Future car fleet management could soon develop into three relatively equal pillars – conventional fleet, grey fleet and salary sacrifice schemes – FleetCheck is forecasting.

The fleet software specialist says that its conversations with customers about the impact of EVs and the pandemic so far in 2021 are indicating a shift in emphasis of this kind.

Peter Golding, managing director, explained: “People are starting to believe that the end of the pandemic is in sight and we’re seeing a narrative emerge about how they see the future.

“There are some predictable elements. Everyone believes car fleets will cover fewer miles but that those miles will remain essential to businesses. Company cars are here to stay.

“Also, there is a feeling that public transport will not recover quickly from the effects of the pandemic. Those employees worried about infection who have moved into cars will not switch back quickly or even at all.

“Finally, the increased viability that electric vehicles (EVs) give to salary sacrifice schemes could lead to a massive increase in that sector, making it a newly substantial part of the overall fleet car parc.”

These changes, Peter said, could lead to car fleet operations becoming much more diverse than had normally been the case in the past.

“An interesting point to consider is that potentially more cars are going to be used on business than ever before, and that the roles of fleet managers could increase in importance. As fleet managers become mobility managers, car management will not remain static.

“Traditional company car management will remain in place although it will change radically in itself because of the arrival of EVs. However, it is likely to become less dominant as one of the three pillars that are emerging.

“Each of these pillars creates different challenges and needs, and the overall skill set required from fleet and mobility managers will grow as well as, from our point of view as a software provider, the demands on the supporting technology.

“It is arguable that in the next few years, professionals in our industry are going to have to develop their capabilities quite substantially for these reasons. It is a really interesting and potentially demanding time.”