hydrogen vehicles

Hydrogen vehicles: a rival for EVs?

As we collectively tackle the climate crisis, there is a real need for our transportation to reach higher standards of sustainability. The electric car has been growing both in popularity and accessibility in the last decade, and June of 2022 saw a 14% year-on-year increase in EV registrations. But is there any other sustainable means of getting from A to B?

Hydrogen vehicles have been cause for heated discussion in recent years, with the developing technology opening up possibilities and qualms. In this blog, we’ll take a look at how hydrogen vehicles work, how much traction they are gaining, and in what areas.

How do hydrogen cars work?

Hydrogen vehicles produce electricity by powering a fuel cell with hydrogen. What this means is a chemical reaction fuels the vehicle: hydrogen moves from the tank into the fuel cell, where it mixes with oxygen, creating H2O and generating the electricity that powers the vehicle’s motor.

Refilling a hydrogen vehicle looks much the same as refilling a combustion engine vehicle. You would attach the refuelling pipe to the vehicle and wait for it to fill up, which happens in as little as a few minutes (for hydrogen cars) giving it an edge of convenience over EVs.

How many hydrogen vehicles are on the roads?

Using hydrogen as an energy carrier is not a new idea, but the use of fuel cells for vehicles is something that has seen an acceleration in recent years. Because hydrogen vehicles are still relatively new, there are only around 60,000 of them in motion today and of that number only 300 are on UK roads.

Why aren’t there more hydrogen vehicles?

Technology for hydrogen fuel cells has been developing slowly over the years, particularly in comparison to electric vehicle batteries. The immediate reason for this is that hydrogen vehicles are more complex than their electric ‘rivals’, relying not only on the development of more practical technology but also on the introduction of infrastructure to support their use.

Unfortunately, despite offering similar sustainable qualities as electric vehicles and more mileage too, hydrogen cars and vehicles are currently quite impractical for mass adoption. Some of the limitations that hydrogen vehicles suffer from currently include:

  • Hydrogen is highly flammable – improper handling could cause serious accidents.
  • High pressure handling – compressing the gas is difficult and increases the risk of accident if handled incorrectly.
  • Staying renewable is expensive – the more affordable ways of producing hydrogen currently rely on large quantities of fossil fuels.
  • They are costly to build – they are yet to be as accessibly priced as EVs are becoming.

Nonetheless, if more progress is made in the coming years, we may see the limitations of hydrogen cars lessen as more cost and energy efficient ways of producing the vehicles become available. As this happens, the introduction of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure will also help make hydrogen vehicles a more viable option.

Heavy duty hydrogen vehicles

Whilst the use of hydrogen fuel cells for cars and similar passenger vehicles is not yet practical, hydrogen has been making waves in other areas. Hydrogen power has a high potential for HGVs and long-haul vehicles as a sustainable alternative. HGVs currently account for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions putting them at high priority for vehicles that need sustainable alternatives. Unfortunately, EVs are yet to reach the range that’s needed by long-haul vehicles, with most only capable of around 200-300 miles maximum.

You can read more about heavy duty electric vehicles here.

JCB hydrogen engine

Whilst the use of hydrogen fuel cells for cars and similar passenger vehicles is not yet practical, hydrogen has been making waves in other areas. In the last few years, there have been a number of firsts for hydrogen powered plant machinery on construction sites. JCB announced the development of the first hydrogen powered excavator back in 2020 as part of their efforts to meet NetZero 2050.

Fuel Card Service EV Hub

Hydrogen shows real potential as an eco-conscious alternative to combustion engines for HGVs, but for most the move to EVs is a more accessible option. We are growing our EV hub, to offer a selection of EV charge cards, information on charge point locations, as well as a range of insights into the development of electric vehicles of all sizes.

If you’d like to learn more about the services and fuel cards we offer, get in touch with our team today.

Telematics helps insurance

The benefits of Telematics for insurance

Insurance can often feel like an uphill battle, but vehicle telematics are a tool growing in prevalence in the insurance world and for good reason.

In this blog we’ll look at what telematics is and how they can increase the safety of road users, offering increased peace of mind to insurers and a better premium for drivers.

What is telematics?

Telematics devices use GPS technology and on-board diagnostics (OBD) to plot the assets movement on a map and gather other valuable vehicle data such as:

  • Vehicle speed,
  • Journey distance/time
  • Harsh braking
  • Fuel consumption
  • Battery voltage and engine data
  • Vehicle faults

This is a more efficient means of monitoring the health of fleet vehicles so that potentially dangerous or expensive faults can be corrected before accidents occur, and also more effective monitoring of driver behaviours is possible.

