Exclusive: how the world's leading fleets are racing to net zero
At the 2021 Global Fleet Conference on 2 December, HP, SAP and ABB revealed how they are transitioning to electric vehicles and sustainable mobility solutions
Three of the world’s leading fleets have outlined their pioneering plans to transition to carbon net zero operations as a key part of their companies’ commitments to combat climate change.
Senior executives from HP, SAP and ABB revealed their ambitions at the Global Fleet conference, highlighting their bold timelines to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.
ABB's 10,000 EVs by 2030
Ricardo Koevoet, procurement category team leader fleet global, ABB, said the company has a roadmap to electrify its 10,000-strong vehicle fleet across 62 countries by 2030, but the outlook is challenging.
He highlighted the difference in infrastructure between countries such as the Netherlands, which has more than 80,000 public charge points and where ABB adopted its first EV in 2014, with other markets yet to install meaningful charging networks.
“Let’s speed up the installation of chargers so that it would be easier for us to implement EVs in our fleet, and let’s connect these charging points to get rid of all the charge cards needed to recharge vehicles,” said Koevoet.
HP's EV timeline
These local variations have led HP to set different deadlines on its timeline for the decarbonisation of its 4,600 vehicles, which are split evenly between the Americas and Europe, said Marcella Berta Mauri, global fleet strategist, HP Inc.
“Our biggest sustainability commitment is a 25% reduction of CO2 by 2025 and we have a goal to electrify 100% of our fleet by 2030,” she said.
This will, however, require a 30% year-on-year increase in EV chargers in the US in the years leading up to 2024, and a doubling of Europe’s fast charger network by 2024.
The EV business case is at last catching up with sustainability arguments, with HP forecasting total cost of ownership parity between electric and internal combustion engine vehicles between 2023 and 2025. The technology firm started EV trials in the Netherlands and Belgium towards the end of last year, and 35% of its fleet in these markets is now battery powered. Next year Canada, France and Spain will join HP’s EV programme, followed by the US and the rest of the world in the 2023-24 financial year, said Mauri.
“Local management has been very supportive of our EV pilots, and drivers are very excited to be part of our sustainability strategy,” she said.
113 corporate fleets join EV100
These green initiatives ally with the world’s first EV declaration at CO26, where a partnership of nations, OEMs, cities, fleets and investors committed to transition to EVs in key countries by 2035 and everywhere else by 2040, said Sandra Rolling, head of transport at the Climate Group.
“We need to halve emissions this decade and clean transport can help to achieve that,” she said.
As part of the Climate Group’s EV100 programme, 113 corporate fleets responsible for 1.1m vehicles and seven leasing companies with a combined customer fleet of 4.3m vehicles, have pledged to switch to zero emission vehicles by 2030.
SAP: mobility solutions more sustainable than EVs
But EVs may not be the only green solution, according to software specialist SAP, which has not only set a target of being carbon neutral as early as 2023 but also committed to report annually its carbon emissions as a non-financial KPI in its results.
“We want to offer sustainable, innovative and flexible mobility solutions to our employees,” said Steffen Krautwasser, head of global car fleet, SAP.
Electric cars satisfy these criteria to an extent, but mobility services that combine trains, taxis, and shared transport are more innovative and flexible, he added.
This prompted a trial last year of flexible mobility in Germany, which could potentially be rolled out as an alternative option to SAP’s 27,000 drivers. They will find their user-chooser choice lists will only feature electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from 1 January 2025, although this rapid transition to zero emission motoring will not be without its difficulties.
“Electrification of the fleet is not easy; we are doing it because of sustainability,” said Krautwasser.
“You cannot compare one country to another – you need to understand the local charging infrastructure. But I am pretty optimistic. It’s a really big challenge in India and some South American countries, but we should give it a try rather than say it’s not possible, because it will be possible."
CAPTION: Two electric cars charging at a charging station in the parking garage at the SAP Headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. Source: SAP.