Your company has decided to introduce a CO2 reduction programme and you, as fleet manager, have been given the somewhat daunting task of translating it into reality. In response to your requests, here's a tried and tested strategy to make things slightly easier. Based on the collective insight and experience of the many managers who've made it happen, it offers you a roadmap for the journey ahead.
The first step is to thoroughly familiarise yourself with your company's actual objectives for the years ahead. What are the targets for reducing carbon emissions and how are you going to measure them? How many EVs have already been introduced to the fleet, and how many are likely to be in the future? Has mileage been optimised, and how? Once you have this overview in place, planning your strategy will be a less complex process.
Understand the wider context?
Next, it may be helpful to take a step back and look at what is going on in the wider transport context in terms of regulation, taxation and incentives – elements beyond your control. These differ widely from country to country and from region to region. In the most developed countries (in terms of transition to a greener economy), regulations are already being introduced to enforce carbon neutrality by 2025 and restrict the use of ICE vehicles, with diesel bans and heavy penalties envisaged. Consequently, OEMs in such contexts are also being pressurised to reduce their own CO2 emissions, in some cases by up to 55% by 2030, with potential penalties amounting to billions of euros. Meanwhile, green powertrain R&D is improving, and more efficient models are already emerging. Against this backdrop, working practices will change, drawing on ever more complex technologies, and employee behaviour is also likely to adapt over time, as considerations such as deeper environmental concern and greater desire for efficiency, flexibility and choice takes root – a momentum that has of course been given a boost by the pandemic..
Now that you're fully aware of both what your company is aiming at, and the wider context within which you're operating, it's important to establish a clear picture of where your company is at right now, so that you establish a baseline against which future progress can be clearly measured.
You'll need a detailed overview of your current fleet mix so that you can make a theoretical estimation and a collection of historical data to give you the truest possible picture of your current level of CO2 emissions. Along the way you'll need to convert historic NEDC data to WLTP, map emissions by region, and determine realistic reduction opportunities, based on the maturity of your country.
The logical next step is to see where you have room for manoeuvre within your current setup as you begin to rethink mobility, bearing in mind that change management is a complex process. What is current driver behaviour and vehicle usage? Will home working impact mobility requirements? What is the infrastructure situation in terms of charging at home or at the office? Is switching powertrains an option, from diesel or petrol to electric or hybrid? Can more efficient models be selected? Is it possible to limit fleet size, vehicle size or transition part of your fleet to green powertrains? How much scope is there to introduce eco-driving programmes to raise awareness and provide training? Should alternative mobility, such as bikes, car sharing or a mobility budget, be included in the mobility policy? And do you have the support of HR in advocating for a change in mindset and behaviour?
As you come to formulate a precise strategy for your individual company situation, you may draw inspiration from looking at alternative scenarios based on your country's maturity and targets. Try conservative, moderate and progressive models, to see what results they offer up. Speak to HR, Purchasing and Finance about your expectations and whether they align with their objectives. And above all, identify the main KPIs, so that your progress from the baseline you identified earlier can be measured. Of course, your timelines may vary, but strategy is essential whatever the timeframe.
Get your drivers on board
You need your drivers on board if your strategy is to work. This will involve a healthy degree of communication about the changes ahead, answering any queries and allaying any fears. And more importantly still, you'll need to educate and involve your drivers in the process. Training sessions and test drives with EVs are essential to facilitating the transition. And make them aware of some of the benefits of EV driving to incentivise them – framing this as an opportunity to drive vehicles that are fun to handle, as well as better both for their stress levels and the planet. All this will help generate a more positive mindset.
The final step in this 7-step journey involves regularly monitoring your progress through KPIs. This will involve revisiting your strategy to ensure it remains relevant, providing the desired results, and adjusting as necessary (at least annually). Bear in mind that we are building new strategies at a time when the market itself is rapidly evolving. What is true in 2021 will not nec essarily be true in 2023, but we still need to make the best possible use of the information available to us.
We hope this overview of a journey through the transition process will help make the whole change a little less daunting, and give you some pointers to making it a reality within your own company.