trial basis, fitted with telematics devices to monitor their performance. The results will be used to calculate the total reduction in CO2 emissions from a switch to PHEVs as well as the cost savings to drivers and to MSD. Drivers on the trial are also being offered vehicle home chargers, and MSD has already installed 12 charging stations at its current head office.

Carreira finished: “This is the perfect time for us to completely review our entire mobility policy and make sure that the new policy works for everyone. We are particularly excited by the PHEV trial, as the ALD white paper dispelled a few myths for us. The makes and models now available mean that there is much more choice for drivers and the battery ranges and availability of charging points for when the vehicles are not being used make them much more convenient and suitable for a wider driver profile.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.