The end goal of telematics devices is to identify issues that impact efficiency, safety, and spending. For delivery fleets, this can be a key cost-saving aspect of a fleet operation. That’s why in this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how telematics is impacted by insurance – whether you’re looking to gain access to cheaper insurance, or as an insurer you’re keen to understand the potential upside.

What is telematics insurance?

Telematics based insurance uses the data collected by telematics devices to make decisions about the risk levels of drivers. Performance indicators collected by telematics boxes will demonstrate to insurance companies any points of concern in a driver’s technique and can equally prove outstanding safe driving too.

These factors will help insurance companies to come up with a fair figure for the cost of insurance.

What are the benefits of using telematics for insurance?

Whilst some drivers might see telematics to be too heavy handed a surveillance tactic, it actually has a host of valuable benefits for fleet drivers, managers, and insurance companies.

Benefits for drivers

For drivers, telematics can take some of leg work off journey planning and maintaining their vehicles on the road. When it comes to telematics for the purpose of insurance, the benefits for fleet drivers might not seem so apparent but there are plenty.

Insurance telematics encourage a higher level of driver safety and caution making for safer roads in general. However, in the case of an accident or mishap, having data gathered on your journey can help provide clarity on the cause and nature of said incident.

A good track record on your telematics devices could also support your career growth, facilitating trust and career development too.

Benefits for fleet managers

There’s no shortage of telematics benefits for fleet managers; the wide range of data gathered can support prompt fixing of issues, encourage more efficient journeys and fuel consumption, and save money accordingly.

When it comes to telematics for insurance, the most obvious benefits for fleet managers centre on saving money through monitoring performance. Efficient and safe drivers can be identified and those who need to improve can equally be sought out.

All companies strive for a safe and efficient team, so those who have a collective of fleet drivers upholding that standard will benefit from reduced insurance premiums.

Benefits for insurers

The benefits of telematics insurance for insurers are simply that it gives them a better understanding of who they are insuring and what level of risk they pose. The data tracked by insurance telematics can paint a clearer picture of the driver being insured, with comprehensive info such as how fast they tend to drive and how harshly they break. These are all factors that paint a picture of how safely someone drives.

With this information, insurers can get an idea of what the chances are that a driver will get into some sort of accident or cause damage that requires insurance pay-outs and influence the decision about insurance premiums.

Telematics from Fuel Card Services

For fleet managers and insurers, Fuel Card Services offer a range of telematics trackers to suit a variety of different fleet vehicles. From asset trackers to hardwired and plug in trackers, our telematic devices work with Tele-Gence software.

Tele-Gence is designed to help you improve the safety of your fleet and save money by staying on top of maintenance, repairs, and fuel consumption. With an accessible user interface, Tele-Gence is flexible and fully customisable making it a great choice regardless of your business type.

If you think Tele-Gence telematics could be a good choice of your fleet, or you’re an insurer wanting to learn more about our telematics, get in touch with our team today.

Benefits of FORS

FORS: What is it and how does it benefit fleets?

Securing valuable accreditations that are well-regarded in the fleet industry is one way you can quickly ramp up the authority of your company’s fleet, and one of the most respected accreditations you can get your fleet set up with is the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS).

In this blog we’ll take you through the various levels of FORS accreditation you can achieve, as well as the benefits the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme has for both fleet drivers and managers.

What is FORS?

The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) aims to ramp up standards in fleet operations with a focus on areas such as road safety, fuel efficiency, and carbon emissions. Measuring performance in these areas give fleets an opportunity to demonstrate the positive advancements they are making, which is not only valuable for reputation but also for both driver safety and environmental responsibility.

To gain the FORS accreditations, you must simply prove that you are meeting the requirements of the level of accreditation you are looking to achieve.

FORS Accreditations

There are three tiers of FORS accreditation: bronze, silver and gold. Each tier builds upon the last and has a different set of requirements to demonstrate best practice in specific ways.

The standards for each tier of FORS accreditation are outline below:

Bronze Accreditation

For the bronze accreditation, FORS will audit your company; offering you tools and resources to help you pass. After you pass this audit, you will achieve your bronze FORS.

To start, you simply need to register your business at the FORS website. Then download the standards documentation to get to grips with what the audit will check and the standards you’ll need to meet. FORS will audit your company within 90 days of registration.

Silver Accreditation

In order to achieve silver accreditation, you will need to meet all the standards outlined in the bronze accreditation as well as ensuring your fleet is compliant with CLOCS Standard for Construction Logistics and the TfL Work Related Road Risk.

Whilst more in-depth than the bronze FORS audit, the process is the same and the information and guide can be found online at the website.

Gold Accreditation

The highest standard of compliance, the gold FORS accreditation requires you to also promote the FORS standard through your supply chain. You must additionally demonstrate meaningful improvements from your Silver accreditation.

