7 Jun 19

Europe: combine powertrains and mobility solutions

Europe is a complex continent to manage from a fleet and mobility management perspective, but it’s absolutely possible and recommendable to create efficiency while guaranteeing employee satisfaction. That’s the outcome of the panel discussion about European Fleet Market Trends at the 2019 Global Fleet Conference in Miami that included Pim De Weerd of Philips, former International Fleet Manager of the Year winner Andy Leeden of AstraZeneca, Lukasz Jania of Fleet Mobility and Tobias Kern of Fleetcompetence, moderated by Steven Schoefs, Editor in Chief, Global Fleet.

Challenges appear in the local adaptation of the international or global strategy. Most European countries have a clear CO2 element in their company car taxation schemes. One level above, the European Union itself is also increasing the pressure, by imposing stricter emission norms on OEMs – notably the introduction of a 95g/km limit on CO2 emissions by passenger cars by 2021. And one level below, local governments are increasingly imposing low-emission zones in city centres. It makes the European fleet management puzzle more complex.

Legislation & taxation

Despite country differences and legislation and tax variations between the 28 European Union member states, generating fleet management optimisation via harmonisation and a central steered fleet management programme is quite easy to achieve as suppliers like car manufacturers, leasing and fleet management companies are present European-wide.

When going from Fleet to Mobility or introducing electric vehicles for example, Philips took the decision to fully electrify the fleet in the Netherlands by 2025 and also in more mature fleet countries like Belgium or France where there is a tax incentive scheme that supports electrification and where charging infrastructure is being developed.

Diesel isn't dead

Does this mean that diesel is dead? Not at all, pressure on diesel may be increasing and fleet sales in diesel may be shrinking across Europe but there are still markets, for example in Eastern Europe, that very much rely and will go on relying on diesel in the future. According to the panel, electrification needs to be on the agenda of the global fleet manager with a responsibility over Europe, but for a certain period of time there will be a combination of various powertrains in line with the profile and the use and need of the vehicle by the employee.

The same goes for mobility solutions next to the company car. According to Andy Leeden of AstraZeneca almost all alternative mobility solutions can be valid within an employee mobility programme, except for e-scooters because of safety issues. These solutions could be increasingly funded via a mobility budget and have an impact on the number of benefit cars in Europe.

Accelerate capabilities

But we’re not there yet. According to the panel, Europe is on the way to transform from Fleet to Mobility, but customers have to act, test and pilot more and suppliers need to accelerate their capabilities in mobility before new players take over.

Today, most of the multinationals based in Europe are in a multi-supply configuration with their lease and fleet providers. But for the sake of efficiency and with the support of better reporting and control mechanisms more and more big fleet customers are considering a possible sole-supply configuration. But it will depend on your corporate strategy, your main objectives and the way you can leverage enough control if a sole supply relationship works for your fleet.

Image: panel discussion moderator Steven Schoefs, Editor in Chief, Global Fleet

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck