By Steffen Müller, Peter Johnstone, Richard Irivne-Brown
A roundup of the week’s fleet news from Europe and the UK including Arval’s mobile plans, multi-brand leasing, the largest EV fleet in the world, Swansea Council’s EV deal, LeasePlan’s frustration and Vauxhall’s BiK calculator.
Mobile leasing from Arval France
BNP Paribas fleet subsidiary Arval and the French operation of mobile phone company Orange have launched an offer combining car leasing and mobile communication.
Under the name Bureau Nomade, the Nissan Qashqai will be available in a joint lease with a tablet device with several data options available.
Talking of the economic advantage for such a tie-in, Jean-Loup Savigny, director general for SME Solutions at Arval, described the offer as an "innovative solution for professionals to optimise their work flow and cost-benefit ratio".
Multi-brand Arval subsidiary partnership
Meanwhile, UCAR, France’s leading low-cost car hire company, has announced its collaboration with Louveo, the subsidiary of Arval France, to offer car leasing options for multiple brands from the start of 2013.
Jean-Claude Puerto-Salavert, chief executive of UCAR, said the knowledge and experience of the financial issues of the leasing business available at Louveo meant UCAR was now "ready to penetrate the companies market."
Louveo director general Philippe Botton said: "UCAR is the ideal partner to put our solutions on the market."
Germany’s largest electric fleet now rolling in Stuttgart
Car2Go, a subsidiary of Daimler AG and the world’s second largest car-sharing network, has launched a fleet of 300 electric Smart-brand cars available for hire in Stuttgart.
Stuttgart, Daimler’s hometown, becomes the third city to have a purely electric Car2Go fleet, after San Diego and Amsterdam.
Car2Go, which also operates in Europe and North America, is planning to add another 200 Smart EVs during the next 12 months to its Stuttgart fleet, making it the company’s largest electric fleet worldwide. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said the launch underlined Daimler’s leadership in innovative technology as it sought to convince people of the everyday life suitability of electric drives.
Car2Go started in 2008 in Ulm, Germany and is operates a 6,000 mostly petrol-powered car fleet in Europe and North America.
German brands top Fleet Alliance’s green table
German brands have dominated a table of low-emission models supplied by Fleet Alliance, the fleet management and leasing company.
In the top ten, ranked by average carbon emissions, the Volkswagen Golf was top with 113g/km, followed by the Audi A3 with 114g/km and the Ford Focus with 115g/km.
There were seven German cars in the top ten, including the VW Passat, Audi A4, BMW 5-series and Mercedes C-class, plus the Octavia, produced by Czech brand koda for VW Group.
Propping up the top ten was the Ford Mondeo, which averages 130g/km, still lower than the 138.1g/km produced by the average new car in the UK last year. The whole-fleet average for Fleet Alliance was 125g/km, down from 130g/km over the same period last year.
The presence of the BMW and Mercedes showed that even prestige manufacturers were reducing carbon emissions.
Martin Brown, Fleet Alliance managing director, said: "Our clients have been clearly heeding our advice to switch to green alternatives for their new vehicles in the light of current and forthcoming tax legislation. And they are seeing the more immediate benefits of reduced tax and fuel costs now."
Automotive Leasing EV Council deal
Public sector fleet provider Automotive Leasing, in conjunction with the Marshall Motor Group, has delivered nine Peugeot iOn cars to Swansea Council’s Corporate Building and Property Services and Highways Departments.
The Council hopes use of the electric vehicles will cut its fleet emissions by 1.4% while reducing fuel expenditure.
Councillor Sybil Crouch, cabinet member for sustainability, said the Council should set "an example" in environmental terms and in saving money "in these challenging economic times", and was investigating the replacement of its van fleet with electric models.
LeasePlan seconds BCC ‘frustration’
David Brennan, managing director of the UK arm of European fleet lessor LeasePlan, has agreed with the latest transport report from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), saying the postponing of eight out of the thirteen core infrastructure schemes in the UK was "immensely frustrating".
The BCC report has said too many transport projects are behind schedule and lack the requisite government backing, thus jeopardising UK competitiveness.
Brennan said the report highlighted "the important link between transport investment and economic growth. Failing to keep our roads moving may jeopardise billions of pounds in lost business earnings.
"The government must recognise that investment in the UK’s road network is imperative to boost our country’s fragile economic output."
OK, BiK computer
Vauxhall has claimed the update to its online Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) and running-cost calculator has made it the "most advanced and accurate" available to business car users.
The three-step process offered by the brand’s calculator takes in income and employment information, fuel costs and consumption, car delivery dates, tax allocation, local road tolls, CO2, BiK taxation, before computing likely future fuel costs, monthly BiK budgets, and running costs for all selected models.
Despite Duncan Aldred, chairman of Vauxhall, recently saying the marque would not chase fleet to match Ford sales in the UK, a company statement said the calculator was "part of the strategy to put company car drivers at the core of its marketing".