Fossil fuels still in the picture for fleet managers

With the proliferation of green cars - electric, hybrid and the recent developments in hydrogen-propulsion technology - it's sometimes easy to imagine a not-so-distant future without fossil fuels.

However, as many fleet managers will expect, the change is not going to happen overnight - fuel stations are not going to suddenly turn into plug-in forecourts, after all.

In fact, recent research shows that over the next 10 years, many fleets will concentrate on getting the most out of their fuel-using vehicles rather than upgrading to a greener solution.

The report by Navigant Research predicted that vehicles will instead become lighter and more aerodynamically designed to help decrease drag and improve fuel efficiency.

What's more, green car adoption could be delayed as almost two-thirds (59 per cent) of light-duty vehicles bought in 2025 are predicted to include turbochargers - a common process for boosting power in light of reducing fuel consumption.

Charging into the future

A turbocharger is a common sight under many hoods. The device recycles exhaust gases to power a turbine, which in turn is used to force more air into engine cylinders. This allows for a more powerful combustion within each cylinder providing more power.

On top of this, turbochargers are favoured for their relatively low weight, and their long life if properly maintained.

For these reasons, they are expected to become a more viable and immediate solution for fleet operators not ready to make the jump to low-carbon vehicle alternatives.

Revolution, not evolution

On top of this, newer fuel-saving technologies are expected to get even more efficient. Stop-start systems, for example - which switch off the engine when the car is idle and out of gear - will become more powerful and economical, the report shows.

Meanwhile, vehicles that are designed to "coast" with the engine off have the potential to reach fuel efficiency levels close to hybrid electric vehicles, while having a lower purchase cost.

Navigant's Senior Research Analyst, David Alexander, explained some of the other factors that will help to lower fossil fuel usage in standard vehicles.

"Gasoline is anticipated to remain the dominant fuel in the coming years, albeit in vehicles that employ a range of fuel-efficiency technologies, including smaller engines, stop-start technology, and turbocharging," he began.

"A range of incremental changes - such as lighter materials, cylinder deactivation, direct injection, and transmissions with eight or more speed ratios and high-efficiency internal components - will also play important roles in tomorrow's higher-miles-per-gallon cars and trucks."

Do you expect to keep your current fleet vehicles for the foreseeable future? Contact Smartfleet to discover how to improve your fleet efficiency without making drastic and expensive changes.