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Road infrastructure, Clean Air Zones and the adoption of alternative fuels top the list of challenges that fleet managers expect to have to face... Infrastructure is ‘top challenge for fleets’

Road infrastructure, Clean Air Zones and the adoption of alternative fuels top the list of challenges that fleet managers expect to have to face over the next five years.

The finding comes from new research in the Arval Mobility Observatory, which gains insight from businesses via a wide ranging set of questions to uncover broader trends and concerns.

When asked, “What do you see as the main challenges facing fleets in the next five years?”, 43% of respondents cited a lack of road infrastructure causing increased congestion, as the top issue. 

The introduction of more Clean Air Zones in urban areas (30%) and the implementation of suitable alternative fuel technologies (30%) followed. Unclear government policy towards transport (27%), increased vehicle taxation (23%) and increased driver personal taxation (16%) were also reported as key challenges.

Shaun Sadlier, head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, said: “It’s clear that businesses are thinking very hard about the practicalities surrounding the day-to-day use of cars and vans, as shown in their concerns over road infrastructure and Clean Air Zones.

“The latter especially is a subject that is potentially quite confusing, with a whole range of different measures being adopted across the country and some now being delayed by the coronavirus crisis. Our view is that this complexity is probably at the root of the concerns being reported, because the rules that need to be observed in the majority of cities are quite moderate.”

Related to clean air, he said, was the implementation of alternative fuel technology which, for the vast majority of fleets during the next five years, would mean electric and plug-in cars and vans.

“This is a major shift but our experience is that, for most businesses, the transition turns out to be relatively painless in the real world. Certainly, conditions for adoption get easier all the time.

“For example, a positive development is that an increasing range of models are being introduced, meaning that more drivers have the choice of an appropriate vehicle to meet their needs. Other key points to consider are that choice lists are carefully constructed using a whole life cost methodology and that there is an understanding of the recharging infrastructure and how to use it effectively.”

Mr Sadlier also referred to the concerns expressed in the research around the clarity of government policy and the possibility of increased taxation for both cars and drivers.

He said: “Our view is that Rishi Sunak’s March Budget added quite a high degree of certainty in all of these areas and that, by now, for many fleets these fears will have been allayed.”

Arval Mobility Observatory
Each year since 2002, Arval Mobility Observatory has asked the fleet and mobility sector a highly detailed series of questions to provide a comprehensive examination of trends in the UK and Europe. For 2020, 5,600 separate and detailed interviews were carried out in 20 countries with managers responsible for fleet and mobility-decision making in a wide range of organisations, ranging in size from just one vehicle to thousands of cars and vans.