Guide to motoring: Why switching to electric is good for business

According to the latest figures from the UK car industry, an increasing number of motorists are making the switch to electric vehicles (EVs).

MilesRobertsBy Miles Roberts, innovation specialist, Chorley Group.

In March 2015, we bought more than 6,000 ‘plug-in’ cars – an increase of 400 per cent compared to March 2014.

So why are we seeing a sudden surge in the sales of vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF? And what are the potential benefits of switching to electric for you and your business?

One of the main factors behind the rise of EVs is the expansion of the charging network. There are now 7,000 charging points in the UK, in 3,000 locations, 500 of which are rapid chargers, offering an 80 per cent charge in as little as 30 minutes.

The financial incentives available are another major draw.

The government currently contributes as much as £5,000 towards the cost of a car by way of a plug-in grant, and up to £7,500 towards a van. EVs are completely exempt from Road Tax. Company vehicle benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax rates are also significantly lower on vehicles such as the LEAF.

The owners of even the most efficient petrol and diesel cars on the road typically get charged 20 per cent BIK or more, whereas LEAF owners pay just 5 per cent BIK tax. This could save drivers hundreds of pounds every year.

The Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric van also deliver huge savings in daily running costs.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association recently calculated that it costs approximately 2-4p per mile to run an EV, depending on when and how the vehicle is charged. This compares to 10-14p per mile for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle. Based on annual mileage of 20,000, that equates to a saving of £1,800 per annum. Little wonder that companies such as Premier Taxis recently purchased a fleet of Nissan LEAFs.