11 Jun 18

60% of European fleets have CO2 targets

European fleets are confident about the future, and increasingly turning to mobility services, electric vehicles and full-service leasing: that's the picture that emerges from the Corporate Vehicle Observatory's 2018 fleet barometer. 

For its 14th annual barometer, Arval's CVO interviewed more than 3,000 fleet managers across 12 European countries: the Big Five (UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy), plus Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey. The survey captured four major trends for corporate fleets across Europe.

Electric boom
Just a few years ago, diesel dominated most corporate fleets in Europe. In 2018, 30% of very large fleets have already switched to electric vehicles, and 27% to hybrids. Both large and very large fleets indicate they want to accelerate this trend in the years to come, with small and medium fleets planning to follow the trend. 

  • 68% of very large fleets have already integrated alternative powertrains (HEV, PHEV, BEV, CNG, LPG or hydrogen), or are planning to do so soon.
  • For large fleets, the figure is 48%; for small fleets, it's still relatively high, at 32%.
  • Lead countries for this trend are: Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. 

Driving this trend is the fact that TCO for alternative powertrains is fast approaching that of combustion-engine vehicles – for a number of reasons: fiscal measures (across most countries) and better residual values (thanks to improving battery technology). Lease companies offer an increasing range of solutions to overcome the remaining issues, mainly charging infrastructure and range anxiety. 

Another driver of electrification: Corporate Social Responsibility – and, coupled with that, the impact of the stricter WLTP test. Hence the fact that 59% of fleets have CO2 targets in their policies. 

  • 46% of large companies (and 62% of very large ones) have already taken on board WLTP criteria in their car policies. 
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) intend to do the same over the next three years. 

Mobility services
Fleet managers are increasingly interested in car-sharing and ride-sharing as mobility alternatives for their company. Mobility budgets and telematics are also becoming more popular.

  • 37% of fleets are have already implemented car-sharing and/or ride-sharing services or are considering doing so over the next three years. Lead countries are the UK (57%), the Czech Republic (47%) and France (43%). However, only 9% of fleets consider giving up part of all their vehicles for car- and ride-sharing.
  • Between one-third and half of large and very large companies are considering or have implemented a mobility budget, with the most advanced countries in this field being Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France and the UK. 
  • Almost a third of large and very large companies have telematics tools in place in at least part of their fleets, mainly for vehicle tracking, journey optimisation, lowering fuel cost and improving safety. In the Netherlands, Poland and the UK, this figure reaches almost 50%.

Fleet confidence
How confident are companies that their fleets will grow in the near future? The CVO barometer saw its indicator increase by 1 point on the two previous years, and by 2 points on the last measure. 

  • Very large companies have the most confidence: 27% anticipate an increase of their fleet size, with only 9% anticipating a contraction. Large and very large companies are most confident in Belgium, Spain, France and Italy.
  • But even the smallest companies are reasonably confident: 13% anticipate fleet growth, versus only 4% who anticipate a decline. Small and medium-sized companies are most confident in the UK.

SME leasing
Full-service leasing is the preferred financing option of most very large company fleets (51%) and of a plurality of large company fleets (38%). This is hardly a new trend: leasing has been a preferred option for large to very large companies for a long time, and the figures mentioned above are fairly stable over time. 

But the story is different for SMEs, which traditionally have not used leasing as a financing method for their fleets. However, over the past three years, the share of small businesses choosing the lease option has increased from 9% to 17%. For medium-sized companies, the increase is from 17% to 21%.

Read the whole report here.

Image: Paparacy/Shutterstock

Authored by: Frank Jacobs