Our CEO Richard Schooling has pulled together his thoughts on what to expect in 2016.

posted on December 21, 2015

Air Quality

* With air quality at the top of the agenda for 2016, it’s vital that sustainable solutions are implemented.
* Electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrid, battery electric and range extender solutions are key to making this happen.
* Although the primary purpose is to enhance air quality, a secondary benefit of incorporating EV’s into a business fleet is, of course, the reduction in carbon and cost expenditure.
* With new plug-in grants coming into effect in February and £600million committed in the budget to improving air quality – sustainable mobility solutions are one to watch for 2016 and beyond.
* We expect corporates and SMEs to become even more serious about efficient driving next year – certainly an evolving trend to watch out for, such as car sharing and electric vehicles.

Productivity

* For the past decade, productivity has remained a key business challenge for the UK economy. This is only set to continue in 2016 and beyond, making the need for simple solutions crucial for businesses.
* One way is investment in infrastructure – one of the key announcements in the Autumn Statement.
* But another major factor impacting employee productivity is surprisingly congestion.
* With the connected workforce becoming increasingly mobile, the UK needs to be finding more effective means of mobility to address the productivity challenge.
* Car and ride sharing could form part of the overall solution. As a trend expected to grow in 2016, corporate car sharing solutions can be extremely effective in not only reducing emissions but also cutting down congestion on the UK’s roads.
* Our AlphaCity solution has already achieved enough miles in corporate car sharing in 2015 to go around the world 18 times.

Autonomous technology vehicles

* Vehicles with autonomous technology have already started to hit the roads, with autonomous pilots running throughout the UK and some manufacturers even incorporating autonomous braking as a start to this stage of digital evolution.
* But with a clear impact on safety and regulatory requirements, the leasing market needs to ensure they are taking responsibility and educating themselves about exactly what is required in a Duty of Care sense, when working with a more autonomous fleet.
* For the first time in 20 years, accidents on the road have increased this year and we have seen the first prosecution related to Duty of Care, under the Corporate Manslaughter Act.
* Safety is indeed an important factor for drivers and corporates. In fact, for fleet customers over a third (36 per cent) currently class it as the most important, with this figure expected to rise to just under half (45 per cent) in 2020 (BVRLA report)

Regulatory and compliance

* Drivers are becoming more vulnerable on the UK’s roads, an issue that is only set to become more complex. As a result, businesses and their business travel provider need to ensure they are adhering to the most current regulations and maintaining compliance
* This is not only in terms of safety, but also of the regulations associated with: rental, rental brokering, leasing and fleet management, lease brokering and commercial vehicles.
* The BVRLA is set to launch its new codes of conduct on 1st January 2016. This code by which members conduct their business, whether that is in vehicle rental, leasing or fleet management for passenger and commercial vehicles, sets out the general principles of operation. It will be interesting to see the developments from its current form.
* Along with this, it is vital that businesses adhere to the stipulations made for regulatory and compliance by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Data and Mobility

* The ‘connected car’ has become the norm amongst many corporate fleets, with telematics increasingly used to monitor and reward positive driver behaviour; a trend we expect to grow moving into 2016.
* With this comes the vast increase in the amount of data being produced. It is important its value is recognised and utilised to its maximum potential.
* Such great insight into this data can certainly lead to more informed decisions moving forward and could not only shape better driver behaviour but also fleet management as a whole.
* With this information overload, the need for storing and securing data properly is vital to keeping customer, driver and organisational data safe from the emerging threat of cyber-crime.

Customer experience

* As the world of business travel is changing from the traditional fleet, both the provider and the broker community need to ensure the customer is being approached correctly, and in accordance with the regulations of the Financial Conduct Authority.
o There will be a shift in focus from cars and drivers to overall business travel and mobility users, with more emphasis on individual mobility, extending vehicles to the non-company car eligible populations – a wider mobility approach rather than a narrow interpretation.
o We expect further growth of employee car ownership schemes. With fleets moving away from traditional contract hire cars, to include a much broader mobility population.
* Corporates will be looking for more dynamic thinking, considering business travel as a whole rather than just a company car – this momentum of the personalised approach is set to grow.

* The SME market has seen tremendous growth this year, which is expected to continue in cars and vehicles moving forward. The UK economy is changing – corporates are generally staying the same size or are downsizing, so the growth in economy is set to come from SMEs.

* Progressing along with the world of business travel and customer expectations is going to be key to success, making sure the customer or mobility users’ experience is closer to a retail experience, focused on self-service and supporting applications to appeal to the mobile workforce.

* After all, business mobility is more than just a company car and so focusing on the whole experience from the very beginning is crucial.

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