Three steps to sustainability for the emergency services

Tammy Carter, Head of Category – Fleet, Crown Commercial Service, outlines the three steps that organisations looking to shift to sustainable fleet solutions need to consider.

One positive effect of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has been the beneficial impact less travel has had on air quality. With people realising the benefits of this, there has been an increased interest in sustainable transport solutions.

This interest is likely to accelerate a change that was already taking place – and is underpinned by a variety of Government initiatives – from the conventional internal combustion engine to alternatively fueled vehicles, such as electric.

Recognising the ever-intensifying focus on sustainability, the move to electric vehicles is now gaining significant momentum across operational fleets. Organisations are already transitioning to alternatively fuelled vehicles, with many others about to embark on the journey.

Indeed, at Crown Commercial Service, we have seen this reflected in the vehicles purchased via our commercial agreements. During the first nine months of this financial year, 28% of the vehicles procured have been electric and 13% hybrid – a substantial increase on last year’s figures where electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for only 15%.

Step 1 – know your data

First, you need a clear understanding of how your fleet is currently used, to identify those vehicles that are best suited to begin the transition to ultra-low.

Vehicle telematics and fleet management data are invaluable sources of information. To plan your transition, you need information on journey types, frequency, and mileage, as well as the service, maintenance, and repair impact on vehicles.

You also need to understand driver behaviour – as this impacts fuel consumption and emissions – and consider the high-performance requirements necessary for blue light vehicles.

Analysis of vehicle utilisation will ensure usage is optimised and vehicle down-time is kept to a minimum. It will also help to identify the optimum fleet size and profile that will be required to meet operational needs in the future.

Step 2 – understand demand and scope solutions

To obtain buy-in and support for your electrification plans, you need early and meaningful stakeholder engagement. This includes employees, but also internal sustainability, finance, estates, and HR teams too.

If work-based charging is a requirement, then it is critically important to plan your vehicle charging infrastructure early and before placing any orders for new electric vehicles. Home-based charging can be relatively easy to implement and can even form part of the vehicle lease contracts.

However, work-based charging can be more challenging and costly. Explore options such as using public charging infrastructure or implementing revenue-generating charge infrastructure.

At CCS, we have all your charging requirements covered via our Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Solutions Dynamic Purchasing System that, recognising the growing supply market, enables new suppliers to join at any time.

Through our agreement, we give customers access to the many different contractual and operating models in what is a fast-developing market. This may be, for example, an end-to-end solution, from initial consultancy and feasibility to the installation of charge points together with the back-end solutions to support and manage.

We can also support you by going that step further and offering sustainable energy supply solutions.

Step 3 – make the change

Now to set your strategy and begin to power your fleet sustainably.

New vehicle models and technologies are being introduced at a rapid pace, so don’t assume you won’t need to revisit your strategy periodically. At CCS, we share regular updates to help keep you up-to-date.

Our Fleet Portal is a great tool that can help you identify all the latest vehicles available in the market. It provides access to all vehicles available in the UK and, by using the filtering systems, it’s easy to identify those vehicles that meet your criteria. The competitive quoting functionality ensures value for money and visibility of whole life costs when comparing different vehicles.

Next steps

Wherever you are on the journey, every step you take moves you closer to reducing your organisation’s carbon footprint.

Need help with your next step? CCS is able to help organisations like yours with every aspect of the shift to sustainability.