A lack of government co-ordination in the roll out of agreed vehicle charging types and infrastructure were among causes for frustration for fleet decision-makers in ensuring companies do their best to limit environmental damage and drivers’ tax bills.
Key points made in the Fleet200 Executive Club debate on clean air zones and the uptake of low emission vehicles:
- Electric vehicle uptake has been hindered by an uncoordinated approach to the UK’s charging infrastructure since electric vehicles began to hit the market around 10 years ago
- This saw a mix of charging plugs and technology used, which meant that not all charge points were compatible with all EVs. The group felt the Government should have co-ordinated a unified approach to the type of charging plugs adopted
- Fleet operators saw the uptake in plug-in hybrids grow for the benefit-in-kind tax benefits they offer employees over equivalent diesel or petrol models. In some cases, employees were able to reduce their tax liability by around 80%. However, it was often experienced that drivers were never plugging their vehicles into charge points, meaning that they only ever operated on petrol, negating any environmental benefits the vehicles offer. It was difficult to ensure drivers used the technology as it was intended to be operated
- Plug-in hybrid cars were seen as a short-term technology. The rapid advancement in battery technology – including greater range and shorter charging times - means that when battery prices fall, there will be a shift to fully-electric vehicles
- The Government should continue to offer the plug-in grants to continue to encourage uptake of plug-in hybrids and fully-electric vehicles. With some doubts remaining over the viability of EVs, organisations and individuals need to be incentivised to adopt the technology.