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Eco-driving for companies: switching from theory to practice.

Eco-driving is the word on every fleet manager’s lips. This is due to new safety and environmental requirements and pressures around costs. Within companies, eco-driving can have a positive impact on all three of these factors.

And it works! Companies that go down this road are seeing convincing results. To benefit, you still need to know what lies behind this appealing concept and learn the keys to supporting your drivers to take the right action.

Understanding eco-driving for companies

A few definitions to clear things up

What is eco-driving?

Eco-driving refers to the adoption of techniques and attitudes so as to optimise behaviour at the wheel. In a business, it consists of practices used with company vehicles to improve driver safety, keep costs as low as possible and reduce the environmental impact of driving.

Eco-driving for a company is often associated with, and sometimes confused with, similar terms:

  • eco-attitude, which more specifically describes a change in behaviour by a driver at the wheel;
  • ecomobility [LIEN ARTICLE], which refers to the action taken by a company to adapt business travel to reduce its environmental impact and improve driver safety.

The right habits

Eco-driving consists of applying best practices – and there are many of them – to achieve the desired objectives. In particular, this means prioritising:

  • smooth driving, especially on bends, when accelerating/braking and changing gear, and keeping a constant speed;
  • preparing properly for a journey: feeling that the journey is under control because you have planned ahead and know that the route encourages smooth driving;
  • carefully checking and maintaining your vehicle:
    • the correct tyre pressure gives your vehicle good road hold and uses less fuel;
    • avoiding carrying unnecessary loads in your vehicle reduces fuel consumption;
    • regularly replacing consumables (air filter, oil, etc.) prevents premature vehicle wear;
  • correct interior comfort settings: correctly adjusted air conditioning limits excessive fuel consumption and CO2

Eco-driving and CSR – two closely linked topics

Corporate Social Responsibility aims to incorporate sustainable development challenges into a company’s strategy. Like eco-driving, fleet managers are becoming increasingly interested in this subject, which is establishing itself in an ever-larger number of companies. Fleet managers can provide impetus for CSR or make a significant contribution to it by working on all three of its aspects:

  • Environmental: this concerns actions aimed at protecting the environment and reducing the carbon footprint. For fleet management, it means limiting vehicles’ CO2 emissions, a key area of eco-driving.
  • Social: this concerns people. In terms of fleet management, this refers to initiatives designed to ensure driver safety and to improve their well-being (less stress, optimised journeys, etc.), another important dimension of eco-driving.
  • Economic: this concerns the financial viability of the company. Initiatives linked to reducing vehicle operating costs contribute to this.

Eco-driving: a response to company mobility issues

Like CSR, the enthusiasm for eco-driving within businesses is due to the fact that it is closely linked to the issues that concern employers and fleet managers when it comes to mobility: road safety, keeping down costs and the green transition.

éco-conduite en entreprise

Ensuring driver safety and reducing road accidents

Road accidents are the leading cause of death at work. To reduce the number of accidents and protect drivers, French companies are increasingly focusing on road safety by deploying ambitious prevention actions. Eco-driving has demonstrated how useful it is as part of this:

  • training courses in eco-driving and safety are considered to be the most effective measure for preventing risks on the road according to the 2021 Arval Mobility Observatory 2021 barometer;
  • the ECF, the reference body on eco-driving training for businesses, has found that it is possible to halve the frequency of accidents by adopting careful driving principles.

Reducing vehicle operating costs

Pressure to reduce the total cost of ownership of fleets is increasing. The constantly changing economic and regulatory context has also played a part in this. Eco-driving is a strategic tool for making savings on different components of TCO:

  • Reduction of fuel costs: smoother driving leads to lower fuel consumption, as does good vehicle preparation and the sensible use of air conditioning. The ECF reports fuel savings of €500 per year on average by driving more carefully.
  • Vehicle maintenance and renewal costs: smoother driving combined with good vehicle maintenance practices reduce premature wear.
  • Savings on insurance costs: a reduction in vehicle damage has a positive impact on insurance policy costs. Some insurers offer rewards for training drivers in eco-driving in the form of reductions.

Reducing the environmental impact of vehicles

This is a hot topic for mobility. The latest regulatory changes, formalised in the French Mobility Orientation Law and the Climate and Resilience Law  are encouraging fleet managers to accelerate the ‘greening’ of their fleets and to reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles. Environmental issues are also becoming increasingly important to employees and company decision-makers. Eco-driving supports this transition to carbon-free mobility:

  • Reducing fuel consumption for petrol and diesel vehicles, it directly limits CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere, which is key to combating climate change. All the principles associated with eco-driving can reduce a vehicle’s environmental impact.
  • What about ‘green’ vehicles? Eco-driving encourages less energy-intensive driving and also benefits other vehicles. For example, it can extend the battery life of an electric vehicle.
  • According to the ECF, reductions of up to 20% in fuel consumption can be achieved with eco-driving.

