BMW 3 Series PHEV charging.

BMW 3 Series PHEV charging.


The chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP), a UK-based organisation representing the interests of fleet managers, believes fleets should skip plug-in hybrid models on fleet policies. Instead they should concentrate on pure electric models.

Paul Hollick, chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals, warning on fleet use of PHEVs.

Paul Hollick, chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals, warning on fleet use of PHEVs.

Association of Fleet Professionals

Speaking exclusively to Global Fleet Management, chair Paul Hollick explained that while PHEVs were decent vehicles if they were used extensively on the electric cycle - by as much as 65% - but otherwise he said, “you’re carrying around a heavy lump of battery that’s adding to fuel consumption and costing much more to run than predicted.”

Hollick continued:

“At the AFP many fleet managers who have put PHEVs on fleet have found that they were costing them more in terms of fuel and charging because they were using OEM figures - which suggest very impressive consumption based on WLTP testing.

“And that's the issue.

“The problem with PHEVs is that it very much depends on the usage model as to what the vehicle achieves in reality. We’ve seen a few fleets that have handed back PHEVs to go fully electric instead.”

Hollick added that it was also important for fleet managers to ensure that PHEVs were being fully charged as often as possible through the use of Approved Electric Mileage rates for the vehicle’s official electric mileage range, rather than using the higher fuel reimbursement rate. These are rates that fleet drivers can charge per mile without incurring any personal tax liability.

“For example, if a driver covered 100 miles on business, in say a BMW 330e with a 37-mile electric range, then the first 37 miles of that journey would be reimbursed at the Approved Electric Mileage rate of 5p per mile, while the rest of the journey would be reimbursed at the higher rate for petrol cars, which is currently 15p for a petrol engine of that size.

“We’ve seen many fleet managers now swapping from just paying a standard fuel rate to reimbursing with the electric rate for the first 30 miles to encourage proper use of the battery.”

Hollick’s warning comes as the popularity of PHEVs is possibly plateauing.

According to market analyst Matthias Schmidt, reporting in the October issue of the European Electric Car Outlook, PHEVs grew by just 3% year-on-year, while Germany witnessed the first fall in its PHEV market for 26 months.

In comparison, the pure electric market continued to grow with volumes rising by 43% year-on-year, in a total passenger car market decreased by 30%.

Schmidt added:

“It will be crucial to monitor if this PHEV impact is solely the result of the semiconductor crisis, or if it’s the result of an underlying trend that’s seeing a shift away from PHEVs towards BEVs.”

Hollick was far more bullish on the issue, however, adding,

“Everyone’s into battery electric vehicles at the moment driven by the tax advantages. In the main, fleets have a good steer on the data and are managing that data to reduce costs. They are actively telling their drivers to go full electric. The only difficulty at the moment is over supply.”