Director’s Toolbox: Electric Vehicles – are you ready?

Electric vehicles (EV) have been the biggest disruption to motoring since the combustion engine replaced the horse. In the last six years alone there has been a 2,400 percent increase in EV registration*.

Published in Norfolk Director Magazine, Winter/Spring 2020
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In 2017, Stanford University economist, Tony Seba, forecast that in the next eight years petrol or diesel cars, buses and trucks, will no longer be sold anywhere in the world**. The entire market for land transport is going to switch to electrification, leading to a collapse of oil prices and the demise of the petroleum industry as we know it.

According to Linda Grave, CEO of electric vehicle charging infrastructure provider, EV Driver, it is imperative that businesses not only start planning the phasing out of fossil fuel vehicles, but also prepare for the new and cleaner world of EVs.

“The benefits of EVs are many. As well as being a clean source of transport, they are a lot cheaper to run than petrol cars, with a full charge costing around £7. And because EVs have fewer mechanical parts than your conventional vehicle, less money will likely need to be spent on maintenance and servicing.

“Tax wise, there are also huge BIK (benefit in kind) savings for your employees and your fleet fuel costs, even if you only have one EV. In fact, you don’t pay any car tax if your vehicle is pure electric and plug-in cars that emit 75g/km CO2 or less, can get up to a 100 percent discount from the London Congestion Charge. So, the savings of having and operating EVs ensure cost savings in every respect.”

If you act quickly, there are also grants available until March 2020, or until the pot runs dry. The government is offering 75 percent towards the cost of installing workplace charging points, up to a maximum of £500 per socket and up to 20 sockets, equating to £10,000
per business.

Linda continues. “Crucially, you don’t need to have an EV to apply, as it’s about encouraging your employees to switch to a cleaner greener way of driving. Plus, 70-80 percent of car charging is done at home, with home charging grants also available.”

Combating range anxiety

A main reason stopping individuals from switching to EVs is range anxiety; the fear that the car will run out of electrons before you reach your destination, leaving you stranded.

However, Linda explains this is a problem that is constantly being tackled by the industry, with much success.

“Newer EVs, such as the Tesla Model 3 or Jaguar I-Pace claim to have a range of around 240 to 290 miles. In addition to this, the amount of charge points across the UK is rapidly growing, so a ‘re-fuel’ is never too far away. And for those who are still not quite ready to go fully electric, there are electric car sharing platforms available, which is also a great way to test EVs.

“Something else worth considering if your business wants to go the EV route, is partnering with an organisation like us that can help guide you through the process and the pitfalls.

“At EV Driver, we specialise in EV charging infrastructure and will help you with every part of the transitioning process to EVs. But we don’t just install the charging units, we provide charging as a service and we appreciate that every business is different with individual needs.

“By having an EV charging station you are telling people that you are thinking green and thinking ahead, which is an attractive feature to have and can feed straight into your corporate social responsibility. It also appeals to potential new employees, as helping the environment is a very current talking point and people want to be playing their part in that. After all, EVs are the future.”

EV Driver will be hosting its third EV Experience day in Spring 2020 at Trinity Park. Anyone is welcome to attend and learn more about the EV life, plus test drive some EVs for themselves. For more information email:
info@evdriver.co.uk

*Statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) uk.motor1.com/tag/smmt/ 

**business.financialpost.com/transportation/fossil-fuel-vehicles-will-vanish-in-8-years-in-twin-death-spiral-for-big-oil-and-big-autos-says-study-that-shocking-the-industry

Electric vehicles in practice

Mark Hinds, Branch Manager at Charles Stanley Wealth Managers has been driving a VW egolf all electric car for six months. Here he gives us some things that businesses should consider around the practicalities of owning and driving an electric vehicle.

“As a driver of an electric vehicle I think the main consideration before making a purchase, is to think about how far you typically drive on a daily basis, and then check that the car you choose will work for you most of the time.

Other consideration should be given to:

The true range of the EV. I have found that for my typical use, I can travel 150 miles in summer and about 110 miles in winter, which is around 20-25 percent less than the manufacturer’s stated range. If the heater and lights are on all the time it can make a big difference and these figures drop even further when I do more motorway driving.

Where you can charge your car. Most of the time my car gets charged using a 7.5Kwh charging station installed in my car port at home, which cost around £500 including the government grant. If you don’t have off street parking, or access to a charger at work, where will you do your regular charging?

Accessing and using super charger points. As things stand there are lots of public charging stations, but they are run by different networks with different sign up processes. This will have to be simplified for mass adoption of electric. I have four different apps on my phone which are useful for different things and basically, I get around this by doing most of the charging at home. If you were doing lots of journeys to different places and needed to charge away from home on a frequent basis, then I personally don’t think the infrastructure is sufficiently easy to use yet.

To health and wellbeing. Range anxiety is something that’s difficult to avoid feeling when driving an EV, and ‘Yes’, you do have to plan journeys with more care to check you will be able to get back home! However, where driving a petrol or diesel car, you might feel uncomfortable having less than 50 miles in the tank, I have driven home with less than an eight miles range showing and I have been confident it would get me back; it hasn’t let me down yet!

EV drivers need to think ahead. It may be that the daily use of the vehicle is low enough to only need an overnight charge, but you need to consider how and where the vehicles will be kept, access to the charger and whether people can be relied upon to remember to plug them in; there’s no popping to the petrol station in the morning if they forget! 

Overall, I am very happy I made the decision to go with an EV. The car is very easy and enjoyable to drive. For instance, the EV is smoother as it has only one gear so there is no judder between gear changes. It’s also very nippy and quiet in town, but not as quiet as I was expecting at higher speeds because the road noise is still there.

One unexpected benefit is that you can remotely preheat your car (it works off the mains, so you don’t limit your range), so on cold mornings you get into a warm car which is fantastic.”

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