With a lack of take up of electric and hybrid cars in the private car sector, the government has changed its target to the leasing industry to take up the slack. The available grant for subsidising electric and hybrid cars remains unused to the tune of £500m with five years to go run on the target. The government has decided that fleet vehicles will take up the slack and is sitting down with funders and the BVRLA in the new year to arrive at an agreement on the incentives, varying from charge points to the present one of £5000 reclaim that is still available on electric cars, but was due to finish soon.
The plan, set to run for five years, will finish in 2020.
If you think about it, very few company cars travel the “industry standard” 10,000 miles per year, but will vary from 15,000 to 30,000 per year. But 25,000 miles per annum is still only 500 miles a week and with electric cars now having ranges to comfortably cover that daily mileage of 100 miles, is there really a reason that company cars should not be electric cars?
The arguments for and against.
Electric and hybrid cars are turning out to have great residual values, With Toyota Prius residuals leading the way. There are good reasons for this; the upkeep of a hybrid is cheaper, with brake wear and tyre use being lower due to weight savings. The servicing costs are also lower going forward and they have proved to be reliable.
But what are they like on a cold morning? Well that depends whether or not it’s plugged in and charging or not. If it is, then you can use the mains to preheat the cab and clear any ice from your windows. Unfortunately, if an electric car has frozen windows and you are on a return journey, then thick gloves and a scraper are the order of the day.
Heating must only use a very small part of what is a limited power supply in the form of a battery pack. Range extender cars such as the i3 BMW, get around the problem by having a charging motor which will also provide heat.
What about snow? No debate here. The completely flat torque curve of an electric car results in ideal power delivery for reduced traction situations. A hybrid vehicle is even better, with a small petrol or diesel engine driving your front wheels and a motor gently driving your rear.
Is there a conclusion? By early next year, the government will have played their hand and decided on tax breaks or subsidies for electric vehicles, that in addition to predicted future values will define the monthly payments, it is this that will decide the success or otherwise of electric cars in the fleet market.