2020 has been a year of trials and tribulations, but lots of successes for us here at Nexus too. We’re looking forward into 2021 and what it might bring for the industry as a whole.

Brexit and a Focus on Efficiency

The effects of Brexit are still, unfortunately, mostly unquantifiable. There are a couple of expectations, however. The first is that there are likely to be delays for channel crossings and decreased access to EU drivers and talent. The second is that rates will increase steeply if the exchange rate experiences challenges or the EU tariff causes fiscal pressure.

This means that there will be a focus on efficiency and productivity as fleet managers try to mitigate these issues – look at making the fleet you’ve got the best it can be.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve efficiency is to use a vehicle rental system like Nexus’ IRIS. Our responsive technology equips fleet managers across industries with the ability to spot trends in vehicle usage and automatically identifies the most cost-effective rental solutions. With its pioneering technology, Nexus can help cut customers’ rental spend by up to 20%.

Coronavirus in 2021

The pandemic has had a huge impact on vehicle hire – exacerbated by the subsequent lockdowns and widespread working from home – and, although we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, this won’t simply go away in 2021. So far, the effect of Covid-19 has meant that the requirement of some vehicles (like company cars) has plummeted whilst the need for logistics vehicles has risen in line with the demands of online shopping and a need to keep supermarket shelves stocked. We expect this theme to continue as we move into 2021 however, as life returns to some normality, company car hire may increase as more people opt for personal vehicles out of safety over public transport.

We do expect to see volumes and availability take a step forward early in the year as new vehicles (previously delayed) are delivered and the Christmas Peak vans are off-hired. With Brexit and the closing of borders, this may not be as soon as we might hope, however. Short term hire availability will continue to be a challenge as the major supplier market moves away from single-day hires and one-ways.

Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) residual values (RVs) and COVID-19 lockdown measures imposed will determine how the shape of the LCV availability looks as we move into February and March alongside the new plate launch.

With another lockdown in place, COVID-19 will continue to have the greatest impact on smaller businesses and will influence supply as well as demand. This will pose challenges around levels of service to clients and customers, as long as related compliance processes are in force (i.e. social distancing, cleansing of vehicles etc.)

Electric Vehicles & Infrastructure

Legislation is arguably having the greatest impact on our changing transport landscape with directives such as the 2030 petrol/diesel ban and the introduction of Clean Air Zones (CAZs) and Ultra Low Emissions Zones (ULEZs) driving innovations in cleaner transport modes.

Reducing emissions, improving air quality, saving on your bottom line are all pros in the argument for using electric vehicles, however the charging infrastructure in the UK is still a work in progress.

To combat this challenge, the Government has now allocated £1.3bn to investment in EV charging points and £582m to grants for EV buyers. In the Budget 2020 announcement, Rishi Sunak claimed that within a few years no one will ever be more than 30 miles from a charging hub.

Transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs) does have its place currently for urban logistics and locally based company cars and will only continue to grow in relevancy as the infrastructure improves.

Nexus has a dedicated EV booking platform to make the transition to using electric vehicles easier. Whether your 2021 includes a move to a fully electric fleet or just using one or two where appropriate, EVs are clearly the future, but 2021 might not be the year for mass adoption.

As we start the year in lockdown number three in the UK, there are no bold 2021 predictions, but incremental change for the better. Whether it’s understanding the new Brexit rules and regulations, transitioning to using electric vehicles, or improving the efficiency of your fleet; what does the year hold for your business?