What is an Electric Vehicle?
An electric vehicle (EV) is one that is powered by an electric motor instead of a traditional internal combustion engine or in a hybrid it runs alongside the internal combustion engine. A rechargeable battery provides the energy needed for the electric motor to run, and this is recharged via a charging point with electricity from the National Grid.
What Types of Electric Vehicle are There?
This guide focuses on full EVs and we’ve got a separate one here that looks at hybrid options available to you, which takes an in-depth look at mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full hybrids.
Most manufacturers will include hybrids in their electric section as they have an electric component and many drivers see them as a step along their EV journey. However, hybrid vehicles have a combustion engine as well as an electric motor so are often seen as a bridge for moving drivers between a petrol or diesel and an EV.
For fleet managers, we know that transitioning an entire fleet can be difficult, especially as there are many driver preferences to take into account, which is why the strategy of using a mixture of hybrids and full EVs works well. The way forward you choose will depend on your individual fleet needs.
For a detailed look at hybrids and the different types available on the UK market then click here to visit our dedicated hybrid guide.
Why Choose EVs for Your Fleet
There are plenty of reasons for you to add EVs to your fleet and we’ve rounded up the top ten below:
1. They produce zero emissions so are better for the environment, improve air quality in the areas your drivers travel and help decrease your business’ overall emission footprint.
2. Zero emissions means no road tax charge for vehicles under £40,000, so if you are purchasing the vehicle then you will not need to worry about this additional cost.
3. As there is no noisy combustion engine EVs are near silent when being driven reducing noise pollution from your drivers in their local area.
4. The running costs of EVs are much lower than cars with traditional engines, and the cost of charging is much less than filling up at the pump.
5. As EVs have fewer moving parts they generally have lower maintenance costs as there are fewer parts to experience wear. However, if they do need maintenance work it might be pricier due to the specialists they can require.
6. Until December 2025 EVs are exempt from the Congestion Charge in London, provided you register them with TfL. They may also benefit from other Clean Air Zone (CAZ) reductions as they become more popular across the country.
7. Benefit in Kind (BIK) rates for your drivers will be much lower on an EV and the rate of company tax the business will also have to pay is much lower than with a traditional petrol or diesel vehicle.
8. Installing chargers in your business parking for drivers to use will encourage then to take one for their company vehicles, and there are currently government grants available to help with the costs of installation.
9. Charging an EV in general is becoming easier and easier for drivers, with more public chargers available in residential areas, shop car parks, and at fuel stations and apps for drivers to locate them. This ease of access will help encourage your drivers to take up an EV.
10. As the market transitions towards electric in time for the ban on sales of new petrol, diesel and hybrid models in 2030 there’s a growing range of electric models in all body shapes and styles for your drivers to choose from.
For more benefits that electrifying your fleet could bring just take a look here.
The biggest challenge that most companies face with electrifying their fleet is their drivers. Some will have concerns over charging, others on the mileage range, and some just won’t know enough about electric vehicles to want anything to do with them. We think it’s important that you make your drivers aware of all the benefits EVs bring, are honest with them about the lifestyle adjustments they may need to make for an EV with charging. This may take a little more time and effort from your fleet managers but overall it will be beneficial for the drivers and business.
Range anxiety is a valid concern, but we know there’s a lot that can be done to alleviate this and some additional information to be aware of when working out the real world range of any EV. Wessex Fleet has put together this guide to help you understand what can impact the range to help you advise your drivers.
The second biggest worry we see drivers have is over charging their EVs. There are several ways that you can help alleviate this concern:
- Give them detailed information on how EV charging works to help them understand the process and think about the best EV charging options for them
- Install workplace chargers for them to use when in the office
- Advise them of their home charging options, which Wessex Fleet can help with
- Provide tools, such as map apps and charging cards, to help them feel confident using the public network
We’ve also got an entire section on the driver side of our guides dedicated to electric and hybrid vehicles which you can direct your drivers to.
There are other considerations than the drivers’ preferences and concerns for you to bear in mind as you move a fleet to EV vehicles. One of which is that charging a vehicle takes longer than filling up at the pump. You’ll need to factor this additional time into any long journeys that you require drivers to do, and for pool vehicles arrange a charging system that ensures they aren’t running low on charge when they’re needed.
Although the number of EV car models on the market is growing rapidly we are seeing the adoption of EV technologies in vans move at a slower rate. This is in part for practical reasons, with the weight of vans, especially when carrying cargo, being much higher and therefore having a much lower range. But as we continue to see the technology evolve and the deadline move closer we can expect the range they are capable of achieving, even when fully loaded, increasing and the selection of models available expanding.
Charging Your Fleet EVs
Charging an EV is getting easier for drivers, with the UK public charging network expanding and new charging points being installed in residential areas, public car parks, and at fuel stations.
Public chargers can be one of several connections, but these are compatible with multiple models and you will find that untethered units will allow most charging cables to be used. Each vehicle should be provided with a charging cable in order for drivers to charge it and will be advised on the charging units the cable and vehicle are compatible with.
For a more detailed breakdown of charging EVs then take a look at this guide.