Fleets must “accept" rising cost of living, but solutions are available, says MHC Mobility
The rising cost of living is not just affecting consumers – fleet managers too must learn to factor in its effects. MHC Mobility has been thinking ahead, with its customers in mind. “We have to accept the situation, it’s what we do with it that will make all the difference,” says Nick Salkeld (pictured), the company’s COO. MHC Mobility’s solutions broadly fall into two categories: more flexibility, more multimodality.
What was the ‘lightbulb moment’ when you thought: This is a crisis, and we must find the right answers to it?
Nick Salkeld: “There were several, in fact. Firstly, the steep rise in the cost of fuel. This affects all ICE vehicles, whether they’re driven by private consumers or by corporate fleets. Secondly, the continuing supply chain issues, which are still putting a big delay on new vehicle supply. And then there’s the rise in the cost of living itself. This impacts how consumers spend their money – with many putting off large purchases. This translates to companies needing to tighten their belts as well. And reconsider what the best option for their next car could be.”
Rising fuel prices affect ICEs, but the cost of EVs too is rising.
“Indeed. Another lightbulb moment, if you will, was the fact that the cost of charging too has gone up sharply. According to our data, the cost of home charging across Europe has increased by as much as 43% for some drivers, while the cost of charging at a public charge point has risen by as much as 25%. So, rising costs are everywhere. We at MHC Mobility know that we have to accept the reality of the situation. It’s what we do with it that will make all the difference.”
Just to come back on what you said about companies tightening their belts. Do you see this reflected in lower volumes?
“Within corporate organisations, it’s certainly the case that fleet managers face challenges to their budgets. But if we notice an effect of the crisis, it’s an increase in the demand for leasing. It’s what happens in every crisis, because leasing gives you a solution to your mobility needs without the need for large capital expenditure. Instead, you pay in fixed monthly instalments, which provides certainty. We see this reflected in above-expected growth in all our markets. In Germany for example, we’ve seen year on year growth in contracts of over 20% – all organic growth, mind you, so no acquisitions.”
As prices rise for both ICEs and EVs, how is this affecting fleet choices?
“When we consider overall TCO, EVs are still the best option by far, for both consumers and corporate fleets. As a result, we see EV take-up among corporate fleets increasing significantly, and in many places well ahead of the overall market – in countries such as the UK, we see demand for EVs at an all-time high which is a reflection of course of the market change towards EV, but also of our own strong commitment and focus as a company on the decarbonisation of our customer fleets.”
Say I’m a fleet manager who has to do some belt-tightening. What can a provider like MHC Mobility do for me?
“First off, we have a wide range of flexible solutions, offering leasing formulas with run times from one month to 60 months. We can take your fleet and maximise the opportunities for carsharing and carpooling. We want to increase the usage of your fleet – and not increase your fleet per se. Sometimes, we’ll also advise you to reduce your fleet, if that works better for you.”
“And that brings us to the second solution category: multimodal mobility. We don’t just focus on cars. There’s also e-bikes and scooters, and public transport options like trains and trams. Mind you, those solutions only make sense where the infrastructure supports it. In the Netherlands via Mobility Mixx, we offer a multimodal solution that works with one budget, on one card. This is only possible because the Dutch infrastructure is mature, and there are plenty of providers.”
What are some of your offerings elsewhere?
“We have a project in Poland to promote e-mobility, thanks to the Polish government’s subsidies for EVs. The situation is somewhat similar in Belgium. In the UK, there is plenty of support for expanding charging infrastructure, so that is one of our focus points in the UK. In and around Krakow in Poland, e-biking is very popular – as it increasingly is in many other places; but this depends heavily on having proper road infrastructure.”
So, how do flexibility and multimodality reduce cost?
“More flexibility means more efficiency. More micro-mobility reduces the reliance on cars, which necessarily reduces cost. Coupled with that is the continued drive towards sustainability, which our customers and corporate fleets in general remain committed to, even in the midst of this cost-of-living crisis.”
Specifically, how and where can MHC Mobility help corporate fleets?
“We sit down with our customers to assess and understand their fleets. Our commitment to our customers is long-term. That’s why I said earlier that we will help you, even if it means we get to sell fewer lease car contracts to you.”
“MHC Mobility is present in 9 European countries: the UK (with Novuna Vehicle Solutions), the Netherlands and Belgium, Germany and Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Poland and Hungary. Soon, we’ll open operations in Luxembourg, and then we see ourselves expanding into the Nordics, and Southern Europe.”
Final question. What’s your own favourite mode of transport?
“Well, in our mobility offer, the EV is obviously very important. But I just love the e-bike. It’s a very efficient and simple form of transport that guarantees mobility but in a sustainable way.”
Image: MHC Mobility