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October 12, 2022
Updated on:
September 8, 2023

Fleet managers must see ‘World Car Free Day’ as the beginning of the future

As seen in FleetPoint*, Zoomo’s UK General Manager Nicolas de Juniac discusses the benefits of transitioning away from petrol vehicles in favour of Light Electric Vehicles.

2022 has added to the arguments for transitioning away from cars, including increasing environmental pledges, growing inflation, and a petrol crisis. The decision of how to get from point A to point B is increasingly scrutinized, something that fleet managers and anyone across the logistics space will feel even more keenly.

It’s a topic that was thankfully discussed at length last week as communities across the globe celebrated World Car-Free Day, where city planners and local governments bring to light how they are promoting greener, motor-free streets.

And as our cities become more sustainable, businesses will be put under rising pressure to follow suit. Those with a fleet of petrol vehicles will be pressured by customers and regulators to do their bit to help the environment, and those not pulling their weight will be called out.

Transitioning away from cars, vans, and other petrol vehicles might seem daunting to fleet managers, yet there are alternative vehicles that provide modern solutions to their needs whilst reducing the reliance on gas-guzzling vehicles. And if fleet managers do transition away from petrol vehicles, the benefits will go beyond just that of sustainability.

Petrol is not compatible with sustainability

It is no secret that petrol vehicles are one of the largest contributors to current climate issues, with transport accounting for 1/5th of the world’s carbon emissions. Businesses may find that pressure to improve sustainability comes not from regulators but rather from customers, who will vote with their feet. Alternatives like Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs) can significantly improve the carbon footprint of a delivery fleet without compromising efficiency, with businesses able to reduce CO2 emissions by 75% by switching deliveries to e-bikes. LEVs are also helping our streets become safer for walking, cycling, and generally living, and contributing to happier and healthier cities.

Greener transport solutions must play a leading role in fleet managers’ operations, it is essential for any business wanting to keep today’s customers onside. LEVs are indeed an easy fix to boost sustainable pledges, but they can also revolutionize performance.

Commercial cars don’t equal speed

Fleet managers that shift away from cars won’t just be contributing to the shared positive of a better environment, they’ll also drastically improve their operations and improve the efficiency, particularly of their urban-distribution network.

Regardless of the industry, customers today expect the same things from delivery and logistics; speed, reliability, and quality. They are no longer happy to wait, they want 15-minute grocery deliveries and same-day packages, without any compromises on reliability. But replacing petrol cars with electric cars won’t make the fleet more efficient, and in fact could worsen congestion as demand increases.

Again, alternatives like LEVs provide the perfect solution; they are quick, agile, can utilise urban distribution centres, and are unaffected by traffic jams or low/no-emission zones, with data from Zoomo partners showing that deliveries are 30% faster on e-bikes than any other form of transport in New York and California.

LEVs are the most flexible vehicle for urban access, and as cities increasingly enable transport by bikes through infrastructure, this will only improve.

In a cost-of-living crisis, cars make no sense

Running a fleet of petrol vehicles in today’s environment has become increasingly daunting, with a cost-of-living crisis likely to hit commercial fleets hard.

A fleet of LEVs is considerably easier and less expensive to run, with businesses able to avoid considerable ancillary costs such as driving licenses, fines, parking, storage, the list goes on. LEV providers have also recently been turning their attention to fleet management software that allows businesses to monitor, track and save. The result of all of this is that in a potential recession when businesses will be increasingly focused on saving cash, the cost benefits are likely to become LEV’s most powerful argument for driving adoption.

For fleet managers, the future is car-free

When we talk about World Car Free Day, discussions are dominated by why individuals need to transition away from cars. Yet businesses, especially those with delivery fleets, should be the ones looking to make lasting changes. Not only does the varying external presence of businesses allow them to lead from the front from a sustainable perspective, but transitioning to alternative, greener transport methods will also bring significant operational benefits.

Businesses don’t need a 1,000kg vehicle to transport a 70kg human to deliver a 1kg parcel two kilometers. We cannot continue our reliance on cars, vans, and other petrol vehicles for commercial use, but with alternatives like LEVs providing such exciting opportunities, this is a transition to be relished.

The performance, climate impact, and cost savings from going car-free already exist; all that is missing is a nudge to get over the line.

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