Fleets cannot afford to ignore electric vehicles.
As prices come down, battery ranges increase and charge points proliferate, EVs are becoming a viable option for more and more drivers. A number of manufacturers even offer electric vans capable of travelling 100 miles on a single charge.
At the same time, rising fuel prices, new tax rates and forthcoming Clean Air Zones are all conspiring to make petrol and diesel vehicles more expensive to run. Switching to EVs isn’t just good for the environment – it could also help your bottom line, too.
So, what do you need to consider when updating your fleet policy to include these new, greener vehicles?
Pure electric or hybrid?
The first thing to decide is which type of vehicle is right for which job – and a big part of that will come down to distance.
Battery Electric Vehicles – those that run entirely on electricity – are the greenest option, with no CO2 or NOx emissions at all. They also offer the biggest savings on fuel costs, Vehicle Excise Duty and Company Car Tax. But they do need to be plugged in to recharge every so often.
The good news here is that manufacturers are continuously bringing out new models that can charge up more quickly and go further on a single charge. The brand-new Nissan LEAF, for example, has a range of 177 miles, and it takes less than an hour of rapid charging to bring its battery up to 80%.
Still, when it comes to longer-distance motoring, a hybrid might be more suitable. Hybrids come in two varieties: traditional ones like the Toyota Prius, where the battery is recharged from the engine and brakes; and Plug-in Hybrids like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which are charged by plugging them into the grid. Because they have petrol engines to supplement their electric batteries, there’s no need to worry about range limitations.
Somewhere to plug in
Of course, if your employees are driving Battery Electric or Plug-in Hybrid vehicles, they'll need somewhere to plug them in. Fortunately, there are government subsidies available for business to install charge points for their fleets.
The Workplace Charging Scheme offers vouchers worth £300 for each of the first 20 you install, and there is also a 100% first-year capital allowance for spending on charge points, available until April 2019. Your employees can also apply for grants from the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme to cover 75% of the cost of installing a charge point at home.
(Note: This article was first published on LinkedIn by Suzanne Phillips, National Fleet Consultant at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions.)