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Mobility in 2020 — The Challenges Ahead

Mobility in 2020 — The Challenges Ahead

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Green cars, safety programs, advancements in telematics ... mobility continues to reinvent itself at an unbridled pace, and as a result fleet managers need to be able to adapt quickly.


There are a great deal of changes anticipated in the automotive industry by 2020. If technological advancement (autonomous vehicles, new energy sources, new mobile apps, etc.) continues to move at such a rampant pace, it will continue to be more and more difficult for companies to keep up with these changes in technology. “This market acceleration is to be balanced by understandable internal inertia due to organizational cycle time to implement changes in Fleet strategies, on top of the natural renewal cycle of a fleet, which is between 36 to 48 months in average” notes Hervé Girardot, Head of Arval Consulting & Corporate Vehicle Observatory.


On the other hand, 2020 theoretically represents not only a turning point in the number of cars occupying our roadways, but also a potentially pivotal year in terms of strategies adopted by municipalities — strategies that prohibit the use of vehicles in the heart of cities and also that regulate the types of fuel used. "It will be interesting to see how fleet managers will anticipate these new constraints and adapt their fleets as the rules of operation continue to change," Hervé Girardot emphasizes.


A green trend, more or less…


The observation is obvious. Clean vehicles continue to gain popularity, with registration of electric light commercial vehicles having increased by 13% in 2016 and by 28% for private electric vehicles (according to AVEM).


The observation is obvious. Clean vehicles continue to gain popularity, with registration of plug-in vehicles having increased by 10% in 2016 with 200.000 car registrations and by 2,6% for private electric vehicles, to pass the 100.000 cars registrations threshold  (according to AVEM) (1).


"After a slow start, the purchase of so-called clean vehicles is now present in decision-making process for all consumers, including fleet managers”, confirms Hervé Girardot. A green craze driven both by tax constraints (bonuses / penalties or even tax incentives) but also by the many car-sharing programs associated with this type of vehicle. Nevertheless, it must be recognized that the progress of this new form of “green” mobility is slower in the business world. This discrepancy can be explained by the increased complexity of present day fleet management.


Historically focused on individual vehicle management (TCO* management, adapting fleets according to the employee's usage, etc.), the fleet manager’s role has evolved to encompass many more skills than were required in the past. Establishing relationships with human resources departments to ensure well-being at work, integrating transit issues (see enterprise-wide mobility plan), are just a couple of the new demands of the job. Ultimately these additional demands are raising the complexity of fleet manager’s work when driving their fleet toward a green & safe, smart mobility transition.


The rise of safety programs


The number of new in-car active safety systems out there is quite extensive; lane departure warnings, night vision cameras, in-car smartphone blocking, blind-spot detection, and the like. The technologies available in the current market make it easier than ever for carmakers to provide drivers with new and advanced systems for both safety and efficiency, but as good as they are these new systems have a cost. This becomes a crucial consideration for a fleet manager, which begs the question of a tangible ROI and how much time it will take to reach it. "To be truly effective, these systems need to be supported by the top management, over time, rather than being a one shot gimmick," concludes Hervé Girardot.

(1) Sources : ACEA – AVERE – European Association for battery, hybrid & fuel cell Electric vehicle
*TCO : total Cost of ownership – all costs involved in buying and using a product over time