Sustainability and carbon reduction has become the number one business priority for almost half of UK commercial fleets (45%), according to new research from Bridgestone and Webfleet Solutions.
In a survey, the need to decarbonise was cited as a more important task than digitising fleet processes, driver safety and cost reduction.
Despite their net zero commitment, however, the study among 300 fleet decision-makers revealed they believe it will be more than eight years before their fleets are fully carbon neutral – 7.5 years for HGV operators and 8.7 years for van fleets.
“These findings embody the generation-defining zeitgeist of climate change, with the road transport industry at the very epicentre of our collective efforts to secure a more sustainable future,” said Andrea Manenti, vice president North Region at Bridgestone EMIA.
He added: “Strategic action is being spurred not only by regulation, but by increasing recognition that the cost of buying, operating and maintaining EVs – their total cost of ownership (TCO) – is now typically lower than for fossil-fuelled equivalents.”
Alongside the business impetus to decarbonise, decision-makers harbour strong personal motivations, with 61% wanting to protect their health, that of their family and the next generation.
To accelerate the transition, three in five (60%) have called for greater financial support and guidance from government.
“Decarbonising a vehicle fleet and making the electric transition can represent a significant change management undertaking,” said Beverley Wise, regional director UK and Ireland at Webfleet Solutions.
She added: “Ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) adoption is being incentivised with a range of measures, including a two-year extension to the plug-in van and truck grants announced in the Spring Budget – but operators clearly feel more must be done.
“As government seeks to meet this challenge, the ecosystems of advice, shared knowledge and guidance – from support and consultancy groups to online resources, dedicated forums and events – will continue to grow.”