Businesses need to adopt strict policies to match the right vehicles for the right purposes in order to give alternatively-fuelled vehicles a fair chance to successfully integrate into fleets.

That’s according to fleet management software company FleetCheck which claimed that so far AFV adoption has been “haphazard” and has meant that some fleets are wary of the technology.

It said some fleets have started to use plug-in hybrids at the request of drivers in order to minimise their tax bills only to find they do not work well over long distances as the electric power is barely used.

The firm also claimed it has seen instances of plug-ins being allocated to drivers without a driveway at home, meaning the vehicles could not be charged overnight.

Plug-in vehicles

“There is a general consensus across the industry that fleets of the near future will contain a mix of diesel, petrol, plug-in hybrid, conventional hybrid and electric vehicles. For these strategies to work, vehicles need to be matched to purpose in a strictly exact fashion, otherwise AFVs will not be given a fair chance on fleets and rates of adoption may suffer as a result,” said Peter Golding, the company’s managing director. “Even in quite small fleets, it seems to us, written policies will be needed to ensure that this happens in a way that works for fleets. These should include profiling the way in which the vehicle is likely to be used, the driver’s circumstances, fuelling and more. Of course, where choice lists exist, these profiles should be integrated in a way that is fair and easily understood by employees.”

He added: “Certainly, we have customers who are taking AFVs seriously but don’t want to make mistakes when it comes to adoption. They have been asking us about the best ways to start to integrate them into our fleet. This is a consultancy skill that is developing across the industry but one that needs to quite quickly mature in order for everyone to make the most of the advantages that AFVs provide while avoiding obvious issues.”