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With growing public concern and attention around climate change and increased emissions legislation, the automotive sector is evolving very quickly. Over the past five years, we have seen significant investment in the development of both battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

These new vehicles are an enticing option for many. There has, however, been some hesitancy among fleet buyers. In truth, the choice has, in many ways, already been made for them, because the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from 2030 – just eight years away. Combined with the introduction of clean-air zones and ultra-low-emission zones, there is significant and growing pressure to decarbonise the transport sector, including business fleets.

These demands aside, there are other advantages to electrification. Firstly, total cost of ownership. With fewer moving parts and much simpler drivetrains, EVs require far less maintenance. When you also consider the cost of electricity versus petrol and diesel, the gap becomes even greater. What about driver welfare? Well, research indicates EVs come out on top here, too. Studies have highlighted that EV drivers experience less fatigue – a critical contributor to fleet accident rates – due to lower noise, vibration and harshness levels.

Of course, the obvious benefit of electrifying your fleet is a big reduction in emissions. Fleet electrification is a clear demonstration of commitment to sustainability, action on climate change and an effort toward corporate net-zero targets. Internally, setting such an example can prove a  boost to the morale of employees. Externally, it highlights an organisation’s recognition of corporate and social responsibilities.

The vast majority of vehicle manufacturers are now charging ahead with EVs, giving fleet buyers a huge variety of options in most segments. Significant advances in EV technology, such as batteries and motors, alongside vast investment in charging infrastructure, have all but eliminated justification for the range-anxiety and buyer-hesitancy arguments.

This has already buoyed fleet buyer confidence, with many investing in their electric future. According to the SMMT, 2020 had a 184% surge in EV registrations. Across BEVs and PHEVs, 68% of new registrations were from fleets, signifying the momentum building within the sector. When it comes to company car registrations, around 21% in 2020 Q3 were BEVs.

Indeed, much of this can be attributed to the Government’s 0% Benefit-in-Kind tax rate for BEVs in the 2020/2021 tax year. This is set to rise by 1% per year until it hits 2% in 2022/23, where it will remain until 2025. Zero-emission vehicles are also exempt from vehicle excise duty and will continue to be until at least March 2025. Additionally, there are government grants and National Insurance savings for fleets.

The Department for Transport has pointed out that companies and unincorporated businesses are eligible for enhanced capital allowances for new zero-emission cars for business use. This programme, which will run until 2025, allows buyers to write off 100% of the car cost within the tax year of purchase. In addition, five new tax bands have been introduced for plug-in hybrid vehicles that emit from 1-50g of CO2/km, encouraging a switch to cleaner vehicles.

Further government support for electrification and charging at work comes via the Workplace Charging Scheme. This offers businesses financial support to cover the up-front purchase cost of as many as 40 EV chargers, with grants of up to 75% of the purchase and installation costs (up to £350 per unit).

For home charging, the Government introduced the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, a grant deducted from the cost of installation by OZEV-approved installers.

Both schemes cover a number of chargers, including myenergi’s UK-manufactured zappi, the first eco-smart EV charger. It can utilise 100% green energy generated from solar PV panels or wind generation.

It appears that, while many fleet managers and buyers have already begun their switch to electric fleets, many are risking being left behind. Now is the perfect time to transition before the introduction of mandatory legislation and a competitive last-minute scramble. With EV and PHEV technology now significantly established, charging infrastructure growing quickly, numerous government incentives in place and readily available state-of-the-art eco-smart charging solutions, there may never be a better time to electrify your fleet.

 

Jordan Brompton, co-founder and chief marketing officer, myenergi