Your fleet’s travel through the vortex of time and space on a daily basis, however how close are we to a tardis?
It might sound odd, but we’d all like a teleporter or a tardis. Increasingly businesses are cutting business mileage by encouraging ‘death by conference call’, skype or similar technologies. This is great for reducing your risk, however as we know sometimes there is no other practical way other than to be there in person. For some businesses the only way is in person, the one to one human touch, the product demonstration or delivery of quality service.
So what does the future hold?
Two key elements of change are about to explode in a big way for fleets, and although we have seen some starting to be interested there are many reasons why these are going to be industry practice shortly.
1. Fuel technology in vehicles. Although hybrids have been with us for some time now, they have been slow on the uptake, but the technology on the market this year and next is gathering huge momentum. The Vauxhall Ampera or Chevrolet Volt is a huge step forward. It is electric with a range extender in the form of a petrol built in. With practical day to day use of 400 miles range and averages around the 100miles to the gallon, on petrol, this really is a car with a difference. Previous hybrids made some difference to fuel consumption, and provided cheaper tax, no London congestion charges and a niche market for the few, however Vauxhall and Chevrolet have created a vehicle which is very quick, very economical and with all the advantages of the above. The drawback? Cost as ever, at a shade under £30k it is not cheap, and leasing deals are eye wateringly expensive. But this is the first of it’s kind, and costs will come down, it provides a solution to high fuel costs and reduces CO2. The future is exciting though, electric cars are coming of age, and really do offer practical solutions. Even fully electric cars like the Nissan Leaf have been slow off the mark, which is odd, it is such a great car! Beautifully quiet and smooth to drive, very low running costs, but small 120 mile range and so expensive.
There is a car though, which is just about to be released in the UK. It has all of the benefits of the cars above, quiet, cheap to run, low or zero CO2, but critically has no disadvantages to my knowledge! 265 miles range, truly desirable, as quick as a BMW M5, luxurious, yet on par with prices of competitors. This is going to be such a milestone in motoring. When I heard about this car I learnt as much as I could, if I could afford one, I’d order one tomorrow in a heartbeat.
The new Tesla Model S is truely exceptional. It looks fabulous, 416bhp of power, 443lb ft of torque all of which is available from zero revs. A remarkable 265 miles range, that’s London to Durham, or Glasgow to Stafford, Aberystwyth to Kings Lynn on a single charge. It will take up to 8 hours to charge, lets face it you’ll be asleep, but if you use a quick charger this could half, and cost just less than £10 to charge up! In theory if you used renewable energy like wind, solar or tidal power this would be nearly zero CO2. It is a full 5 seater car with an option of 2 additional seats for childen in the rear, a great sized boot plus an additional boot upfront. It has a huge LCD screen which replaces most of the buttons on the dash board, which is inc-readable to look at, and the most expensive one goes on sale in the US at £50k-£80k. Now this might sound a lot but the car about the same size and specification for performance is the BMW M5, which is £71k with no options added, and a journey of 265 would cost around £63 in fuel if you drive like a nun, more realistically it would cost £70 in super unleaded.
Although this sounds like a land of make believe, if one of your drivers does 30,000 a year in your average diesel car I estimate that you would use about £3500 of fuel give or take a few pounds. The Tesla would cost around £1130 in electricity to do the same miles, and there is no road tax. That’s a £10,000 saving in fuel alone over four years ownership. Now the price tag is high, but this will become mainstream soon. This is one of very few electric cars built specifically for electric power. If the range can be the same as a diesel or petrol car, and cost one third to fuel, the next few years are going to be very interesting.
So until then?
2. Fleet Driver Training. Well your fleets can benefit from driving more efficiently and safer with driver training, and this applies to petrol, electric, diesel, hybrid or hydrogen. Ultimately the way you drive saves energy, irrespective of the source. planning ahead, avoid stopping where it is safe, controlling the acceleration and brake, all of which reduces incident rates, makes drivers more aware and safer as well as anywhere from a 5%-25% savings on energy costs.
When new technologies of hybrid and electric cars are introduced, training is also key to ensure that you get the most from them. We have spent a lot of time driving as many of the new cars as we can to ensure we know how they work, and how to get the most from them.
Large insurance brokers often offer great discounts, or even fund driver training. With all the advantages of meeting health and safety, reduced time off work, decrease in incidents and savings on fuel, quality driver training is usually well offset by the savings to your fleet.
Increasingly fleets large and small are delivering driver training and seeing the benefits, are you been left behind? Can you afford not to develop or assess your drivers?
So short of offering a tardis or teleporter, are you keeping up to date and taking advantage of new technology and training.