Benefits of FORS accreditation

Benefits for fleet drivers

Fleet drivers can put to good use the vast range of courses and e-learning opportunities offered by FORS, helping them to improve and maintain a high standard of driver competency and safety. These learning opportunities can help fleet drivers become more aware and mindful of the safety aspects of their driving (benefiting themselves and other road users), as well as their impact on the environment.

Courses include:

  • Beyond Compulsory Basic Training – for delivery drivers in urban environments.
  • Safe Urban Driving – for commercial HGV operators.
  • TruckSmart – for commercial HGV drivers.
  • VanSmart – for commercial van drivers.
  • LoCity Driving – for commercial HGV and van drivers.

Benefits for fleet operators

For fleet operators, FORS also offers a range of courses and e-learning opportunities that can be useful in improving their performance in their role.

  • HGV/PCV Fleet Management Essentials – for supervisory staff working to achieve O Licence.
  • Car/Van Fleet Management Essentials – for supervisory staff operating car and van fleets.
  • Toolbox Talks – to help operators communicate with their staff.
  • Collision Management – Road Risk Champion and Collision Investigator.
  • FORS Practitioner – series of workshops designed for transport managers.

Saving money with FORS

Other than the clear safety benefits that come with operating at a FORS worthy standard, holding a FORS accreditation can also save your business money. From reducing incidents and accidents to reducing fuel spending, FORS can help your fleet make small but impactful changes that will quickly turn into savings for your company too.

FORS can help your fuel consumption by teaching fleet operators useful ways to track fuel usage, and teaching fleet drivers tactics for how they can drive in a less consumptive manner, like cutting down time spent idle and being tactical with driving speeds and journey planning. Good for both the environment and the company bank account.

Fleet management tools from Fuel Card Services

Put the new skills you learn through your acquisition of the FORS accreditations with software and telematics systems that will complement and assist your fleet management. From managing fuel spending and consumption with our Mileage Count, to keeping track of driver safety and habits with TeleGence telematics, we can help support you in managing your fleet efficiently and effectively, with money saving opportunities across the board.

If you are interested in learning more about what we offer or would like some support in choosing the right fleet management tools for your fleet, get in touch today.

Prepaid fuel cards

Prepaid fuel cards explained

Saving on receipts and bothersome admin, fuel cards offer a more efficient way for fleet drivers to pay for fuel. ‘Prepaid fuel card’ is a common name used to describe a standard fuel card, which applies to all of the cards in the Fuel Card Services range.

These types of cards work just like a credit or debit card, and offer a range of benefits for both fleet drivers and managers; simplifying the process of refuelling and increasing the efficiency of fuel repayment.

How do prepaid fuel cards work?

For fleet operators and drivers who are new to fuel cards, there may be some confusion as to what constitutes a ‘prepaid fuel card’. In truth, fuel cards don’t quite operate on a traditional consumer prepayment model whereby you put a specific amount of cash onto a card and spend it at the fuel station.

Instead, all fuel cards in our portfolio get fleet drivers access to discounted fuel costs at the pump. All a driver must do is swipe the fuel card at a petrol station, just as how they would with a debit card, and instead of paying out of their own pocket, they’ll pay out of the business bank account – but with access to heavily discounted, pre-negotiated fuel costs.

Benefits of a prepaid fuel cards

Prepaid fuel cards offer fleets and fleet managers an increased level of control and organisation, making refuelling hassle free and more affordable. Additional benefits include:

Control over funds

Fleet managers can control the amount available on prepaid fuel cards, offering increased control on expenditure and an opportunity to save money.

Additionally, all fuel card expenditure can be tracked via one dashboard, meaning it’s easier to monitor expenditure at scale. This can be crucial when businesses rely on seasonality, and must scale up operations quickly to meet growing demand.

A fixed weekly price

Prepaid fuel cards give users access to fixed weekly fuel prices, often set at a competitive rate.

Efficient administration

Increased control provided by prepaid fuel cards means feet managers can exercise a higher level of control over fuel spending, and a streamlined payment process saves time spent organising receipts and expense repayments.

How are prepaid fuel cards beneficial to fleet drivers?

For fleet operators, prepaid fuel cards offer an opportunity to reduce clutter, both physical and administrational, from the working day. Fleet drivers using a prepaid fuel card no longer need to collect fuel receipts or submit for payback. Instead, by spending within allotted amounts set on prepaid fuel cards, fleet drivers can focus on getting from A to B.

Additionally, there’s a safety benefit to fuel cards. Drivers can avoid carrying cash at petrol stations, and the automated payment process reduces the chance of fraud.

How do I know this week’s fixed price?

Fuel Card Services customers will have the next week’s fixed fuel prices sent to them via email. This means that customers can decide whether it is cost efficient to fill up now or wait until next week.

