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*.

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

Electric vehicles in practice

Kevin Ward, Director of Conatus Financing Solutions drives a Tesla. 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 first consideration for any business shouldn’t be the obvious issues around tax benefits and the environmental benefits, it should be the planned use of the vehicle and the practicalities of running an electric vehicle or fleet.

So, consideration should be given to:

1. The true range of the EV, not the manufacturer stated range. This is often akin to the stated mpg of a petrol or diesel, which tends to be slightly exaggerated. In my experience you need to take around 20 percent off most cars stated range.

2. When the EV will need a charge. If you have a route which is a 250 miles round trip, it may be achievable in the spring with slightly warmer weather and no need for a high use of air conditioning or heaters. However, if doing the same journey in the depth of winter or the height of summer, you might only get to 225 miles before needing a charge.

3. Accessing and using super charger points. The reality is there may be chargers nearby, but unless it is a supercharger of some kind, you’re going to have to allow a few hours. So, if you’re doing a delivery round that exceeds its range, it just isn’t practical yet to use an EV. Once a network of superchargers is widely available, akin to the Tesla network, which will achieve a full charge in an hour, maybe less, then an EV can work for your business.

4. The health and wellbeing of your staff. Whether driving the vehicle yourself or if they’re used by staff, you do need to recognise that range anxiety is a very real stress and some people do worry about running out of juice, which can be an important consideration in what might be an already stressful workplace.

5. 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!

6. The lifetime cost of ownership. Typically, EVs have minimal maintenance needs due to the simple nature of the electric motor vs the combustion engine and therefore have less time off the road. However, the servicing can still be very expensive, and this is worth reviewing when considering the lifetime cost of ownership.

“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 very welcome.”

*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