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Category - Industry News

Diesel hysteria unhealthy for the fleet sector

Growing hysteria regarding diesel cars could have a negative impact on the fleet sector if the reality isn’t put into perspective.

That’s the concern of Shaun Barritt, CEO of Grosvenor Leasing, who says ‘dirty diesel’ headlines could have a detrimental effect on the fleet sector, with talks of scrappage schemes and polluting diesels giving the impression we need to get them off our roads as a matter of urgency.

“Everyone appreciates the green agenda is encouraging drivers into ULEV and EV drivers,” said Barritt, “and the positive message is that we will soon see a dramatic increase in these vehicles on our roads, largely because the motor manufacturers are being targeted by 2021 to achieve 95g/km for the cars that they produce.

“As these targets won’t be achieved with normal internal combustion engine vehicles, the shift in the next 4 years will be considerable, and when diesel drivers swap their cars they will inevitably be changing to much greener vehicles.

“Add into this the financial incentives to drive a low emission vehicle, the punitive measures to make it costly if you don’t, and the fact that the Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) is investing a further £390 million by 2020-21 to support ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), renewable fuels, and connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), including £80 million for ULEV charging infrastructure, the positive message is that we are now very quickly going greener as a nation!

“Yet reading the headlines, the focus isn’t on portraying the benefits of everyone driving greener cars. Instead, the language is of doom and gloom about dirty diesels, scrappage schemes and the pollution they’re causing. It wasn’t long ago that we were being encouraged by the Government to drive diesels and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has recently reminded us that diesel cars emit, on average, 20% lower CO2 than petrol equivalents.

“We need a sense of calm,” continued Barritt, “because if the dirty diesel phrase gets into people’s minds the likelihood is it will impact their resale values. This could then lead to the leasing sector suffering losses against forecasted residual values, and the contract hire companies who are pivotal to the UK automotive sector will subsequently have less to invest in green initiatives.

“Falling used car values for diesels also means they will be bought by drivers who feel they can get a better second hand car for their budget, but may end up finding them costly to run resulting in less money to service and maintain them meaning they could be even more polluting than before.

“I would urge the UK Government and the media to push the positive green message rather than focus on this negative campaign of ridiculous hysteria for anyone driving a diesel car, as its very counter-productive and could be very damaging to the fleet sector which is playing a vital role in driving the green agenda.”

Grosvenor Leasing’s vehicle emissions fall by 25%

Grosvenor Leasing has reduced the CO2 emissions across its vehicle fleet by 25% in 8 years.

Now with vehicles averaging 108 g/km it places the contract hire and fleet management specialist ahead of the national average of 120.1 g/km, based on recent SMMT figures.

The news comes shortly after Grosvenor Leasing’s launch of its new 0Zone initiative – a service to advise, help and support companies through the transition of becoming a zero or low emission fleet.

“We aim to lead the way in championing the move towards greener fleets,” said Shaun Barritt, Grosvenor Group CEO, “and this strong reduction in our CO2 emissions is testimony to our commitment so far.

“With so many low emission, ultra low emission and electric vehicles available, there is no reason why companies cannot easily drive down their average CO2 output, and we are helping many clients do just that by re-designing vehicle choice lists and ensuring drivers do not opt for vehicles that will be costly both environmentally and financially in the coming years.

“As well as offering clients support in the development of a low emission vehicle policy, our 0Zone service also advises on the steps required to move smoothly through the evolution towards Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) and, subject to availability, assistance with plug-in and hybrid demonstration vehicles.”

Mark Gallagher, Grosvenor Leasing’s green fleet specialist, adds, “The pace at which all fleets will shift towards ultra low emission (ULEV) and electric vehicles (EVs) is going to quicken dramatically in the coming years, which is why its important to start making plans now.

“The vehicle manufacturers have a target by 2021, which is only 4 years away, to be achieving 95g/km for the cars that they produce and this is being phased in from 2020.

“This isn’t going to be achieved through traditional internal combustion engine cars, resulting in a very dramatic push in the coming years towards ULEVs and EVs.

“The message is therefore very simple. If you think the change in the types of cars we all operate is in the far distance, please think again as its almost upon us and will become increasingly expensive for the companies that fail to embrace it.”

Pod Point to install EV chargers at Lidl supermarkets

POD Point, the charging point supplier, has announced a partnership with supermarket chain Lidl that will see rapid charge points installed at 40 stores.

Customers will be able to charge their electric vehicles (EVs) free of charge while they shop, and Erik Fairbairn, chief executive of POD Point, said the expansion of the network of public charge points would make EVs even more attractive to prospective customers.

