Fleet News

Electric vehicles “close to tipping point”, says Nissan

Nissan GB managing director Jim Wright believes the UK is “close to” a tipping point for electric vehicle sales after the company achieved a record level of Leaf registrations in September.

At 782, the sales figure is the highest monthly performance of any market outside of America. And it is more than double the 300 Nissan registered in September 2013.

“We are close to a tipping point. Our order take is doubling every month,” Wright told Fleet News at the Paris Motor Show 2014.

The majority of sales have been retail rather than fleet, but Wright is confident the corporate sector will start to take over next year.

“Fleet has been slower because the leasing company platforms have not been set up for the electric vehicle cost of ownership model,” he said.

“As we see more models come to market, such as the Golf, leasing companies will have to understand the different model – some already do – and adjust to cope with it. It has been a problem for fleets to get quotes up to now, but this is starting to change.”

For vans, Wright described electric as “virtually a no-brainer”, particularly in London.

“Comparing electric with diesel with the same payload vehicle, our figures show a fleet would save £6,000 over four years in London from congestion charging, tax and, of course, fuel. For many, the penny is starting to drop.”


Login to comment


  • Alex Castle - 03/10/2014 11:23

    The slower take up in fleet is still due to the lack of clarity from HMRC on reclaim rates for mileage. Their on-going insistence that electric is not a fuel and therefore they won't issue an AFR is stalling the market for businesses - making it too hard just at the time with the 5% rate introduction even for zero emission vehicles coming up, is already eating into the financial advantage electric presented when considering WLC. Its such a shame for the manufacturers who have really committed to the EV market that the Govt isn't providing the backing when it comes to the practicalities of fleet operation.

  • David Watts - 03/10/2014 12:06

    The lack of an AFR from HMRC, whilst annoying, is an excuse and not a reason for companies to explore the benefits of EV's. AFR's are advisory and not compulsory - in the absence of a reimbursement rate companies are more than capable of calculating and using their own rate (which is realistically going to be approximately 3 or 4ppm) as long as it's sensible. However, I do agree that the BIK incentive for low / zero emission vehicles should be extended to give them an opportunity to become established.

  • Alex Castle - 03/10/2014 12:53

    It is most certainly NOT an excuse! I am well aware of the benefits of EVs, however if one operates a WLC model for selecting fleet vehicles (which the recent Fleet News survey was confirmed quite rightly as the primary criterion used for selection of vehicles) and you use AFRs, without a published agreed AFR it is IMPOSSIBLE for a business to determine the WLC of an EV model when compared against a traditional vehicle. It would be negligent to put both the business and indeed the employee at risk of future retrospective tax burdens by arriving at an unapproved reclaim rate for recharging. With reclaim rates for AFR effectively allowing hybrid drivers to profit unfairly from their mileage so incentivising mileage potentially, but the drivers willing to take the leap of faith and select all electric then having no clarity on what they can be reimbursed by their employer is crazy. I fail to see what is so difficult about HMRC taking a proper position on this, given there seems a willingness for them to be crystal clear on now adopting a punitive tax position on the lowest emission vehicles and removing a key benefit of EV to date which compensated for the higher on the road price. It just seems the opportunities to support fleets moving in that direction are being missed.

  • Fraser Crichton - 06/10/2014 16:38

    Running 38 electric vehicles for over 2 years, Dundee City Council has proved yearly maintenance costs have reduced by 40%.

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee