Calls for a green transition are increasing and company fleets are being affected directly. The final section of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report on solutions for the mitigation of climate change calls in particular for decarbonisation of the transport sector*, which is responsible for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. The new regulatory measures adopted in France support such a move.
More eco-friendly fleet management consists of reducing the environmental impact of fleets, mainly due to vehicles’ energy consumption and the pollutant emissions associated with this (chiefly CO2, but also the particulates responsible for atmospheric pollution).
Many measures must be taken to achieve this, related as much to choices about fleet composition as fleet use. Below we explain what these are so that you can implement a step-by-step strategy, based on the levers available to you:
Regardless of the engine and vehicle type used, your drivers’ behaviour has a direct influence on your vehicles’ fuel consumption. Here are three suggestions to take into account in your fleet management:
Eco-driving consists of adopting smooth driving behaviour, particularly during acceleration and braking and on bends.
According to the ECF, including eco-driving in your fleet management can achieve reductions of up to 20% in fuel consumption. It limits emissions of CO2 and other pollutants from combustion engine vehicles and extends battery life in electric vehicles.
It is also an effective way of keeping your drivers safe and cutting accidents by reducing risky behaviours through more careful driving.
Good news: eco-driving can be learned! Training and courses available on the subject are increasingly available to meet growing demand from businesses.
Technology is also available to improve driving behaviour. Onboard telematics solutions can give your drivers indicators that reflect their driving style (sharp turns, sudden braking, etc.) as well as their CO2 emission data. This gives them the keys to take direct action on these risk factors.
Attempts to eliminate vehicle idling are often undertaken in a bid to save fuel. But idling also has a significant impact on pollutant emissions and on premature vehicle wear (engines in particular, which can be damaged by the build-up of residues from partial fuel combustion).
Construction machinery is particularly affected: it is often left with the engine on during breaks.
Raising driver awareness of switching off the engine when stationary for any length of time is one way of minimising the environmental impact of this practice. Figures for when you should switch your engine off vary: after 10, 30 or 60 seconds? Common sense is the watchword for deciding what to do when stationary. An onboard telematics solution can help by measuring idling time to find out where to focus your driver awareness efforts.
More vehicles than ever are now fitted with technology to reduce idling, particularly the Stop & Start system, which automatically cuts the engine when the vehicle is stationary. Some construction vehicles have an audible alarm that sounds after a few minutes of inactivity.
In buildings, as in transport, the harmful effects of air conditioning on the environment have been widely studied. The problem is the energy it consumes to produce cool air, but also the impact associated with leaks of the refrigerant gases used for cooling, which have a massive heating effect on the climate.
The refrigerant gases used in new vehicles have been improved to reduce this heating effect (though it is still much greater than that of CO2). The impact of air conditioning on energy consumption still remains high. On a sunny day when the temperature is 30°C and the air conditioning is set at 20°C, ADEME* reports average additional fuel consumption of 40% to 70% in cities and 15% to 20% on motorways (compared to 10% to 15% with the windows open).
Fleet managers are responsible for disseminating best practices to reduce the impact of air conditioning:
Thinking about how to renew your fleet is an essential part of fleet management. It is an opportunity to question its energy and environmental performance and to think about whether the proposed mobility solutions are right. In France, the law is changing and tax measures are increasing to support fleet managers with the green transition.
Electric is the key means of greening vehicle fleets because of its ability to contribute to efforts to cut CO2. With the gradual phasing-out of combustion engine vehicles and the rapid expansion of electric charging points, more and more companies are interested in electric vehicles.
A fleet appraisal is essential to understand how to undertake this transition. It will enable you to identify the vehicles that may be replaced with electric or plug-in hybrid cars based on actual use (journey type or mileage).
In addition to the appraisal, onboard telematics support the management of the electric vehicles in your fleet by providing key data associated with these vehicles:
Electric is suitable for light vehicles but is not really suitable for larger vehicles. For these, other types of engines are available.
Looking at actual vehicle use can offer suggestions for alternative solutions. Car-sharing is one for rarely used vehicles. Sharing means that you can replace several vehicles with just one.
Financially, car-sharing can reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO) or rental (TCM). Environmentally, it is a good alternative to individual company cars.
Often viewed from an economic perspective, planning by managers to make drivers’ lives easier before they get behind the wheel is effective at improving the energy efficiency of vehicles and reducing emissions from combustion engines.
The planning of drivers’ assignments and routes with a central vehicle management solution is a key part of this:
Some companies already offer their customers green delivery by planning rounds in electric vehicles.
Vehicle maintenance can protect a vehicle’s original qualities in the long term. Premature wear of vehicles and machinery is an aggravating factor affecting their environmental performance.
Regular checks of tyres, fluid levels, filters, spark plugs and oil have an impact on energy consumption.
Electric vehicles also need regular maintenance to prevent battery wear.
Onboard telematics solutions can be used to schedule services based on vehicle mileage to provide proactive maintenance.
* L’Usine Nouvelle, IPCC Report: Energy, industrial and transport options for limiting global warming, April 2022.
*ADEME, Vehicle air conditioning: Energy and environmental impact, May 2020. (https://www.ademe.fr/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2020_impact_climatisation_voiture_vf2.pdf)