Conferences can be really good thought provokers – that is part of their remit. (They can also give rise to those tricky eye-closing moments at times, too – but I’m sure we’ve all been there!)
But overall, with their networking opportunities, I find conferences really useful.
Like this fact: by 2020, the end of this decade, the EU mandate for average new car CO2 emissions is just 95g/km. 95g/km! As an average. And that’s, what? Seven years away…
What does 95g/km look like? A Fiat 500 Twin Air is one example. But with an average that will not exceed 95g/km that means a BMW 5 Series will have to hit 95g/km; likewise an Audi Q5 SUV or Porsche Boxster sports car.
Is this impossible? Well, it’s certainly a big ask.
Car makers are responding every day with lower emission vehicles. Honda has just launched its 1.6 diesel engine for the Civic. This has 94g/km CO2 so it’s below the threshold.
Skoda has just announced its new Octavia model will have a diesel at 83g/km. Again below the threshold. But diesel won’t be the only answer.
I was reading a report on forecasts for the European leasing market, and one of the key findings was the growth of hybrid cars in the fleet market: by 2018 13% of the cars customers will be leasing from us will be a hybrid – such as a Toyota Prius.
Actually, the Prius isn’t such a good example because that’s a model in its own right (although the trailblazer for hybrids in the UK, admittedly).
The new Toyota Auris presents a more realistic flavour of what we can expect from car manufacturers in the future: there’s a petrol option; a diesel option; and a hybrid option. And which model has the lowest CO2 of the lot? Not the diesel (99g/km) but the hybrid (87g/km).
And with the 3% surcharge placed on benefit in kind company car tax staying in place until April 2016, the Auris Hybrid makes a very strong consideration for your fleet.
Increasingly, I think, fleets will need to consider hybrids as part of their company car strategy.
If car makers are going to hit that 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre target, we’ll see more and more hybrids and plug-in hybrids, too, that offer both electric and petrol-electric power.
Given that the London Assembly has just reported that up to 9% of deaths in London are the result of air pollution, the winners of such a policy towards lower CO2 emissions will not only be fleets with lower running costs but the environment around us, too.
Cleaner air. Now that will be a big win.