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RDE2 may not be enough to save diesel, Arval suggests

Date: 30 July 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

The future of diesel cars on fleets remains unclear despite the advent of new technology that is making them more environmentally friendly, according to leasing company Arval.

Manufacturers are increasingly launching diesel engines that comply with the new RDE2 emissions standard, which, as well as being more environmentally friendly, are exempt from the 4% BIK surcharge applied to diesel company cars. 

However, when as part of its 2019 Mobility Observatory survey Arval asked fleet managers how the availability of new diesels with equal NOx and fine particle emissions to petrol models would affect their fleet, there was a wide range of responses.

While 44% said they would continue to buy diesel cars, and 5% said they would increase their share, 29% said they would continue to reduce the number of diesels they operated and 7% that they would persist with their current policy of not buying diesels at all.

Head of the Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK Shaun Sadlier said: "RDE2 diesels are starting to become available and some of them are comparable with petrol on NOx emissions while also offering better CO2 output and fuel economy.

"However, it appears that diesel has become so inherently unpopular as the result of recent emissions controversies that there will be no large scale resurgence in its popularity, despite this development. 

"Against this backdrop, it is important to note that around half of fleets are planning to continue to operate diesel cars, recognising their suitability in certain situations." 

Managers were also asked how diesel vehicles would be replaced, with 22% saying they would go for alternative fuels and just 4% for petrol cars, which Sadlier said was noteworthy.

He said: "Roughly six times as many fleets will be replacing their diesels with hybrids or electric vehicles as with petrol, and this should give a strong push to alternative fuel adoption over the next few years. Certainly, we see many fleets swapping their diesels for hybrids. 

"Our position is very much that the fleet of the future will use a diverse range of fuels, with the emphasis being placed on matching the needs of the driver to the right vehicle, and we are doing a lot of work in helping fleets start to make these decisions."