26 May 22

Companies need carbon net zero fleet plans to win tenders

A new electric vehicle charging hub on the outskirts of Birmingham, the UK’s second biggest city, highlights the scale of investment required to support the electric vehicle revolution. The EV charging arm of energy giant bp, bp pulse, will install 32 ultra-fast 300kW chargers and 150 slow chargers at the hub, compelling evidence of the acceleration in EV adoption.

For companies, the ability to demonstrate a comprehensive carbon net zero plan is becoming increasingly important to win business and is intensifying the focus on fleet emissions, according to Adrian Brabazon, UK fleet sales manager, bp.

“Customers and consumers are demanding a decarbonisation plan. It is becoming critical; a licence to operate. If you cannot demonstrate a net zero plan you will not be considered. The weighting in tenders is much higher than it was 12 months ago,” he said.

50% diesel decline

bp’s projections see demand for diesel declining by 50% between today and 2040, and it has modelled more aggressive scenarios that see this decline reach two-thirds over the next two decades.

Brabazon (pictured below) said the transition to net zero strategies is happening faster than anticipated, and that first movers are gaining a competitive advantage.

“For cars and LCVs, the future is electric. The change started a few years ago and fleets continue to drive this change as natural early adopters,” he said.

For heavier vehicles (weighing more than 3.5 tonnes), bp forecasts that hydrogen and electric technologies will prevail, although the transition period will see an energy mix that includes diesel as well as biofuels, such as biogas and diesel made from hydrogenated vegetable oil.

New fleet challenges

Confronted by these radical and rapid changes towards more sustainable transport, fleet managers face new challenges and responsibilities, said Brabazon.

“The role of the fleet manager in organisations has never been a higher priority, is much more complex and is reliant on learning new skills and new experiences to help with the low carbon transition,” he said.

He also emphasised the importance of fleet managers aligning their strategies with procurement and sustainability managers, so that everyone within an organisation pursues a consistent approach.

“And bringing your employees on the journey will only be a benefit,” added Brabazon.

bp pulse to triple charge point network

bp pulse operates the largest network of EV charge points in the UK, with more than 9,000 chargers, and has committed to invest £1billion over the next decade to triple the size of its network. The EV charging operator provides a complete charging solution, installing home chargers and offering charge point solutions at fleet depots and workplace car parks. Across the UK, it expects home and workplace charging each to account for about 40% of charging, with public chargers providing the final 20%, although the ratios are likely to differ for electric vans, with fewer drivers able to charge at home.

During the transition from internal combustion engines to EVs, bp’s Fuel & Charge card enables fleets to consolidate fuel and charging expenditure into a single invoice, and bp pulse is working on the development of a charge card that will integrate depot and public charging spend. It is also building a reimbursement tool that will allow employers to pay for EV business mileages when drivers plug in their vehicles at home.

Dedicated fleet charging

In the longer term, Brabazon expects bp’s charging hubs to have ‘fleet only’ charge points that fleet customers will be able to pre-book to minimise vehicle downtime. On Park Lane in London, bp pulse already has dedicated chargers for Uber drivers.

“There is a need to embrace change, think differently and work together. The transition to net zero is happening now, faster than we thought and doing nothing is not an option,” said Brabazon.


Images: bp

Authored by: Jonathan Manning