A new committee launched by the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) aims to break down barriers in the workplace by promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity.
The Diversity and Leadership Committee’s aims include creating guidance and promoting best practice for AFP members and the wider fleet community, providing a safe space to explore difficult topics, shaping future training within the AFP Fleet Academy, and engaging with a diverse group of individuals and businesses in fleet to develop understanding.
Denise Lane, board member at the AFP, said: “There has been a real drive in many professional environments to promote equality, diversity and inclusivity, and the formation of this new committee is designed to create a focus point for efforts being made in this area within the fleet industry.
“The AFP is already working closely with several members who feel as though their voice is not always heard, helping them to bring about change in their particular workplace. Creating this forum where their ideas and thinking can be developed will help us to bring greater structure to those efforts on an industrywide basis.
“Job one for us will be to create a range of best practice advice that can be applied across the fleet sector, to engage employees, help employers to attract a broader range of talent, and encourage leadership that promotes diversity.”
The committee started work last month and is made up of AFP members in both fleet operator and fleet service provider roles.
Notes to Editors:
Formed in 2020, the Association of Fleet Professionals brings together over 1,200 fleet professionals to form the recognised industry body for car and light commercial fleet management. A not-for-profit organisation, it provides everything from training and campaigning through to white papers and events, as well as creating a wide range of committees and forums for the discussion of current issues and best practice. More details can be found at www.theafp.co.uk.
Fleets and insurers need to collaborate to ensure the degree of risk surrounding electric vehicles (EVs) is understood, says the Association of Fleet Professionals
The industry body says that evidence from its members indicates that some insurers have recently been increasing premiums for EVs, based on what appears to be incorrect and, in some instances, irrelevant information.
Paul Hollick, chair, explained: “We’re hearing of issues in certain areas. The first is the repair data that insurers employ to calculate premiums. Many are using information based entirely on experience with Teslas and applying this across the board to all EVs, even to vans.
“Clearly, this is problematic. The repair profile of Teslas is applicable only to Teslas, in the same way as any other manufacturer, and has very little relevance to commercial vehicles. Fleets and insurers need to be working together to create a situation where premiums can be calculated based on much better and directly applicable data.”
A second issue, he said, was that insurers seemed unsure of the value of an EV that had been written off in an accident.
“This is especially the case where the battery may have been damaged as part of the write-off. Some insurers seem to be working on the incorrect basis that the vehicle has no market worth. Again, this needs to be included in the maths behind premiums.”
Finally, there appeared to be an undue amount of worry about the possibility of EV fires and the potential for damage to then spread beyond the vehicle itself to other cars and vans, as well as surrounding property.
“EV fires, when they occur, are a serious issue, but experience so far shows that they are very rare – substantially less likely than fires in ICE vehicles – and we are unaware of cases where there has been a fire and a significant amount of harm has been caused in the immediate vicinity. The risk is just not that high.”
Paul said that the AFP was keen to work with insurers to share their experience of EV operation and provide the information needed to calculate more precise premiums.
“At this point, it’s very much about opening a dialogue that will probably continue over some time. We understand that insurers want to be conservative when it comes to new technology and that this approach applies to EVs but we also believe that fleets are in a position to provide the operational evidence to show that the risks and costs associated with EVs are much lower than many appear to believe.”
A new course has been introduced by the Association of Fleet Professionals’ (AFP) Fleet Academy in response to demand for training aimed at employees involved in fleet administration.
The Fleet Vehicle Management Foundation course is designed for people in fleet administrator, co-ordinator and customer service roles, and is suitable for those employed by both fleet operators and fleet service providers.
The two-day trainer-led course covers topics including fleet sector roles and responsibilities, opportunities and challenges; supporting customers and other stakeholders; core elements of fleet administration including compliance; understanding key terms and processes; developing communication skills; and vehicle lifecycle from acquisition to disposal. A register of interest has been opened and it is planned to hold the first courses in early 2024.
Ronnie Gillman, training manager at the AFP, said: “The Foundation training sits between our established Introductory and Strategic courses on our Fleet Vehicle Management pathway. Some of those interested in attending will ultimately want to become fleet managers but others will see their long-term career very much in the administrative side of car and van operations which is, of course, an essential part of the industry in itself.
“The course was born out of training forum, where members highlighted that there was a real need for a course aimed at fleet administrators. A number of other members have asked for this course so we are anticipating high levels of interest. It meets a need that has probably existed across the fleet industry for some time.”
More details about the Foundation Course are available at https://www.theafp.co.uk/fleet-vehicle-management-foundation while further information on the AFP Fleet Academy’s entire 2024 training schedule will be released soon.
