Implementing zero emissions policies will be the primary challenge facing fleet operators over the next three years, according to the latest research from the 2024 Arval Mobility Observatory Barometer.

The study, which surveyed 8,605 businesses across 30 countries, found that nearly four out of ten (39%) fleet decision-makers identified zero emissions policies as their biggest challenge. This was closely followed by adapting to low emissions zones (38%), adjusting to restrictive public policies on petrol and diesel vehicles (37%), and mitigating rising vehicle whole-life costs (31%).

Shaun Sadlier, Head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, commented on the findings: “There are a wide range of challenges currently facing fleets, almost certainly more than at any point in the history of the sector, and the results for this question in the Barometer show which are weighing most heavily on the minds of decision-makers.”

He noted that the order of these challenges remained consistent with the previous year’s survey, indicating persistent issues within the sector. “Progress is being made in all of these areas, something that we see every day at Arval UK, but none are likely to be resolved very quickly,” Sadlier added.

Other notable challenges highlighted by the survey included encouraging more responsible driving among employees (30%), managing longer vehicle delivery times (29%), adjusting to new home and office working patterns (22%), and implementing mobility solutions such as car sharing (16%).

Sadlier pointed out that the top-rated responses were unsurprisingly related to the transition to zero-emissions vehicles, both in policy implementation and operational handling within low-emissions zones. “While huge strides are being made here, these are subjects that we expect to continue to dominate the fleet agenda for the next few years,” he said.

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The research also underscored ongoing issues stemming from the pandemic, such as extended vehicle delivery times and the impact of hybrid working arrangements. “These are now facts of everyday life in fleet management terms, but there is still some discussion about the best solutions and strategies to apply to them, an area in which we are closely involved from a consultancy point of view at Arval UK,” Sadlier explained.

He noted the importance of core fleet management issues, particularly in encouraging responsible driving and addressing rising total cost of ownership (TCO) concerns. “Certainly, there is ongoing interest from fleets in increasing the effectiveness of risk management policies, and higher TCO figures for all vehicle types are a concern for almost everyone,” Sadlier said.