Leading the benefits charge

Take a look through your work’s car park, chances are you'll spot a couple of new cars next to the usual array of known names and models. That's possibly because new government rules cutting tax rates on zero- and low-emission company cars mean there has never been a better time for company car drivers to make the switch to electric.

The Treasury's announcement that all zero emission cars will have their BIK (benefit-in-kind) tax rate cut by 2% in the 2020-21 tax year means company car drivers who opt for an electric car – or a hybrid that can drive for at least 130 miles on battery power – will pay no BIK tax at all. The rate will increase, but only to 1% in 2021-22 and 2% in 2022-23.

Around a million drivers use a company car and fleet and business accounted for 56% of new car registrations in August 2019, so the change could provide a real boost to the electric vehicle (EV) market in the UK. It is the latest sign of the growing maturity of the EV market and coincides with the news there are now more EV charging locations in the country (more than 9,000) than there are filling stations. Car makers are set to bring dozens of new pure electric and hybrid models on to the market over the next few years, providing a further boost to the market, which is expected to see 13 million EV on UK roads by 2030.

Cities step up

In addition, in an attempt to tackle local air pollution, many cities are introducing Clean Air Zones – following in the footsteps of cities including London, Oxford, Leeds and Birmingham – that charge polluting vehicles for driving in city centres. Because they have no tailpipe emissions, EV will be exempt from such charges, adding to the cost effectiveness of having an electric fleet.

While many EV users will charge their cars at home, there will be others unable to do this, for example because they have no driveway. Workplaces – where many cars remain parked and unused for significant periods of the day – will play an important role in providing the charging infrastructure needed for the electrification of the automotive sector, along with public facilities on the roadside and at locations such as train stations, shopping and leisure centres.

Business powers up

Introducing workplace charging doesn't just help employees, there are clear benefits for employers too. By encouraging the replacement of petrol and diesel cars with zero-emission vehicles, they will improve the air quality around their premises, which has health benefits for all workers. And as more and more people go electric – both company car drivers and others – they will expect to be able to charge their cars at business sites. And bi-directional, or vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging technology means that during times of peak power demand EV will have the capability of feeding energy back into the grid. Charge points will become an integral part of a business' premises, vital but unnoticed in highlighting its sustainability credentials, retaining talent and meeting the expectations of customers and other visitors. Check out our previous blog about driving your business forward through EV.

Companies looking to install workplace vehicle charge points can receive up to £10,000 in funding from the government's Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to help with the costs of the work. And further help is at hand from E.ON Drive. We can work with your business on all aspects of the process, from infrastructure design to installation and maintenance, helping you to become part of one of the largest EV charging networks in the UK and across Europe.