New mentoring services aimed at enabling experienced fleet managers to pass on their knowledge to newer entrants to the sector has been introduced by the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP).
A range of different channels have been created through which advice can be sought and expertise shared, headlined by what the professional body describes as “light” and “full” one-to-one mentoring.
The light service sees the mentee paired with an AFP board member or committee member, who will then spend an hour a month providing free mentoring, generally through a video call. It is expected that this will be used to provide younger or less experienced fleet managers with an opportunity to regularly check their overall approach to handling fleet issues.
Full mentoring is more intensive and includes regular coaching and ongoing support, as well as on-site meetings if they are required, but stops short of providing hands-on style consultancy. Because of the time commitment involved on the part of the mentor, this level of mentoring is chargeable.
Paul Hollick, AFP chair, said: “With a lot of fleet managers closing in on retirement, there is a danger that much of the experience in the sector could be lost in the next few years as seasoned experts retire. This is an issue of which the AFP is very much aware and we have been examining a range of solutions.
“Mentoring is one of the answers we have so far identified and is a great way for experienced fleet managers to pass on their knowledge to new entrants to fleet. It creates strong relationships across different age groups and experience levels, and is good for individuals and the profession as a whole.”
Other mentoring options created by the AFP include the fleet operator open forum, a quarterly online relaxed discussion designed to enable members to talk about issues they are facing, and hear the views and experience of others; the AFP fleet operator WhatsApp, which allows individuals to post questions informally and ask for advice from other professionals; and finally, the member area of the organisation’s web site, where questions can be posted to ask the views and advice of others alongside a searchable database to check whether topics have already been covered.
Paul said: “Through this range of channels, we are hoping to provide the means for a generational exchange of information between younger and older fleet managers that will help to maintain and improve the huge amount of expertise held within the profession.
In addition, the fleet industry has never before faced so many challenges and changes, requiring fleet managers to develop new skillsets in areas some may find unfamiliar or even daunting so the ability to be mentored by a more experienced Fleet professional who can give some additional support and guidance can only be beneficial.
“We’d also like to hear from any fleet managers who would like to get involved in the mentoring initiative, whether as mentor and mentee. Those interested should email [email protected].”
The first expo held by the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) has been announced for 22nd November at the Hilton DoubleTree hotel in Milton Keynes.
The event, called the “MemberExpo” will feature 70 identically sized stands, nearly all of which have already been allocated to the organisation’s fleet support provider members.
Matt Hammond, vice chair at the AFP, said: “This event has been created to enable our fleet service provider and fleet operator members to create a dialogue about challenges in fleet and how they can overcome them together. It will also enable fleet operators to see what’s available in the market, which is great for anyone looking for new suppliers.”
Fleet operators attending the MemberExpo will be able to make appointments with the exhibiting businesses in advance in order to make the most productive use of their time.
A series of round table discussions will also be held on the day, centred around a range of fleet topics and moderated by AFP board members.
Matt said: “The round tables will enable fleet operators and fleet service providers to talk openly about the challenges they are facing, so they can learn from one another’s experiences, sharing ideas and best practice among their peers. We’ll be looking at the key subjects that are raised most often by our members.”
The AFP MemberExpo is a benefit of AFP membership. Stands are exclusively available to members and the event is free of charge to both exhibitors and attendees.
Matt said: “It promises to be a genuinely productive and useful day for all AFP members and the initial response in terms of demand for stands and the number of fleet operator members already registered has been fantastic. There is a real buzz about it amongst our members and we’re very much looking forward to it.”
Further details about the AFP MemberExpo are available at theafp.co.uk/memberexpo.
Almost six out of 10 van fleets (58%) would consider sharing their charging infrastructure with others to make electrification more practical, a new survey for the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) shows.
The research shows that 62% would consider co-operative agreements with other fleets to allow mutual access to depot infrastructure and 58% their public facilities, with the demand for arrangements of this type considered most appropriate for businesses operating in Scotland, the West Midlands and the South West.
Current charging infrastructure is a barrier to electrification for 65% of fleets when it comes to depots and 49% in a home scenario, the research shows, with the largest cost impediments coming from – in order – charger installation, connection, hardware and energy.
Paul Hollick, chair at the AFP, said: “The subject of shared charging is being discussed more and more across our organisation and is increasingly seen as a way forward for solving the issue of limited infrastructure. Potentially, providing mutual access to charging could mean van fleets will be able to access power in areas where there is limited public charging in place or where energy prices are high for the chargers that are available.
“There are, of course, problems to solve, such as the mechanism for payment and a process of booking access to individual chargers, but these appear to be far from insoluble and could provide a valuable part of the charging options available to van fleet operators in the future. The research shows that there is a genuine interest in the subject.”