Why do prepaid fuel card prices change weekly?

Changes to the fixed price each week is reflective of the fluctuations in the international oil market. Prepaid fuel cards offer competitive pricing, meaning you are still likely to save on fuel using a prepaid fuel card than having fleet drivers pay for fuel as a business expense.

Fuel card suppliers

With fuel cards gaining popularity as a means of saving money on fuel and time on administration, as well as offering perks and benefits, more and more suppliers are offering prepaid fuel cards. What this means for fleet management is a vast amount of choice.

With a host of suppliers offering a range of different types of fuel cards, our portfolio comprises some of the largest providers in the UK.

Browse our full range of fuel cards, or get in touch with a member of our team who will find the best card for your business.

Tips for reducing fleet costs

Tips for managing fleet costs

Whenever an entire industry faces significant challenges, it’s often the case that the same number of businesses must now compete for a smaller pool of contracts or customer expenditure. This rings particularly true for the UK’s fleet industry, which in 2022 is:

  • Suffering from a driver shortage.
  • Facing legislative and practical challenges with important and exporting goods.
  • Seeing the highest fuel prices ever recorded in the UK.
  • Looking to tackle uncertainty as customer spending is hindered by a cost of living crisis and rising inflation.

Consequently, it’s absolutely pivotal that SMEs competing within this space do everything possible to tighten up finances and cut back on unnecessary costs.

We’ve produced a complete guide to fleet financing which covers all these elements in depth, however this article will showcase our favourite tips that we feel can help fleet operators become more efficient with expenditure.

1. Use software packages

The fleet industry is built upon technology, with a range of fantastic products entering the market each year. However, telematics is the most fundamental technology package all fleets should be investing in.

An advanced telematics suite can help you track driver mileage, enable maintenance scheduling, automate vehicle safety check recordings, and much more – all through a centralised database that makes reporting on and analysing insights easy and efficient.

If you’re looking to make efficiencies, you won’t get far without first having valuable data to access- so telematics is a crucial starting point that enables cost savings in the long run.

2. Integrate your software packages

Rather than having a set of standalone technologies that require intensive training and separate platforms to operate, it could be worth investing in a technology stack for your fleet business that integrates with one another.

By synchronising your databases, for example linking telematics to your mileage tracking and vehicle insurance software, you could save yourself time that would otherwise be spend traipsing through hefty spreadsheets.

3. Outsource financial management

Adopting a third-party accountancy package could be worth considering for commercial fleets, and there are a range of options in market to suit accountants of all proficiency levels. These could help your business monitor cash flow, and enable you to forecast for the upcoming weeks, months, and years – which could be essential to business planning for those that are looking to electrify their operations.

Some of the key obstacles facing SME fleets in the coming years that may be assisted through refining financial processes include:

  • Keeping competitive on the technology front.
  • Transitioning to electric fleet vehicles.
  • Decarbonising fleet operations and infrastructure.

4. Reduce your fuel costs

Perhaps the most significant expenditure facing any commercial fleet is fuel, which is why it’s imperative that fleets do whatever possible to reduce fuel expenditure.

Driving down fuel costs is most easily achievable through investing in a discount-based solution that drives the cost of fuel down at the petrol pump. A commercial fuel card can enable this saving mechanism, and is a worthy consideration for any businesses with any number of vehicles.

5. Talk to your drivers about fuel efficiency

If you’re looking to see a marked improvement over time in driver-related metrics, then having an open and honest conversation about how efficiencies can be made is likely a good starting point.

For example, your drivers may be interested in learning more about hypermiling and how they could optimise every aspect of their daily driving to minimise fuel usage. Alternatively, you could look to test their knowledge of route planning and the likes in a constructive and friendly way; leaning on their expertise and route knowledge where possible.

Proper car maintenance can also improve fuel efficiency, as tyres that are evenly pumped to a good standard require less fuel than those that have minimal tread or sub-par PSI.

One final tip from the team at Fuel Card Services is to keep an eye on how your main competitors are refining their processes. It’s possible that businesses who are at the cutting edge of technology and quick on the uptake could seize small advantages when it comes to cutting costs – which can have a significant impact over time.

How can Fuel Card Services help?

At Fuel Card Services, we aren’t equipped to solve the global fuel crisis, however we do have many years of expertise in providing UK businesses with our market-leading range of the best commercial fuel cards.

Our suite of cards encompasses all major UK brands, with coverage across the country. Beyond saving up to 10p per litre, you’ll also save a great deal of time with HMRC approved invoices – no more holding on to receipts!

Get in touch with our experts to find out more about fuel cards – the smart way to manage your fuel and fleet costs. Or browse our suite of fleet services – which include advanced telematics systems.