15 Oct 18

Record attendance for Fleet Live in UK

A record number of fleet decision makers attended Fleet Live, the premier event for the UK fleet industry, last week.

Fleet Europe was a partner of the the exhibition and conference event, which drew well over 2,000 delegates to meet potential suppliers from 120 exhibitors and listen to specialist speakers in five packed theatres.

High on the agenda were the implications of the change to the WLTP emissions testing system, and the impact this will have on vehicle taxation, particularly with regards to benefit in kind tax. Later this month the UK government is expected to announce how it will use WLTP data from the 2020-21 financial year.

Recent sharp rises in company car tax have prompted significantly greater interest in alternative funding methods to the traditional lease car, particularly among higher rate tax payers (who pay income tax on 40% of any income in excess of £46,351 per year). Discussions about personal leasing and employee car ownership schemes drew large crowds, and eight of the UK’s top 10 leasing companies (by fleet size) were on hand to offer advice as exhibitors.

High interest in zero emissions

For a number of fleets, the future already seems clear, with electrification holding the key to wider concerns about air pollution, particularly from diesel vehicles in urban environments. Lilli Matson, director of transport strategy, city planning at Transport for London, was crystal clear in the British capital’s objective of a “journey to zero emissions.”

Five electric charge point installers were among the exhibitors, and new hybrid and electric vehicles were on display from Arrival and Peugeot, in the livery of the UK’s largest fleet Royal Mail, Jaguar, Range Rover, Volvo, as well as MINI with its Electric Concept car.

The importance of zero emission capability was underlined by last week’s UK Government decision to withdraw purchase subsidies from hybrid vehicles that cannot cover at least 70 miles (110 kilometres) on battery power alone, a decision which means two of the most popular hybrids in the country, the Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota Prius, will no longer qualify for grants.

Key new launches

For light commercial vehicle fleets with an eye on the environment and their fuel bills, Fleet Live sponsor Avon launched a new van tyre, the AV12, which it said will reduce rolling resistance by 10% compared to its AV11 predessor.

Other forward-looking launches included Mobilleo, a new mobility as a service app developed by Fleetondemand, which promises that business travellers will be able to use the app to find, book and pay for trains, hotels, taxis, flights, car hire and airport lounges, comparing journey options to select the most convenient or cost effective transport options. The app is supported by Avis, Gett, Sixt, enterprise, Thrifty, europcar and Trainline among others.

Smart technology also lies at the heart of another new product at Fleet Live, called Car Scanner. The Polish firm has created an automated vehicle scanner to check cars for damage at the end of a hire period or lease.

Authored by: Jonathan Manning