3 nov 22

"Fleet managers need creative solutions to handle electrification"

When it comes to sustainability and fleet electrification, "aim high", says Mark Howlett, Head of Fleet & Remarketing at Kia Europe. Kia sponsors the European Green Fleet Manager of the Year Award at the Fleet Europe Summit 2022. Before the grand gathering in Dublin on 17 November, Howlett gave a clear message: "We want to see more electrification and innovation."

What do you see as the top trend linked to green fleet management with international customers?

There is a clear intent from most companies to reduce carbon emissions and transition to electrified fleets in the coming years. This involves a lot of work in creating new car policies and understanding the behaviours and needs of employees.

The advantages of electrification are clear: tax savings for both driver and company reduced fuel costs. They, therefore, reduced negative environmental impact, supporting a positive green image for companies that take a proactive approach! The transition to electric vehicles has brought significant disruption to the automotive sector in recent years, with fleet managers nowadays required to find creative solutions to meet the fast-changing needs of their drivers.

How does KIA respond to customers' increasing need for sustainability, fleet electrification, and the reduction of GHG emissions?

At Kia, we have a broad model line-up containing a number of vehicle and powertrain options that, combined with a great design and the latest technologies, will satisfy most customer needs. Our company vision to become a leading Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider will be further enhanced by introducing 14 BEV models by 2027. Furthermore, Kia is investing heavily to become the No.1 Global Purpose Built Vehicle (PBV) brand, bringing a broad range of electrified commercial vehicles targeting to meet fleets' needs with specific functional requirements.

What's your main tip to fleet managers to overcome the obstacles of e-mobility, like range anxiety, lack of charging infrastructure, and TCO concerns?

Aim high and go full electric where possible. This means that employers must clearly understand their employees' mobility needs and what is feasible and what is not. If full electricity is not viable, consider transitional electrification of the fleet, depending on the available charging infrastructure. In some countries, it is perhaps better to start first with hybrid powertrain options.

Regarding range anxiety, the latest powertrain technologies are more than capable of competing with the combustion engine options of yesterday. For example, our all-new Kia EV6 features multiple zero-emission powertrain configurations delivering up to 528 kilometres of driving range on a single charge. When combined with the 800V ultra-fast charging technology, it becomes possible to recharge the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in just 18 minutes. There is simply no need to look to combustion engine alternatives anymore!

What are you looking forward to seeing in terms of focus elements with the candidates of the Fleet Europe Awards this year?

We are looking for innovation and electrification! With the push to electrify the fleet, we really want to see how the candidates are rising to the challenge! What have they done to adapt to the changing needs of their drivers? How have they implemented charging infrastructure in the workplace, and so on? I do not doubt that we will see some great initiatives and projects throughout the competition! Creativity is always appreciated!

Want to know who will be this year's European Green Fleet Manager of the Year? Click here to reserve your spot at the Fleet Europe Summit (Dublin, 16-17 November), which will conclude with the Fleet Europe Awards.