The research used a panel of 40 AFP members and was carried out by global management consultancy Baringa and net zero data analytics specialist Field Dynamics. The research took place ahead of a new AFP national charging map that will be unveiled later this year, showing where new infrastructure is most desperately needed for van operators.
Paul said: “The new map will use data provided by a number of telematics companies and should provide the most accurate picture yet of where on-street charging is needed across the whole of the UK. We’ll be releasing details very soon.”
Ongoing confusion over regulations surrounding 4.25 tonne electric vans mean that the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) is urging fleets to “step up” lobbying of the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) and the Driver Vehicle Standards Authority (DVSA).
In 2019, a special concession was created by the Department of Transport (DFT) for electric vans. Normally, an individual with a standard B licence would only be able to drive a light commercial vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes but recognising the extra weight added by batteries, this was extended to 4.25 tonnes.
However, with 4.25 tonne electric vans starting to come to market in quantity during the last year, a situation has emerged whereby OZEV believe the vehicles have been deregulated from all of the operator responsibilities that normally apply to vans over 3.5 tonnes whereas the DVSA and the DFT believe some still apply.
Confusion has surrounded what exactly these additional operational requirements may be but according to the AFP’s current interpretation, include an MOT test every 12 months from new and a speed limiter to be fitted. In addition, any vehicles operating outside of a 100km radius of the base would be required to comply with EU driver hours rules and a tachograph would be required. However, for vehicles operating within the 100km radius a tachograph is not needed and should not be specified because it will then need calibration at MOT, and neither is an O licence required.
Paul Hollick, chair at the AFP, explained that the situation had caused consternation among its members, with many cancelling their orders for 4.25 tonne vans because of ongoing lack of clarity about the additional requirements surrounding these vans and the possibility that they may find themselves inadvertently breaking the law if they simply treated them like a 3.5 tonne diesel van.
He said: “We’re big fans of the 4.25 tonne derogation. It makes absolute sense that the adoption of electric vans around the crucial 3.5 tonne mark should be made easier for as many fleets as possible. However, what we are seeing is confusion with, to adopt an old cliché, the left arm and the right arm of Government seemingly at odds. This wouldn’t be so bad if the situation hadn’t now been dragging on for several months. It’s incredibly frustrating.
“Fleets are receiving all kinds of conflicting advice – not just from OZEV and the DVSA but manufacturers, dealers, leasing companies and others – with no resolution in sight. Instead, they’re understandably throwing their hands up in the air and we hear of many operators simply cancelling orders.”
Paul said that the AFP was now stepping up its lobbying of OZEV, the DVSA and the DFT to bring their interpretations into line with the original intention that 4.25 tonne vans can be operated exactly like their 3.5 tonne equivalents – and was asking individual fleet operators do the same.
“We’re urging as many people within the fleet industry to make their feelings known as soon as possible. It really does seem that at a point in time when we should be seeing the Government help to enable large scale adoption of electric vans for major operators, they’re allowing a small muddle to fester into a minor crisis. We first highlighted this issue in May and little or no progress seems to have been made. It needs to be resolved now.”
He added that the issue was adding to a general sense among some fleets that operating electric vans was simply not worth the hassle in the short-medium term.
“As the AFP has detailed in recent months, electric van adoption is generally proving much more difficult for many fleets than electric cars. This is especially true given concerns over range and payload, while unnecessary problems such as these 4.25 tonne issues create additional hurdles that are proving frustratingly difficult to sort out.”
The government’s extension of the electric vehicle (EV) production deadline to 2035 will “change little” for car fleets but probably acknowledges a reality for van operators, says the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP).
Chair Paul Hollick explained that the overwhelming reaction from the organisation’s members had been that the delay was a nakedly political move and that the core facts of the change were likely to have a limited impact on real world fleet strategies.
He said: “There is a sense of what you might characterise as annoyance surrounding this. Businesses have put in huge amounts of work on electrification and spent substantial sums. The fact that the deadline can then be moved in what appears to be a fairly arbitrary manner doesn’t endear the government to fleets.
“Also, it should be acknowledged that many, many of our members take net zero very seriously at a corporate level and believe that we should be electrifying as quickly as possible, despite some of the obstacles that remain. There is a sense that the government doesn’t necessarily share that priority.”
However, he said, the general consensus was that car fleet strategies would remain largely untouched, while many van operators had already held strong doubts that the 2030 deadline could be met and the move to 2035 simply acted as an official acknowledgment.
“When it comes to cars, benefit-in-kind taxation hugely favouring EVs and the Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate remain in place and there are apparently no plans to change them. This means fleets will continue to electrify their car fleets at a rapid pace and the government’s decision will change little.
“Within a few years and well before 2035, it may be quite difficult to buy a new non-electric vehicle anyway. The fact is that the UK forms a small part of the global car market and the decision to delay electrification here is not going to noticeably impact on manufacturer plans to end internal combustion engine production.
“The picture could be different for vans, though, we believe. It has become clear to many of our members over the last year or more that electrifying their light commercial vehicle fleets by the end of the decade was going to be a big ask. Neither the vehicle designs nor the charging infrastructure appear to be ready to meet the needs of all fleets, and there was a growing sense, at least among some, that this would have to be acknowledged sooner or later by the government.”
Paul added that despite this, many AFP members would no doubt keep their plans for 2030 van electrification in place as part of their net zero strategies.
“We have operators who are deeply committed to this target or even sooner at a corporate level and none of them have so far indicated any change plus, of course, the Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate applies here, too. However, we expect that some businesses will now attempt to slow van electrification, with plug-in hybrids perhaps acting as a medium term stepping stone.”
A new project from the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) is aiming to create the “definitive picture” when it comes to comparing electric vehicle (EV) service, maintenance and repair (SMR) costs to their internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents.
Paul Hollick chair at the AFP, said that much of the current data and information surrounding the subject was incomplete, inconsistent or contradictory – and that the objective was to cut through the noise to provide something as close as possible to a conclusive guide.
“There’s been an assumption ever since EVs started appearing on fleets that their SMR would be substantially cheaper than petrol and diesel cars and vans because there are fewer moving and wear parts. However, real world data has until recently been in short supply because comparatively few fleets have been operating EVs for any length of time.
“Various sources have been issuing what you might call work-in-progress SMR data over the last year or more, providing a snapshot picture of their experiences with EVs but it has been difficult to build a consistent picture. Some are reporting that SMR profiles are cheaper than ICE vehicles, as expected, but others have seen a more complex picture across different models and types of vehicle, especially when it comes to the wear and prices of EV tyres.
“This is problematic for fleets because it means that they don’t really have access to information that can show whether what they are spending on EV SMR is broadly consistent with what is being seen across the rest of the fleet sector. They have no way of knowing whether their managerial performance is good, bad or indifferent, and therefore no credible route to benchmarking or developing best practice.
“Many businesses are keen to tackle these issues in order to decide whether to bring their EV SMR in-house, something that many of our members appear to be currently considering.”
Paul said that now also seemed a good time to look at this situation because a comparatively large amount of SMR EV data was starting to become available.
“There are now quite a lot of fleets that now have two, three and even four-year-old electric cars, so we are close to having complete life cycles on which to base our research, showing how EVs stand up to wear and tear over a period of time, and how this impacts on the amount of SMR they need.
“We’re not really in that situation with electric vans yet – even the most experienced fleets don’t tend to have many that are much more than a year old – but we’re going to aim to provide as much information as we can in that area.
“We’ve appointed an independent consultant to lead the research as soon as possible and produce initial results by the end of September. This is a fleet subject where it seems to us that some kind of definitive picture is very much needed, and the AFP is well positioned to meet that requirement.”
Two new deputy chairs have been appointed by the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP).
Lorna McAtear and Matt Hammond have replaced the outgoing deputy chair, Stewart Lightbody.
Lorna is a winner of the Barbara Cox Award, Greenfleet’s Outstanding Achievement Award for her services to the industry and Head of Fleet at National Grid. She holds an international CPC, is a regular and respected contributor at industry conferences and round tables, an AFP board member and a judge for the Fleet News Awards.
Also an AFP board member, Matt is current Fleet News Fleet Manager of the Year, and a national and international CPC holder with over 12 years of experience in transport and fleet management. He is a winner of the Fleet News Safe Fleet Award, as well as Road Risk Manager of the Year at the Brake Fleet Awards, and Fleet Manager of the Year at both the What Van and Business Car Awards.
AFP chair Paul Hollick said: “Lorna and Matt are extremely well known and respected across the fleet sector with a huge amount of expertise. We are sure they will prove important assets to our organisation in their new deputy chair roles.”
He added that the move to two deputy chairs had been made in recognition of the diversity of knowledge and skills that the position demanded.
“In the three years since it was created, the AFP has grown rapidly, with a large number of events, projects, committees and training courses all underway. The deputy chair role is important to making sure that all of these commitments are fulfilled so it was decided that the role should be shared by two people, who are after all, volunteers.
“Stewart has done an excellent job over the last few years and we’d like to express our thanks to him for bringing great expertise and panache to the position. He remains a member of our board and a key part of the AFP.”