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Alphabet predicts continued role for diesel despite electric revolution

Date: 22 December 2017   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Drivers can expect an ever-wider choice of electric and hybrid vehicles in 2018, but shouldn't totally discount diesel just yet.

That's according to business mobility specialist Alphabet, which has identified the road to zero emissions as a key trend it feels will affect the industry in the New Year.

Discussing the move towards electric power, Alphabet product manager David Bushnell said: "For electric and hybrid vehicles, 2018 will be another year of wider choice - in terms of manufacturers, body styles and different vehicle segments; reducing costs for the technology and longer-ranged vehicles.

"We expect to see close to 200 electric vehicles and ultra-low emission vehicles available in the UK market next year, with the most advanced plug-ins able to travel over 200 miles on a single charge.

"I don't think anyone is in any doubt that we are heading for an ultra-low or zero-emission future. We're eagerly awaiting early next year the government's 'Road to Zero' strategy, which will provide more details on how we will achieve the 2040 date (or 2032 in Scotland) signalled last summer for an end to sales of internal combustion engine vehicles.

"Business users and company car drivers have played and will continue to play a vital role in the take-up of hybrids and battery electric vehicles.

"A large part of our role will again be helping businesses and their employees really understand the benefits and the practical steps needed to adopt them."

While the future according to Alphabet is very much electric, that doesn't mean diesel vehicles don't still have a role to play.

Alphabet's head of pricing and planning Clive Buhagiar said: "The diesel obituaries published in 2017 turned out to be vastly premature, but there is change in the air and public uncertainty driven by media hyperbole.

"However, HMRC's own assessment of the impact of the 1% Budget increase to the diesel BIK supplement assumed that around two-thirds of new fleet cars will still be diesels going forward from 2020.

"While the long-term trend is solidly towards ultra-low emission vehicles and a zero-emission future, diesel will definitely remain in the mix in 2018.

"Diesel still has an indisputable advantage over other fuel types, in terms of overall costs and longevity, especially for larger, heavier vehicles and higher business mileages. There's still every reason for companies to choose diesel for their 'workhorse' car and LCV roles.

"Where the market is seeing change is around smaller vehicles, lower business mileages and occasional business users. Here, the rapid proliferation of drivetrains offers fleet operators and their employees more choice than ever before."