More than half, 56%, of UK vehicle fleets operate at least one alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) or plan to do so in the next three years, according to fleet provider Arval.
In its ‘Corporate Vehicle Observatory Barometer’ for 2017, Arval found that the prevalence and acceptance of AFVs among fleets had risen by 6% since 2015.
Traditional hybrid vehicles were found to be the most popular, with 22% of respondents operating at least one of this type of vehicle, and 27% planning to introduce traditional hybrids to their fleet within three years.
The survey of 3,847 fleets discovered that 15% owned plug-in hybrids, and 22% planned to introduce them. Arval found that 10% operated electric vehicles and 22% intended to add some to their fleets. Just 2% operated hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, but 18% planned to add hydrogen vehicles to their fleet.
The findings come as diesel continues its decline in popularity. In June, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) called on the UK government to create incentives to encourage the uptake of AFVs among fleets.
Shaun Sadlier, head of Arval’s corporate vehicle observatory in the UK, said the dominance of diesel and petrol vehicles was being challenged.
He said: “We are seeing both a push and pull effect in action. On one hand, plug—in hybrids and pure electric vehicles have become much more useable, well-priced and appealing products in recent years while, on the other, we have seen pressure on diesel because of concerns on air quality.”
Large fleets carrying more than 50 vehicles were the most supportive of AFVs, with 78% using or planning to use such vehicles. The adoption of AFVs declines the lower the fleet size, dropping to 66% of medium fleets of 10-49 vehicles, and 44% of smaller fleets with 1-9 vehicles.
Sadlier said the fleet industry must better educate fleet operators on the advantages of AFVs. He added: “Otherwise, there is a big possibility that smaller businesses cold miss out on the benefits that they bring”.