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ZEV Mandate, new manufacturers, insurance costs and skills shortgaes are key industry issues, AFP conference told

The Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate, new manufacturer entrants, controlling insurance costs and skills shortages are the big issues facing fleets over the next 12 months, this year’s annual conference of the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) heard on the 15th May 2024.

Paul Hollick, chair of the AFP, told the 230 delegates that these were the key matters occupying fleet managers and the subject of most of the debate within the organisation.

“The ZEV Mandate is already affecting which vehicles fleets are buying with many manufacturers being told that they need to take a certain percentage of electric vehicles (EVs) as part of any order. This has an obvious impact on the cars and vans that fleets are choosing to operate.

“New manufacturers are already beginning to make their presence felt and starting to make their way onto choice lists. While there are questions that are being asked about the risk of taking on their cars and vans, there are also advantages in terms of factors like price and availability. Fleet managers need to balance the pros and cons.

“Insurance premiums for some fleets have gone up substantially and much effort is going into attempting to bring them under control, which for most will mean improved risk management. The problem is that improvements in risk performance often require investment but tend to bring premiums down in the medium term rather than straightaway.

“Finally, we are in a situation where the fleet sector is about to lose a lot of expertise as a generation of managers look to retire during the next few years. That means we are concentrating heavily in areas such as training and mentoring to ensure that as much of their knowledge as possible remains accessible.”

Paul said the AFP had enjoyed a successful year that had seen membership increase by 15.4% to more than 1,500 individuals and businesses. The organisation had been concentrating its efforts in areas such as improved technology to enable members to share issues and expertise, a new web site that offered enhanced services, the creation of white papers in areas such as EV service, maintenance and repair, and the launch of the AFP Expo.

“The fleet sector is undergoing a period of rapid change and the AFP has become established not just as the voice of the industry but also as the single most important resource for fleet managers when it comes to accessing best practice, training and other valuable resources. Much has been achieved in the four years since the organisation was created.”

The annual conference – the AFP’s third since its launch in 2020 – took place at The British Motor Museum, Gaydon, and was sponsored by Enterprise Mobility. The day was built around four panel sessions entitled New Manufacturer Entrants for 2024-2026, Decarbonisation is Not Just EVs, There’s Never Been a Better Time to Manage Your Road Risk, and EV Charger Deployment – Everything You Need to Know but Don’t.

There was additionally a keynote speech from Abdul Chowdhury of the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles plus presentations on EV Deployment in Action from Stuart Murphy of Royal Mail and the Zero Emissions Van Plan from Catherine Bowen of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.

All delegates took part in an AFP Fleet Academy in Action training session entitled Engaging Drivers with Road Risk, and there was an awards ceremony for those who have achieved AFP Fleet Academy qualifications. Finally, representatives from headline sponsors Enterprise comprised a panel called In the Spotlight, including Andy Bland, Keith Neville, Oz Choudhri and Kate Cooper-Griffiths.

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