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Cost pressures delay fleets’ net zero ambitions, research reveals

Cost pressures are delaying fleet adoption of electric vehicles, research from mobility specialists Bridgestone and Webfleet has found.

The study, conducted among 210 fleet decision-makers, discovered that more than three-quarters (76%) are postponing their fleet electrification plans. 

A further 78 per cent said cost pressures were delaying plans for fleet technology adoption.

“Cutting capital spend is the go-to survival strategy for many businesses as rising costs hit their bottom lines,” said Andrea Manenti, Vice President North Region, Bridgestone EMIA.

“But when it comes to fleet decarbonisation and digital transformation, it is a case of kicking the proverbial can down the road. What’s more, by deferring expenditure and adopting a short-term approach to cost-control in these areas longer-term profitability risks being compromised.

“With careful planning and management insights, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of electric vehicles – the cost of procuring, operating and maintaining them – can be lower than for their fossil-fuelled equivalents, resulting in savings over the fleet lifecycle. 

“Similarly, the cost of fleet tech investments can be rapidly offset by higher productivity, or by savings on everything from fuel and maintenance to insurance and administration.”

Fleets acknowledge the dangers of falling foul of short-termism, with more than three-quarters (78%) admitting that pressures to cut costs this year will negatively impact their longer-term cost-reduction strategies.

Cost cutting measures include fleet downsizing, cited by almost a third (32%) of those businesses surveyed, while almost two-thirds (61%) anticipate having to layoff fleet-related staff over the coming months.

A high proportion of fleets (72%) are also looking to extend their vehicle replacement cycles.

“With the business squeeze continuing to stretch resources, digital systems that harness fleet insights to deliver efficiency and productivity gains can prove invaluable,” added Beverley Wise, Webfleet Regional Director for Bridgestone Mobility Solutions.

“For fleets that have yet to deploy the latest, advanced fleet management solutions, now may be the time to do so. The return-on-investment opportunities – alongside significant sustainability benefits – are far reaching, offering a precious route to greater business resilience when it is needed most.”

Webfleet’s Cost of Business study is in line with the Bridgestone E8 commitment and its eight values – Energy, Ecology, Efficiency, Extension, Economy, Emotion, Ease and Empowerment – underpin the company’s sustainable mobility vision.

The report aligns with ‘Extension – Committed to nonstop mobility and innovation that keeps people and the world moving ahead’.

The full cost of business squeeze research report can be read here.

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