Rolling out a TCO-based car policy to reduce our fleet’s CO2 footprint

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In September 2019, we introduced a new car policy for our corporate fleet. Whereas before, every employee was allocated a monthly lease budget, the new car policy is based on the Total Cost of Ownership principle (TCO).

Corporate Social Responsibility

Under the umbrella of our Corporate Social Responsibility policy (CSR), we were striving to reduce the environmental footprint of our fleet. The project started a year and a half ago with an analysis of our current fleet. Our goal was to create a car policy which was both more appealing to our employees and resulted in a greener fleet.

From monthly budget to total cost of ownership

The new car policy is designed to give us an overview of our total fleet costs. Besides the monthly rental fee of a company car (purchase price, taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.), several additional factors are also taken into account: CO2 emissions, fuel consumption, tax deductibility and so on. The fact that the CO2 emissions and fuel consumption directly affect the TCO ensures a more ecological approach, which results in a greener fleet. Hybrid and electric powertrains automatically become more attractive than more polluting diesel or petrol variants, which incentivizes our employees to opt for these types of vehicles.

Positive results and international roll-out

Before September 2019, our corporate fleet contained two electric and three hybrid vehicles. Now, almost one year since the introduction of the TCO-based car policy, there are seven electric and nine hybrid cars. This translates to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 7% across the fleet.

Our next step is to roll out the TCO-based car policy to our other offices. We have already launched our TCO approach in the UK and the Netherlands is next in line.

Employee benefits

What makes electric/hybrid cars attractive to our employees? It directly affects your earnings, for one thing. Employees who are entitled to a company car can also use their vehicle privately, which equates to a ‘benefit in kind’, which is taxed. The vehicles’ CO2 emissions are one factor that determines the taxation level. Consequently, if you drive an electric car with zero emissions or a hybrid car with lower emissions, you pay less taxes.

The electric driving experience

Besides the economic aspect, there are other factors that prompt employees to look for alternative mobility solutions. Jeroen Devlieghere, project manager at Sofico, has been driving a BMW I3 for over a year:

“My experience of electric driving is great, for several reasons. First and foremost, it is more environmentally friendly. Granted, it is not up there with walking or cycling, but it is a big improvement on combustion engines. Secondly, the driving experience is fantastic. The control you have over your car and the smoothness of the driving are phenomenal. You have to experience it, there is no way to explain it properly. Many people think that the range and limited number of charging stations are a problem. Well, that hasn’t been my experience. If your daily commute is reasonable, there is no problem with distance. “What about going on holiday?”, I hear people ask. Last summer I went to France by car and drove around 2,000 km without much hassle.

Charging stations are not a real problem. There are more and more of them available and working at Sofico it’s no problem at all, since there are several charging stations at the office. Personally, I will never go back to a combustion engine. I can recommend people to look into driving electric!”

Bike lease

At Sofico, we also offer the possibility of combining your company car with a leasing bike, an option which has become more and more popular in recent years. Our staff can choose between several types of bicycles: a standard bike, an electric version or even a high-speed pedelec. They lease the bikes for a three-year period, with the option to return the bike at the end or purchase it at a pre-agreed residual value.

Pool bicycles

As part of our CSR initiatives, we also made five pool bicycles available. These can be used on demand. This gives people the option of picking up their lunch by bike instead of by car or to just going for a midday ride. It’s better for the environment and your health!

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