Zero emission government mandates met with scepticism in new survey

According to a survey released today by Teletrac Navman, less than half of respondents believe governments will follow through with planned zero emissions mandates.

Other findings from the telematics provider’s annual survey included:

  • Two-thirds of global fleets are currently operating PHEV, BEV or FCEV vehicles in their fleet. However, switching still presents challenges with emerging technologies, high vehicle cost and limited public charging points.
  • Fleets list their top three expenses as (1) Unstable fuel costs, (2) equipment/vehicle maintenance and (3) purchasing new equipment/vehicles.
  • Driver wellbeing and safety technology is the number one investment fleets are looking to make in 2024.

The 2024 Telematics Survey (TS24) aims to look into the industry’s latest trends and challenges, as well as the viewpoints of global operational leaders on topics including safety, AI adoption, alternative energy and 2024’s biggest obstacles for fleets. Taking data from more than 500 global fleet businesses, the annual report focuses on three key areas: Sustainability, Safety, and Efficiency.

Sustainability: Fleets still lack credible information sources as challenges remain 

With more than half of fleets (65 per cent) feeling environmental pressure to transition to alternative energy, many are operating a multi-energy fleet or are about to begin their transition while still experiencing a lack of awareness and readily available, trustworthy guidance.

“Fleets of all sizes and scales are already planning and navigating their transition, but we know there simply isn’t enough credible information out there to help simplify what is a complex move for any business. Alternative energy is still such a new concept for many fleet operators and the process of switching can feel overwhelming,” said Alain Samaha, global president and CEO of Teletrac Navman.

When seeking guidance on transitioning fleets to electric or alternative energy, a quarter of respondents (25 per cent) prefer advice from experts, and 15 per cent would opt for dedicated training courses.

While the switch to alternative energy keeps rising on fleet operators’ agendas, and a quarter of TS24 respondents (25 per cent) name tackling rising fuel costs as a key motivation, challenges still remain.

The frequency of emerging new technologies, high purchase cost of alternative energy vehicles and limited public charging points available have been identified as the top obstacles for businesses on their way to decarbonisation.

Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of respondents also state that ongoing cost pressures will likely delay their transition to EV or alternative energy vehicles. While they feel environmental pressures, 69 per cent of Australian fleet managers do not believe the government will go ahead with their planned ban on fossil fuels, compared to 56 per cent who do not believe the UK government will act and 46 per cent in the US who doubt the government will implement the ban.

Driver safety: Safety and wellbeing top business focus for 2024

Driver safety remains a top priority for fleets, with half of the businesses surveyed currently monitoring and measuring driver behaviour and 30 per cent of respondents planning on investing in driver wellbeing technology this year.

Over two thirds of TS24 respondents (73 per cent) have seen fewer accidents on the job since adopting telematics solutions, and 73 per cent are actively rewarding drivers for better performance.

TS24 also found 71 per cent of respondents have seen improved driver performance through driver rewards programmes.

Incentivising drivers has become crucial for retention, especially in the face of economic challenges such as the cost-of-living crisis. This data also aligns with the industry’s focus on driver well-being and a rising interest in recognition and rewards programmes to retain and support drivers.

More than half of the businesses surveyed (62 per cent) recognise the cost-of-living crisis’ impact on their drivers’ mental health, and Teletrac Navman has seen a 110 per cent increase year-on-year in driver appreciation activities, a 54 per cent increase in adopting reward programs, and a 52 per cent increase in the promotion to senior driver.

Rising fuel costs are considered in driver behaviour management as well, with a 33 per cent increase in businesses implementing new driver behaviour programmes in an effort to navigate rising fuel costs since last year.

“The past 12 months have come with their own set of challenges for fleets, and rising insurance and fuel costs have been a leading concern for operators globally,” said Samaha. “This in turn has led to an even higher emphasis on safety, prompting operators to prioritise safe processes and behaviour to manage costs effectively as well as look after staff wellbeing.”

Efficiency and streamlining

TS24 also found businesses are working towards keeping up with the latest technologies in order to achieve streamlined operations.

With the top costs for fleets listed as fuel, followed by equipment and vehicle maintenance and purchase, almost all TS24 respondents (96 per cent) say they have made measurable savings by implementing telematics, across admin time savings, fuel savings and overall cost savings.

According to the industry-wide survey, asset visibility, meeting compliance regulations and more efficient routing and dispatching are the top three benefits operators have seen since implementing telematics solutions.

Despite the widespread adoption of telematics solutions (98 per cent), less than half of businesses (43 per cent) feel they are using these tools to their full potential.

“Businesses are facing many different challenges now, with the ‘great resignation’ leading to the higher turnover of people and therefore the need for more frequent training and handovers. Furthermore, technological advancements may require deeper training, and the varying needs of different departments can result in underuse across the diverse features of platforms,” added Samaha.

While AI technology is beginning to grow in prevalence the market is increasingly recognising the possibilities of data-led and machine learning applications, with 47 per cent of TS24 respondents currently leveraging AI solutions.

“Businesses are slowly but surely embracing new technologies, and there is an anticipation of increased availability of advanced AI tech in the near future, enabling more sophisticated applications and vehicle and driver monitoring,” Samaha said.

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