David Chaptal, Head of GTIE Telecoms at Vinci, notes “a 15 to 20% reduction in fuel consumption, explained by the use of cleaner vehicles but also by the widespread adoption of eco-driving.

éco-conduite en entreprise

Eco-driving in practice: how make the right habits part of normal driving behaviour

Anticipating and planning for better fleet management

Fleet managers can get things off on the right foot by managing the adoption of eco-driving. Here are some ideas for getting organised with onboard telematics,  a technology that collects vehicle data and feeds it into your fleet management solution.

The importance of internal diagnostics: being able to view driver behaviours to support drivers better

Retrieving usage information about your vehicles (light utility vehicles, machinery, etc.) enables you to spot potentially risky use and to identify areas for improvement for smoother driving. Using an eco-driving device such as the telematics module integrated into our Ocean solution means that various useful items of data can be fed back:

  • consumption data: distances travelled, journey details, fuel consumption, CO2 emissions;
  • data on behaviour: acceleration, braking, sharp turns;
  • mechanical data: engine state, tyre wear and pressure, etc.

Analysing these consolidated data highlights risk factors for each driver and helps you to identify where to take action to develop eco-driving.

Vehicle maintenance: prevention is better than cure

Proper preparation and regular maintenance of your vehicles is an essential component of eco-driving. Managing the maintenance of your vehicle fleet can improve the safety of your drivers and cut maintenance and repair costs. This is the third largest item of expenditure in a fleet management budget and one of the most opaque costs in TCO[1].

Whether it is performed by your company or outsourced, vehicle maintenance can be anticipated and planned with the service providers involved. Establishing a maintenance and servicing schedule enables you to be proactive about prevention, and identify and repair problems before they get worse.

Providing your employees with well-maintained vehicles is the first step towards raising their awareness of looking after the vehicles themselves.

Including eco-driving in the Car Policy

The Car Policy is an effective tool for giving drivers key information and documents concerning their company vehicles.

It is used as a reference point for everything related to the vehicles’ operation: driver obligations, usage and maintenance rules, procedures in the event of damage or accidents. It acts as a documentation centre that is directly accessible by drivers on their mobile devices, and the perfect communications channel for informing them of eco-driving best practices.

For example, the Car Policy included in the Ocean solution has various different modules (Documentation, Vehicle Record, Contacts, FAQ) so that employees on the road or drivers of machinery can access the code of conduct and the company’s environmental policy.

Training and continuous information for drivers

Courses and training on eco-driving are a must, to be continued over time

As explained above, offering employees courses or training in eco-driving has proved to be highly effective. Eco-driving does not come naturally, and the only way to learn how to do it is to devote specific time to it.

Training is generally based on theory (challenges of eco-driving, solutions and best practices) and practical application in a driving situation.

To build on this learning, it is important to keep training.

Personalised awareness training at the wheel

Connected eco-driving devices can enhance the benefits of training. The partnership established between ECF and Ocean enables the monitoring of initial training directly on the ground.

In practice:

  • display of the data associated with driver behaviour on the road (e.g. sharp turns or sudden braking) enables drivers to identify areas for improvement (in urban areas, out of town, etc.).
  • They can check in real time that they are applying the best practices explained during the training.

The information provided by your connected equipment can also support discussions on the driving performance of your employees during appraisals and enable eco-driving to be included in their professional targets.

Motivating drivers through collective action

Initiatives that raise awareness within a company can also motivate employees on eco-driving, for example:

  • external events: occupational road safety days, sustainable development week, Earth Day, etc.;
  • regular events for employees: internal seminars, induction days for new employees, company newsletters, etc.

Eco-driving challenges can also be a logical follow-up to training. Inter-company competitions, such as the C-CUBE challenge for the Climate, aim to foster a collective dynamic among drivers of company vehicles. Telematics can be used to support these competitions.


   Five points to remember to encourage eco-driving in your company:

  1. Communicate on both the safety and the environmental aspects to appeal to drivers based on the subjects important to them.
  2. Using on-board telematics technologies can increase the effectiveness of your training and awareness actions.
  3. Making your actions to support eco-driving fun and positive avoids it seeming like a chore.
  4. Occasional actions (training, challenges) can be combined with the continuous provision of information to support ongoing efforts (particularly through an eco-driving application built into the vehicle)
  5. Not everything rests on your drivers’ shoulders. Supporting them properly means anticipating their needs by providing them with the right tools and the right level of support.


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