EV or not to EV? What’s right for my business?

NissanLeaf

Are you considering introducing electric vehicles within your business fleet? You’re not alone! 

In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of electric powered vehicles on the road in the UK and the growth of greener business fleets have contributed to this. Manufacturers have responded to the increasing demand for better economy and lower emissions, by offering a wide range of environmentally sound models to choose from. 

Whether you are running a small or large business fleet, in addition to contributing to your companies’ Corporate and Social Responsibility policy, there are a number of advantages to choosing electric powered cars or vans. The following guide will talk you through what to look out for when considering an electric vehicle for your next business lease. 

What are the benefits?

  • Lower fuel bills 
  • Lower Co2 emissions 
  • Lower company car tax/BIK/Road Fund Licence 
  • No London congestion charges 

What types of electric vehicle are there? 

Electric vehicles fall into a number of categories, from fully electric vehicles, which run solely on electric power, to petrol/diesel electric hybrids, which combine the use of a petrol engine and an electric motor depending on the driving conditions. 

Choosing the right type of electric vehicle for the right job can help you save money on fuel bills and lower Co2 emissions, but with an increasing number of electric vehicles available to lease today, picking the right vehicle for your businesses needs is easier said than done. Here’s a brief run through of the different types on offer…

Mild hybrids 

The engine in these vehicles is always assisted by an electric motor (for example, the Honda Insight). The engine stops when the car is at rest and re-starts as soon as the accelerator is pressed to move off. This allows a smaller petrol engine to be used and improves fuel economy, particularly in urban and suburban driving. The battery is charged by the engine when the car is not accelerating, and energy from braking is also used to recharge the battery in a process called regenerative braking. 

Full hybrids 

These vehicles can be driven for a limited distance by the electric motor alone (for example, the Toyota Prius). This allows almost silent progress and zero tailpipe emissions in slow moving traffic. The engine starts as speed increases or when there is a requirement for greater acceleration. The battery is recharged by the engine when the car is not accelerating and also through regenerative braking. 

The additional weight of the battery and electric motor, in conjunction with the lower inherent efficiency of a petrol engine, mean that a similar sized diesel car may be more fuel efficient on motorway journeys. 

Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) 

Plug-in hybrids combine petrol or diesel engines with a battery and electric motor. They can also be plugged into the mains electricity in order to provide a much longer driving range on electric-only power. The batteries have a greater storage capacity than an existing hybrid, making it possible to drive considerably further using the electric motor only. For most commuting and domestic journeys it will be possible to drive in the electric mode with zero exhaust emissions. 

Extended-range hybrids (E-REVs) 

Extended-range hybrids are similar to PHEVs (above), but they are always powered by their electric motor. The petrol or diesel engine simply keeps the battery charged on longer journeys. The engine doesn't power the wheels; instead it provides power to maintain the battery power, so it acts like a generator. The BMW i3 is a good example of an extended range hybrid with its an optional range-extender. 

Pure electric vehicles 

Pure electric vehicles are powered solely by on-board batteries. The new generation of electric cars such as the Tesla Model S have pushed the boundaries when it comes to range capabilities. Electric vehicles have a typical range of 80 - 100 miles on a full charge, sufficient for the commuting and daily driving patterns of many people. The vehicles must pass the stringent safety testing which applies to all cars and in terms of overall performance they will be suitable for normal use including motorway driving. An example of this type of electrical vehicle is the Nissan Leaf

Key factors to consider 

There are a number of key considerations when choosing the right electric vehicle for your business, aside from the monthly payment. 

Range

Fully electric vehicles generally have a range of 80 - 100 miles between full overnight charges and whilst this is more than adequate for most trips in and out of work, for business drivers who do a high annual mileage with lots of motorway miles in between, the range of fully electric vehicles between full charges may be insufficient. 

Access to charging points 

Fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids can be charged using a network of quick charging points across the UK. These charging points will charge most electric vehicle batteries up to around 50% in 30-minutes, ideal for a quick stop in between meetings. As a rule, if there are lots of quick charging points on your driver’s standard journeys, a fully electric car or plug-in hybrid may be the best option for your business. It's also worth remembering that when charging a vehicle overnight from a mains socket at home, off street parking may be required. 

P11d and BIK 

Whilst many of the electric vehicle technologies remain relatively new, the on-the-road prices, and P11D values, of the vehicles are generally higher than equivalent cars powered solely by petrol and diesel engines. As a result, whilst running costs for electric powered vehicles will be lower than equivalent running vehicles, the amount of company car tax you pay may not be.  If you would like to find out BIK figures for specific vehicles, please contact our team of vehicle and leasing experts.

Keen to go green?  

We have a wide range of electric and hybrid vehicles on our website! If you have a specific car in mind why not try our online quotation tool where you can add options and select a term and mileage to suit your business needs.

Want to find out more?

Our team of vehicle and leasing experts are on hand to help you select the right vehicle for the right job, backed by the right fleet management services for your business. Simply call 0345 408 4047 today!