While most commercial fleet operators in the United Kingdom believe the country will achieve net-zero by 2050, they also say there needs to be more government and business support to increase the sustainability of transportation, according to a report from Bridgestone and Webfleet.
The report surveyed 300 fleet operators, half of them vans and half heavy transport. Of the responses, 58% say the UK will achieve net-zero by 2050, but 62% say more government involvement is needed in making transportation cleaner, and 60% say there needs to be more business collaboration in the sector.
On the business side of their fleets, 45% say decarbonization is the top priority of commercial fleets, and a little more than half say they have a significant plan to become carbon neutral. On average the fleet operators say it will be more than eight years until they are fully carbon neutral, and 57% say there are business benefits to achieving decarbonization.
The UK has published a transportation framework for a clean transition. There is a 2040 phaseout date for non-zero emissions heavy goods vehicle (HGV) fleets and is currently developing zero-emission technologies for HGVs on UK roads.
It also says government van fleets will be zero-emission by 2027, and it is investing more than $14.5 billion on the local level to improve transportation infrastructure. The country also recently announced an aviation sustainability target, but at the same time, the courts ruled its overall net-zero plans were mishandled and that the UK needs to come up with specific targets by 2023.
BloomergNEF says a third of heavy and medium commercial vehicles are on track to reach net-zero by 2050, and more government mandates such as fuel rules and electrification requirements may be needed to speed transitions.
More than half the fleet managers also say competing interests within their businesses are also impacting targets. They say there need to be more concrete transition strategies, short-term financial goals, and overall investment.
Technology and infrastructure are two areas the fleet operators say need improvements to hit carbon reduction goals. Nearly a third of heavy fleets say their technology is insufficient, and almost 40% of van operators feel that way. Overall, 41% say a lack of rapid charging infrastructure is an obstacle.
Most fleet operators also say high energy costs will lower the demand for electric vehicles, with 59% of HGV operators feeling that way.
Overall, simply adding electric vehicles isn’t the top priority for either van or HGV fleets. For HGVs, 35% say they are going to invest in electric vehicles over the next year, and that number is 36% for vans.
UK fleet managers say there are a variety of ways they are transitioning to cleaner procedures. There is a focus on using alternative fuels, such as biofuels, with that leading for heavy vehicle operators (43%). They also want to improve the efficiency of maintenance and use energy-efficient tires.
Webfleet is Bridgestone’s fleet management platform and is used by more than 50,000 companies in 100 countries.