If keeping your fleet sharing company up-to-date with different regulation types seems like a daunting task, don’t worry: you’ve come to the right place!
Knowing which rules to keep track of can seem a little tricky at first, but if you read up on local regulation that could affect your operations in advance, you’ll be prepared before any new laws are enacted or rules are changed. Below are some things you should be aware of as a fleet sharing business owner.
The Push for Electric Vehicles
The underlying theme in almost all government regulation on fleet sharing companies is the “green” factor. In case you haven’t noticed, environmentally protective policies have been at the top of many political agendas in recent years. So which rules and regulations will be most relevant for you and your fleet company? It turns out that depends on your location, the type of vehicles you want to use and a host of other factors.
Running an active fleet sharing company in Europe? If so, you probably already know that the EU is very concerned with carbon emissions - as they rightfully should be, considering cars made up 15% of the EU’s emissions of CO2 in 2016 (1). As part of a long-term European “green” plan, the EU decided to encourage the development and use of alternative fuel types such as biofuels, hydrogen/fuel cells, and battery electric or hybrid electric vehicles with plug-ins. (2) That’s good news for those of you with fully electric business models - you’re well ahead of the curve and you’ve got the EU on your side.
If your fleet sharing company is gas powered, you’re probably aware of the numerous “low-emission zones” throughout Europe, which are exactly what they sound like: zones in which vehicle types and sizes are restricted in order to cut back on emissions. (3) They’re most commonly found in mid- to large-sized urban areas with lots of people (and lots of vehicles!). London has particularly strict rules for its low-emission zone - literally called the “Ultra Low Emission Zone” - which have been in effect since April 2019. (4) It prohibits all vehicles (regardless of their size) from entering the zone without either a) meeting the emissions requirements or b) having paid the appropriate fee in advance.
So what are these emission standards that need to be met, anyway? For cars, they typically need to either be Euro 4 (gas) or Euro 6 (diesel). Other major European cities that have low emission zones are Paris, Madrid and Stockholm, to name just a few. Make sure you’re well informed of the emission zones in your city, particularly if you’re looking to start a non-electric vehicle sharing business. Here’s a heads up: starting in 2025, new emissions targets are being rolled out by the EU. They aim to see a reduction in car emissions of 15% from 2021 to 2025 and a 37.5% reduction after 2030. (5) A lofty goal, to be sure, and one worth keeping in mind when you consider which vehicle type to include in your fleet in the future.
Location, Location, Location
Needless to say, Europe is a big place with lots of different rules depending on where you want to set up shop and what kind of vehicles you’re interested in adding to your fleet. In England, for example, e-kick scooters are theoretically still not permitted on public streets, but that rule is rarely enforced. (6) In Germany, car sharing companies have special reduced parking fees in cities and designated parking spots just for their vehicles. (7) Until very recently in Norway, zero-emissions, electric vehicles enjoyed multiple benefits such as tax breaks, free parking and more, which might have something to do with why 60% of their new car sales were electric cars last March. (8) It pays to know your local laws!
Car Sharing vs. Ride Hailing
Ride hailing was met with backlash upon its initial introduction to Europe. Ride-hailing services have run into regulatory hurdles, similar to carpooling, as they’re seen as a threat to taxi services and their unionized drivers. (9) Now the big names in ride hailing are slowly making their way into the European market, but they often feature professional drivers and use a model similar to shuttle or taxi services. Some experts predict that when the wave of shared autonomous vehicle services hits, ride hailing companies will be forced to join forces with manufacturers or risk losing their relevance. (10)
Car sharing, on the other hand, is increasing in demand dramatically. In fact, demand for car sharing services in Europe is expected to grow 33.7% by 2024. (11) Sounds like there’s lots of potential for fleet sharing companies to grow, too! One subset of car sharing, corporate car sharing, is also seen favorably in the eyes of the European Union: companies that offer corporate car sharing services receive tax breaks for encouraging what is essentially considered to be carpooling. In the UK, however, there are talks of increasing taxes for corporate car fleets in order to combat the total amount of vehicles on the road. Of course, whether or not corporate car fleets actually help reduce traffic or contribute to it is still a subjective question for many.
So…Is Your Company Safe?
The short answer is: of course! The EU’s rules and regulations regarding vehicles and fleet sharing really boils down to the location of the company in question and the type of vehicles being driven. If you make sure to research relevant legislation before starting your fleet sharing business - or if you stay up-to-date by reading articles and news on the subject - there’s no reason why your company model shouldn’t remain intact. If you’re still concerned or if you want more information on the subject, contact us using the form below!