Cleaner, greener and more efficient
There are many factors that affect the environmental impact of a fleet of vehicles – from heavy loads to heavy right feet. Here are our top ten tips for a more efficient business.
1. Your fleet is a toolbox
With WLTP still grabbing headlines, we are all more conscious of the CO2 emissions created by our vehicles. But in addition to environmental concerns, CO2 levels also affect vehicle pricing and taxation. Athlon UK recommend undertaking a Whole Life Cost Analysis of your fleet. This analysis takes into account not just the cost to fund a vehicle, but also the running costs, tax and future values. What may look like a cheaper vehicle on day one, may prove to be not so economical over time. Also consider where your vehicles travel? With more inner city congestion charges and emission-free zones planned across the UK consider the savings that a Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) could create if you travel into these zones regularly.
2. Plastic reduction
Aim to reduce single-use plastic in your business. Athlon are working with leading suppliers to limit the amount of single-use plastic used in items like number plates, car mats and warning signs. Wave goodbye to large plastic bottles of washer fluid. These are being replaced by tablets like those used in washing machines. This not only eliminates the plastic bottle but reduces the item weight and therefore the carbon footprint associated with transporting them. Consider your supply chain – how far does your office stationery travel? Buying local could even reduce the carbon footprint of the office stapler.
3. Digital processes
Digital isn’t a new buzzword but an alarming amount of ‘paperwork’ is still involved in the day to day running of a fleet. Digitisation could be the catalyst for more eco-processes. Paperless billing, ePayslips and timesheets are a start. Using an integrated telematics system to manage your driver’s route planning and job lists could also cut down on waste paper.
4. Telematics and route planning
Route planning is essential for a greener fleet. An efficient telematics system means less idling, traffic and accident avoidance, as well as faster deliveries. It also means you can keep a closer eye on the activities of your drivers gaining greater visibility of training needs and monitor repair and maintenance requirements.
5. Breaking habits and changing mindsets
From the drivers who need to lighten their right foot to those who have a favourite off-route lunch spot – data from telematics can give you vast amounts of insight, indicating where training could be valuable. Whilst this may seem a bit ‘big brother’ the benefits of driver training and monitoring can lead to significant savings in fuel costs and unnecessary vehicle repairs. Conversely there are also telematics options available to identify and reward good driver behaviour.
6. Regular repairs and maintenance
A happy car is an economical car, adding a repair and maintenance package to your leasing policy ensures your vehicles optimum
performance. Combined with telematics, vehicles can be monitored so downtime is kept to a minimum and issues can be resolved before they become a problem. Tyres lose air naturally over time. Ensuring tyres are properly inflated can extend the life of the tread as well as improve fuel efficiency. Tyre quality and inflation can affect fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent so it’s important to check tyres regularly.
7. Your grey fleet policy
Changes to your grey fleet policy could help improve your company average CO2. Employee’s own vehicles are unlikely to be as green as you would like. Ageing vehicles are less economical than newer models. Consider your requirements, an extended range of LEV pool cars could be utilised instead, depending on your circumstances.
8. From wind to wheels
The emissions associated with running your fleet could be further reduced by reviewing your choice of electricity supplier. Choose an eco-supplier and incentivise your employees who ‘home-charge’ their EV to switch to one of the many ‘green energy’ suppliers whose electricity is exclusively fuelled by solar, wind and tidal.
9. The leasing life-cycle
There are many practical and financial benefits to leasing over an outright purchase, but in the context of running a greener fleet, the main benefit is the continuous cycle of new vehicles. By replacing your vehicles every two to three years (for example) you benefit from the latest technology and newest efficiencies. Many cars and vans come loaded with safety and eco functions keeping your drivers safe, your vehicles on the road and your emissions low.
10. Boiling the ocean – metaphorically
You may not be able to implement everything at once, but make a plan and make a start. You will be surprised how quickly your marginal gains add up. Be practical and realistic. Whether you change one thing by 100 per cent or make 100 changes by one per cent be realistic in your aspirations and use that momentum to further your efforts. Small steps in the right direction are better than no steps at all.