Mitie’s fleet manager Heidi Thompson makes environmental issues and safety her priorities.

The company has the largest fully electric fleet in the UK, with 1,722 electric vehicles (EVs). It says these EVs prevent 8,515 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

As for the internal combustion-engined (ICE) vehicles on its fleet, Thompson oversees the use of technologies such as Telematics Driver Behaviour LED Lightbars to reduce idling time, this has reduced diesel consumption by 75,000l, saving 195t of carbon in one year. A driver behaviour score is produced, allowing intervention if needed. A 28% reduction in fuel consumption has been recorded year-on-year, due to a combination of all these measures.

The company has installed around 1,000 chargepoints at its employees’ homes to support its EV transition, using government grants and offsetting costs elsewhere, for example savings from its transition to EVs.

Mitie’s partnership with Mina, an EV charging start-up, has enabled direct payment for home-charging. This initiative allows Mitie to control the energy-source used for EV charging, ensuring it is 100% green, using renewable energy guarantee of origin (REGO), which is currently the cheapest form of electricity. This enables Mitie to influence how its employees power their homes, increasing the uptake of renewable energy.

For when public charging is required, easy card payments have been introduced for multiple charging providers, broadening the network available where employees can charge, making their journeys easier.

When Mitie acquired construction company Interserve in December 2020, Thompson led a review of its processes, merging Mitie’s best practice with Interserve’s, thus improving efficiencies across the board. This includes developing ‘Smart Forms’ for the internal Fleet page, for colleagues to use when requesting items like fuel cards. This saves time by directing people straight to the relevant teams.

Thompson has focused on procurement processes. As the EV market evolves, reviewing EVs is critical to ensuring the acquisition of updated, appropriate vehicles that are best suited for drivers’ roles. Video Browse technology is also being trialled, enabling tracking, to better understand fleet operations, improving efficiency, performance, and safety.

Working with the Quality, Health, Safety and Environment team, Thompson has had Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) installed in all Mitie vehicles. This has reduced motorway collisions by 50%, non-motorway by 90%, and roundabout rear-end collisions by 100%. A 13% saving on motor incidents costs was also recorded after the installation of AEB.

Thompson has overseen the distribution of monthly driver safety bulletins with tips to prevent accidents. This is coupled with mandatory eLearning, including economical driving tips and voluntary modules ranging from driver discomfort and posture to modules dedicated to new EV drivers and Defensive Driving.

Thompson also introduced Mitie’s Driver Risk Management Framework.  By analysing various data feeds, driver behaviours are monitored and shared with line managers to address any shortcomings. This approach improves driver behaviour and line manager engagement, includes mandated eLearning modules and encourages the most fuel-efficient driving.

In managing Mitie’s fleet, Thompson always has an eye on the future, looking for the next technology or process. The fleet has recently completed a trial of the Lytx Dashcam, delivering a 60% incident reduction using Artificial Intelligence to identify and challenge driver behaviour. Other initiatives such as introducing alcohol and drug testing, installing speed limiters, and installing ‘How’s my driving’ messages on the back of vehicles have reduced incidents by 14%.

Highly Commended: Lorna McAtear, National Grid

 Lorna Mcatear National class=

McAtear oversees a fleet that includes 1,108 LCVs, 345 of which are 4x4s, which are needed to reach the less accessible locations the National Grid’s engineers must get to. The fleet also includes 63 electric vans with a further 26 on order. All of the vans are purchased outright and McAtear says calculating whole life costs is key. McAtear views a grant as a bonus rather than a given, so that if it is reduced or removed there is a plan B in place.

McAtear says the government’s Plug-in Van Grant has opened a window of opportunity for fleets to transition to EVs and argues that the whole life costs of EVs make investing in electric technology a sound business decision. By 2026, the National Grid has committed to installing work place chargers at 282 sites, which will equate to 1,500 chargepoints.