Navigating fleet decarbonisation


Shell’s recent report ‘Navigating Fleet Decarbonisation: A guide to driving a successful transition’ highlights the challenges to decarbonisation felt by fleet operators. GreenFleet chats to Shell’s Giorgio Delpiano to find out what the report has uncovered

Shell’s recent report - Navigating Fleet Decarbonisation: A guide to driving a successful transition features insights drawn from more than 150 fleet executives and experts, in 12 markets across the globe, examining the organisational and operational challenges to decarbonisation that organisations face.
GreenFleet caught up with Giorgio Delpiano, senior vice president at Shell Fleet Solutions, to find out more.

Shell’s recent report ‘Navigating Fleet Decarbonisation: A guide to driving a successful transition’ highlights the challenges to decarbonisation felt by fleet operators. Could you summarise what these challenges are?

From talking to fleet owners and operators, it seems one of the biggest challenges they’re facing is turning ambition into action. Of the fleet owners we surveyed for our new report, more than two-thirds (68 per cent) expect increasing pressure to decarbonise from regulators, customers and even their own employees. They see fleet decarbonisation as critical, but they feel it’s a complex and overwhelming task. They don’t know what the best way forward is or how to get the business buy-in they need to drive change.
Almost half (46 per cent) of those we spoke to told us that restrictive operations (in areas like people, governance and process) stands in the way of them deploying their decarbonisation strategy. Many also face market-driven issues like uncertainty around costs and concerns around the availability of infrastructure.
Another is the cost of the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). Most fleet owners and operators (95 per cent) see EVs as the long-term solution but are still working out how to balance their transition with the need to reduce their total cost of mobility.

To address the challenges, the report also includes guidance that businesses can use to accelerate and simplify their decarbonisation strategy. What guidance does the report give?

In response to the challenges highlighted in our research, we’ve worked closely with Deloitte to create a set of practical tools and frameworks to help light commercial and passenger-carrying fleets plan out a simpler route to net zero. This includes our Accelerate to Zero Roadmap, which sets out a clear framework for net zero fleet operations. We built it around four key phases (Diagnose, Build, Deploy and Realise) to make sure it covers all the strategic decisions and solutions businesses really should consider at each stage of their decarbonisation journey.
The Organisational Readiness Toolset demonstrates what success looks like to help businesses see where they need to get to. It also helps them to map out exactly where they are currently and which parts of their business they need to get buy-in from to achieve their goals. So, they can map the next steps in their decarbonisation strategy and take them with greater confidence.
It’s difficult to make decisions when there’s so much uncertainty in a market. That’s why the report also includes the EV transition Toolset, which gives fleet owners an EV decision-making framework – as well as useful information on duty cycles, infrastructure considerations and guidance on the ‘no-regret’ actions they can take to support their electrification journey.

What’s Shell’s position on the best route to decarbonisation? What is the best alternative fuel to get there?

From our perspective, there’s no silver bullet or single route to decarbonisation. Every fleet’s journey to net zero emissions is different, and that’s why we provide each business with the solutions to meet their specific needs.

However, while there are multiple solutions available to help fleets reduce and compensate for their CO2 emissions, transitioning to EVs is currently the clearest way for them to hit their zero-emissions targets.
As I’ve highlighted, the cost of this transition remains a challenge for many businesses – especially as the levels of technological maturity vary between markets. But, as technology improves and charging networks expand, EVs are increasingly becoming a competitive alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs).
At Shell Fleet Solutions, we’re working to support that by providing businesses with easy access to charging solutions at home, at the office, depot and on-the-go. We’re also investing in carbon compensation offers and, of course, biofuels.

Shell is investing in expanding the electric car charging network, working towards 500,000 charging points globally by 2025, and 2.5 million by 2030. Could you give an update on Shell’s EV infrastructure plans here in the UK?

In this area, it’s all about making EV charging as accessible for fleets and their drivers as possible – something we’re making swift progress with across Europe. Our customers now have access to more than 300,000 Shell and third-party charge points in over 35 countries, and that number will only continue to grow.
The UK is an example of how we’re making EV charging more accessible. For on-the-go charging, we aim to have 100,000 public EV charging points in place nationwide by 2030. To support at-home charging, Shell ubitricity has installed more than 5,500 public on-street charging points (working with local councils to install them inside lampposts) as part of the largest such network in the country.
Also, we’re delivering 22kW office chargers to help fleet owners turn their depots into charging locations.
Ultimately, we’re working towards a reality where 90 per cent of all UK drivers are within a 10-minute drive of a Shell rapid charger. And then the aim is to take that level of offer global, bringing it to customers across all eighty markets we operate in.

Shell has also recently launched its Accelerate to Zero programme, which helps fleet owners identify the best course of action to decarbonise their fleet. Could you tell us what sort of help fleet operators can expect from the programme?

While many businesses share the same end goal of reaching net zero emissions, every fleet’s roadmap is different. Think about a fleet’s total cost of ownership, vehicle replacement plans or infrastructure availability. These are all factors that shape the path to decarbonisation – and each path has unique operational and economic implications.
That’s why Accelerate to Zero brings together our full range of solutions and expert-led consultancy services in a tailored programme to help fleet owners explore the options they have (as well as the trade-offs required).
And it’s not just about providing a full suite of low- and zero-carbon solutions. Within the programme, we work closely with fleet managers and operators at every stage of their journey. Our team of experts help them to plot out their best course of action while our digital solutions – like telematics – give them the ability to make more informed decisions based on insights from integrated fleet data.
At Shell Fleet Solutions, we want to help fleets achieve a truly sustainable future by making sure they have the right solutions to meet their needs today as well as the flexibility to adapt as requirements and technologies change.

What more could the government be doing to support the country in its net zero transport goals?

Across the world, governments and businesses are setting goals to meet the Paris agreement on climate change, and the UK is on that same journey. One example that will impact fleet operations is the government’s commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.

This signals a positive shift towards EVs, but goal setting isn’t enough to deliver a net zero future – action is needed. This means going beyond regulations to create an environment in which zero-emission technologies and operations aren’t simply mandated but are able to thrive.
It’s not just about the vehicles themselves either. The industry needs support and incentives to develop the charging infrastructure that will power the fleets of the future. We’re encouraged by the UK’s plans to invest £1.6 billion in expanding the UK charging network. At Shell, we’ll continue to play our part in delivering this capability across the UK and globally.