“Our partnership with Lidl is an important element in the wider rollout of the Open Charge Network, and a significant step towards our target of putting a POD Point everywhere people park for an hour or more by 2020.”

Mark Gallagher, Grosvenor Leasing’s green fleet specialist added, “As more partnerships such as this are announced it makes it easier and easier for drivers of electric vehicles to charge their cars and vans quickly and without disruption to their day.

“We are heading to a position that, rather than search round for a charging point and have to wait, the charging of your car and van fits into your daily routine thanks to them being increasingly located at key places where drivers stop.”


Government funding will drive the green agenda

The Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) will invest a further £390 million by 2020-21 to support ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), renewable fuels, and connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

This includes £80 million for ULEV charging infrastructure, £150 million in support for low emission buses and taxis, £20 million for the development of alternative aviation and heavy goods vehicle fuels, and £100 million for new UK CAV testing infrastructure.

It means British transport is set for a significant low-carbon boost in a bid to drive a green transport overhaul.

A particular focus will be put on the development of driverless cars, renewable fuels and energy-efficient transport as the UK looks to boost its low-carbon vehicle transition, the Department said.

The funding boost for EV charging points is the latest in a series of private and public sector pushes towards transferring to a EV-based automotive future. The DfT announced last year plans to increase the convenience and availability of EV charge points.

Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, the Government-funded campaign to promote the use of electric and hybrid vehicles, said: “The £80m investment in charging infrastructure is vital as growth in the UK electric vehicle market continues to accelerate.

“This is fantastic news for motorists and the continuation of incentives for plug-in vehicles through company tax and salary sacrifice schemes will give thousands more people the option of choosing the very lowest emitting cars and allow more businesses to benefit from adding electric vehicles to their fleets.”

Demand for Electric and Ultra Low Emission vehicles soars

Demand for electric vehicles rose by 48% in 2016, with plug-in hybrids rocketing by 133%.

The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) offer the clearest indication yet that driver appetite for electric vehicles (EVs) and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) is taking hold – a trend that’s only likely to build year on year.

“Demand for alternative fuelled and low emission vehicles is now outperforming the wider market across all vehicle categories,” said Mark Gallagher, Grosvenor Leasing’s green fleet specialist.

“The car market grew by 6.3% last year, however pure electric vehicles shot up by 48% to nearly 10,000 vehicles and plug-in hybrids soared 133% to over 18,000 vehicles. For a few years now there has been uncertainty as to when the EV and ULEV revolution would begin in earnest, however that moment appears to have come.

“Compare the demand for alternative fuels to diesel. The uptake of diesel vehicles rose by just 3% in 2016, and the pressure on drivers to turn their backs on diesel technology is only likely to increase due to a range of socio-economic factors.

“Looking globally, the leaders of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens have all announced they will stop the use of all diesel-powered cars and trucks by the middle of the next decade. In the UK, campaigners are calling for London’s mayor to commit to phase out diesel vehicles from London by 2025.

“Taxation on polluting vehicles is becoming increasingly punitive while favouring low emission cars and vans, and the quality of electric and ultra-low emission vehicles has never been better.

“For companies operating vehicle fleets, the message is to act now. Vehicle policies and driver choice lists will need reviewing in light of the growth in EVs and ULEVs because with most vehicle replacement policies being 3 to 4 years its important to have a plan now as the market is shifting faster than ever.”

Grosvenor Launches new service to help fleets go Green

Grosvenor Leasing has launched ‘oZone’, a new service to advise, help and support its customers through the transition of becoming a zero or low emission fleet.

The new service offers clients support in the development of a low emission vehicle policy, advice on the steps required to move smoothly through the evolution towards Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs), an ‘oZone’ information pack and assistance with plug-in and hybrid demonstration vehicles (subject to availability).

“The shift towards EVs and ULEVs is not something that is going to go away,” said Shaun Barritt, Grosvenor Group CEO. “At some point all companies operating vehicle fleets will make the transition to a new era of fuel technology and our advice is to be pro-active and start planning now.

“Most company drivers have spent their entire working lives driving traditional petrol or diesel vehicles and a key factor in making a smooth transition is to communicate with them and get their buy-in.

“It’s also vital to understand the current opportunities, and limitations, these vehicles offer so that timely decisions can be made, and begin to budget around the financial implications and forecast what the fleet operation will look like in years to come.

“At Grosvenor Leasing, we are here to guide you smoothly through the process and plan ahead rather than react too late.”


