The changing practices of fleet managers: intersections with Clean Air Zones and rising home delivery

Currently more than 95% of Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs or vans) in the UK are diesel-powered. This study considers the practices of fleet managers procuring new vehicles. Relatively stable for some time, these practices are now beginning to change. Two main developments influencing this change are identified: 1) The introduction of Clean Air Zones, which are areas in which local authorities restrict entrance for, or charge vehicles, with emissions above certain thresholds 2) The rise of home delivery, mainly driven by online shopping. We investigate how these two developments influence the practice of vehicle procurement in terms of a potential switch from diesel to electric vehicles. Instead of simply stimulating or hampering electric vehicle procurement, we show how the two developments interact with the meanings, materials and competences that form the practice of vehicle procurement. Examples include changes in the importance attached to vehicle brand versus economic costs, or the way in which daily vehicle costs are calculated. In this way, we are able give a more refined overview of the impacts of the introduction of Clean Air Zones, including their unintended and unexpected consequences. We also explore how the rise in home delivery could increase electric vehicle usage, by its intersections with other practices and by pushing the current delivery system beyond its limits in terms of environmental pollution. Data is collected from interviews with experts and fleet managers in the Vehicle-to-Grid Oxford project, a large-scale trial with electric vans