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Electric vehicles and sustainable travel options

As the Government increases pressure on businesses to use more sustainable travel options, the growth of electric vehicles (EVs)
on company fleets is inevitable.

Companies must start to develop their fleet policies to encourage the uptake of EVs if they are to reduce emissions, save fuel and meet more stringent transport rules.

Some European countries, such as Norway, are already ahead of the UK when it comes to phasing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles out.  

In the first half of 2018, European EV sales grew by 42% year-on-year and the number of plug-in vehicles on the streets of Europe surpassed a million.

Challenges of EV adoption

Many companies have a driver demographic that requires hundreds of miles to be driven per day for their roles. Considering the range of an EV can be as low as 80 miles on a single charge, this does create anxiety among fleet managers. 

While there is growth in the number of public charging stations available, stopping to charge creates downtime for a vehicle and often affects the productivity of employees if they have to sit and wait for a charge.

A number of manufacturers claim their vehicles are capable of covering 150-200 miles but often this is in ideal conditions, with weight, temperature and driving style having a drastic effect.

Many drivers do not want to spend half an hour each evening planning where they will stop to get electricity on their travels the next day, much less so take the risk of being late to
a meeting/appointment because there are no chargers available. 

Rise of the PHEV

Many companies have favoured the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), which can provide certainty that drivers get to their destination while keeping their national insurance contributions (NICs) down. 

This has been an attractive option for a company from an efficiency perspective and drivers from a financial aspect, due to the low reported CO2 emissions giving tax breaks.

The problem is that often these vehicles are inefficient when used for higher mileages and often drivers don’t plug them in at all.

The Government grant for most of these vehicles has now been dropped in a bid to increase the move to full EV. 

Benefits of switching to an EV

Clean air zones (CAZs) and ultra-low emissions zones (ULEZs) are sprouting throughout the country, with some areas charging differing fees as a Toxicity charge. 

Added to this is the rising cost of fuel and increasing pressures on businesses to promote a ‘green’ agenda.

Drivers face increased taxation, with uncertainty over future company car tax rates still to be resolved – making EVs a more attractive choice financially.

Added to this is the improved driveability and performance offered by an electric car.

Over the next 12 months there will be a significant rise in the number of EVs on the market. Manufacturers are beginning to offer affordable vehicles with a range of 280 miles and it’s likely that 300 miles from a charge will become the norm within a couple of years – banishing range anxiety for most.

As residual values increase, the costs of operating EVs will become more attractive than that of ICE-powered counterparts.

With as many as one in five people saying they want to switch to an EV in 2019, companies should brace themselves for an influx of requests and enquires.

Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions has extensive experience in company policy rebuild to maximise the financial and operational effectiveness of a fleet. 

We can help you navigate the model ranges, understand the financial advantages and dispel any myths about operating an electric fleet.

The UK fleet market is a huge contributor of many manufacturers’ registration targets and they will not want to lose out on sales. 

Demand for EVs already outweighs supply, but the supply will increase soon and with that will come great benefits for company and driver alike.

For more information on how Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions supports 

fleets, please visit  https://www.hitachicapitalvehiclesolutions.co.uk/corporate-fleets/insights and get in touch.

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