Company drivers should be risk assessed annually

Companies operating vehicle fleets should be risk assessing their drivers at least once a year.

That’s according to Mary Dopson, customer services director at Grosvenor Leasing, who says an annual assessment is not only a vital health and safety discipline, it also sends a clear message to drivers that their behaviour and ability is being monitored – and this leads to less accidents, a culture of safer driving and reduced costs.

This echoes the views of Andrew Wetters, policy advisor workplace transport at the Health and Safety Executive, who told a seminar organised by ACFO (the association of car fleet operators) that employers should conduct driver risk assessments at least once a year.

“At Grosvenor Leasing, our online risk assessment system covers a driver’s attitude, knowledge, concentration & observation, and hazard perception skills,” said Mary.

“Profiling drivers in this way has a number of key functions. It enables companies to risk assess drivers in the workplace for health and safety purposes, giving them a high, medium or low rating. It defines each driver’s training needs, and it also places a focus on safe driving and accident reduction across the business.

“In fact, most businesses save money the moment they start profiling with an immediate reduction in accidents. This is even before they carry out any form of training, because drivers are more careful knowing that they are being monitored, and they learn from the assessment process.”

Grosvenor’s driver profiling and e-driver training systems cover all major vehicle types including cars/small vans, large vans (3.5-7.5T), HGVs (over 7.5T), PCVs (bus and coach), and minibuses.

Take the ‘easi’ option, and let Grosvenor Leasing manage your fleet

‘Whose job is it to take care of the vehicles?’

This seems to be a dilemma many companies wrestle with, in particular those with fleets not big enough to justify employing someone full time.

Without a full-time fleet manager, the role tends to fall to a variety of people. The often daunting task landing on the desk of someone in HR, finance, operations or even a director’s PA.

Yet an increasing number of businesses are removing it from their desk completely, with Grosvenor Leasing’s easi-Fleet Management an ideal option. For a fixed monthly management fee you remove the administrative headache of managing a fleet of cars or light commercial vehicles, handing over all day-to-day vehicle and driver management to the Grosvenor team.

“Managing a vehicle fleet, with daily supplier and driver contact is a huge task,” said Giles Bolton, Grosvenor Leasing’s head of corporate finance. “There are vast quantities of invoices to be checked, maintenance queries to resolve, the administration of tax, penalties and fines and a whole host of health and safety, and legal issues to stay on top of.

“No wonder companies find their cars and vans such a time-consuming and costly distraction.

“Surprisingly, however, many people allocated the task struggle on, inundated with calls and emails, working with data on excel spreadsheets, bemoaning the stress and constant distraction that even a small fleet of vehicles can bring.

“easi-Fleet Management is aimed at these companies and, as the name suggests, it couldn’t be easier. You simply hand everything over to our team of fleet management professionals to do the entire job for you.

“In doing so you save time and money thanks to our expertise, but you still have all vehicle and driver data at your fingertips thanks to our web-based fleet management system.”

easi-fleet management is available for fleets using all traditional funding methods, including contract hire, outright purchase, hire purchase and finance lease. Clients enjoy the buying power and discounts of a leading leasing provider, and alleviate themselves of all core activities involved in running a fleet.

Consolidated invoicing removes all of the aggravation of processing and checking bills from garages, leasing providers and other suppliers. The service also comes with accident management, fleet administration to process MOTs, road fund tax, fines and tariffs, updates to the MIB database, rental management, and the management of fuel cards, driver risk and online driving licence checks.

All I want for Christmas is more delivery vans

The Christmas period is key to many companies, particularly retailers. Online shopping is at an all time high, making the route to success not just the quality of your web site and product – but your ability to deliver.

As a result, many businesses are turning to Grosvenor Rental Management’s daily rental and easi-Lease solutions, which help companies boost their van fleet during the festive period.

Alison Mead, head of Grosvenor Rental Management explains.

“With any peak in demand, its vital to be able to fulfill deliveries. We have immediate access to vans either for daily hire, up to 28 days, or through our easi-Lease service, which is for hires of over 28 days.

“It enables companies to increase the size of their delivery fleet at a moment’s notice and without a long-term commitment, returning the vehicles when they no longer need them or adding more if demand continues to rise.

“Short-term hires can become very expensive if they are not properly controlled, which is why many companies use Grosvenor Rental Management to handle everything for them.

“Our web-based systems are linked to the major national rental brands, enabling us to quickly source the vehicles you need at the best price on the day.

“As your rental management team, we also deal with every aspect of the vehicle, driver, administration and payments so that you can focus your time on other priorities.”

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