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REMARKETING: Alternative fuels make inroads, but many fleets still sceptical

Date: 25 June 2013

Alternative-fuel vehicles are making their way onto the used market in ever-greater numbers. But how are they really being received and can fleets rely on them for a solid return? Jack Carfrae reports.
The Lexus RX450h - strong residual values for hybrids such as this are being carried from the new car arena all the way through to the auction hall

We all know the eco-friendly phenomenon is here to stay and that transport is at the very top of that agenda. There's plenty going on at the development end of the scale and any manufacturer with a vested interest in the corporate sector is pushing its environmentally friendly offerings. Hybrids are now established in the marketplace and electric vehicles and range extenders are rapidly following suit. 

The used car market habitually works at a slower pace with such technologies, though, and it requires mass adoption and then defleeting in significant numbers before it's possible to assess the state of the alternative-fuel second-hand market.

Standard issue hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight are the most established and widely adopted of the crowd, but according to BCA's operations director, Simon Henstock, prices are in fact less stable than those of their diesel equivalents: "Petrol-electric hybrids are generally the most readily available green cars in the used market. Even so, numbers are still very low compared to petrol or diesel.   

"Remarketing parameters are similar to diesel in terms of age and mileage, but price performance is prone to more erratic peaks and troughs than both petrol and diesel models. This is typical of low-volume sectors, where model mix will have an effect."