Continued fleet electrification and the impact of the recession will be the key fleet issues next year, says Paul Hollick, chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP).
Hollick says that companies will look to fleet managers to deliver additional value, particularly in the areas of cost control and carbon savings.
“Next year is going to be a tough one, no question. Fleet managers will be under considerable pressure to produce results that help their employers make progress on the EV agenda while also controlling costs, said Hollick.
“Fuel expenditure is going to help drive this line of strategy, alongside environmental concerns. Petrol and diesel prices remain stubbornly high and an impending fuel duty increase will further concentrate minds. Even though electricity prices may increase in the spring when the government rethinks its price cap, electrification is going to look more attractive than ever in financial terms.
“Our aim as an organization is to disseminate as much information about our members’ EV experiences as possible. Currently, several of the largest fleets within the AFP are deploying electric cars and vans in large numbers, and we are sharing their learnings as far and wide as possible through a variety of channels.”
Vehicle Supply Remains an Issue
However, Hollick warns vehicle availability will continue to affect the pace of electrification, a situation he predicts will continue through 2023.
“Different manufacturers are making different noises about whether production issues are likely to improve in 2023, but the bottom line is a massive backlog to clear before the situation has any chance of improving. Electrification can only happen at the rate of supply.
“Of course, this creates a knock-on effect with many company vehicles now operating well beyond their originally planned termination point, something that will also place considerable demands on fleet managers when it comes to keeping these cars and vans in compliant and roadworthy condition.”
AFP campaigns for 2023
In terms of AFP activity, Hollick says the organization will issue its new Tax and Legislation Manifesto in early 2023, designed to set out its thinking in these key areas.
“It’s positive that the recent Autumn Statement provided much increased certainty over benefit in kind taxation and also that we’ve seen some action over Approved Electric Rates for reimbursing EV company car drivers. But we’d like to keep the dialogue going with the government to achieve further improvements in the latter as well as campaigning in a number of related areas. The document is in its final stages of preparation and we plan to issue it soon,” said Hollick.