Sustainability and carbon reduction is now the number one business priority for almost half of UK commercial fleets (45 per cent), according to new research from mobility solutions specialists Bridgestone and Webfleet Solutions.
The need to decarbonise topped both the digital transformation of fleet processes (cited by 42 per cent of decision-makers) and driver safety (37 per cent), with the same number prioritising cost reduction.
Despite their net zero commitment, however, the study among 300 fleet decision-makers revealed they believe it will be more than eight years before their fleets are fully carbon neutral – 7.5 years for HGV operators and 8.7 years for van fleets.
Forty-three per cent of HGV operators plan to invest in alternative fuel vehicles over the next 12 months, while 36 per cent of van fleets plan to introduce electric vehicles (EVs). Almost two in five fleets (39 per cent) will purchase energy efficient tyres.
“These findings embody the generation-defining zeitgeist of climate change, with the road transport industry at the very epicentre of our collective efforts to secure a more sustainable future,” said Andrea Manenti, Vice President North Region, Bridgestone EMIA.
“Strategic action is being spurred not only by regulation, but by increasing recognition that the cost of buying, operating and maintaining EVs – their total cost of ownership (TCO) – is now typically lower than for fossil-fuelled equivalents.”
Alongside the business impetus to decarbonise, decision-makers harbour strong personal motivations, with 61 per cent wanting to protect their health, that of their family and the next generation.
To accelerate the transition, three in five (60 per cent) have called for greater financial support and guidance from government.
“Decarbonising a vehicle fleet and making the electric transition can represent a significant change management undertaking,” added Beverley Wise, Regional Director UK and Ireland, Webfleet Solutions.
“Ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) adoption is being incentivised with a range of measures, including a two-year extension to the plug-in van and truck grants announced in the Spring Budget – but operators clearly feel more must be done.
“As government seeks to meet this challenge, the ecosystems of advice, shared knowledge and guidance – from support and consultancy groups to online resources, dedicated forums and events – will continue to grow.”