Pure Electric Vehicle (EV) Car Leasing - The Facts & FAQs

So what is a pure electric vehicle (EV)? By this we mean a car which operates from a high performance battery (generally lithium-ion). There is no petrol or diesel combustion engine element to the car and Zero tailpipe emissions. An EV is the “cleanest” vehicle solution. The Government’s commitment to removing fossil fuel based cars (and vehicles) is placing more pressure on manufacturers to produce these types of solutions.

How far does an EV travel? As there is no combustion engine, the EV is limited to the range of the battery – at present there are a growing number of EVs which can offer up to 250/300 miles on a full charge. Some of this may alter when cars face more “real world” conditions. Some smaller battery–operated vehicles will offer 100-150 miles only on a full charge. This is where the phrase “range anxiety” originates – customers, personal or business, are concerned that the battery will not be able to meet their driving conditions. When the battery is out of charge, the car will not operate. The customer will, in this case, need to arrange onward travel or remediate the situation at their own expense.

So how do you charge an EV? The charging of the car is fundamental. For customers with off-street parking, a home charge unit would be the quickest and most convenient way to charge an EV. There are a number of companies which operate in the UK who can offer low cost charging points. Some vehicle manufacturers may offer a grant of up to £500 towards the cost of installation for eligible customers (using an accredited supplier). More and more businesses are offering charging points for their employees or customers – supermarkets, car parks, train stations and even public charge points.

How long does an EV take to charge? This depends on the capacity of the car/battery and the power output of your charging unit. A charging unit will often be available as a 3.6KW (16Amp) or a 7.2KW (32Amp) output. You could expect the lower output to charge your EV in around 8 – 12 hours and the higher output to achieve this twice as quickly. There are a growing volume of fast charging points (which can charge your EV in 3-4 hours) and rapid charging units (which can charge your EV in under an hour). Tesla have been installing a number of the rapid charging stations across the UK, particularly at service stations.

So why lease/buy an EV? At the time of writing, an EV is eligible for a £3,500 Government plug-in grant (this was reduced from £4500 in 2018). To ensure the grant qualification a vehicle must emit CO2 of less than 50g/km and have a zero emission range of at least 70 miles. Additionally, the EVs are popular with company car drivers as they offer a better tax position for company car taxation. HMRC produce a Benefit in Kind (BiK) banding table which sets out the BiK percentages in conjunction with CO2 (shown as g/km). From the tax year 2020/21, a zero emission vehicle qualifies for the 2% BiK banding (so long as the vehicle can travel 130 miles or more on the electric range). Vehicles travelling on a lower electric range will incur a higher BiK. This represents a fundamental change in taxation attitudes and, for company car drivers, will offer considerable savings. While it may appear more beneficial to business customers (due to tax savings/corporate image), there are some personal customers who are more environmentally-minded. EVs offer a long-term solution to automotive sustainability and the global reduction in emissions. For those customers who are affected by congestion charge/low emission charge zones, there are cost-savings available for utilising an EV. While London has been at the forefront for these emission-based charge zones, other cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds are considering replicating this in the very near future.

Are EVs a risk-less future? While manufacturers are continuing to develop their electric propositions, the limited range could render the vehicle unsuitable for some high mileage drivers. Some of the finance companies that we operate alongside will limit the contract mileage we can offer on an EV, for example a small city EV with a limited range may only be supplied on a contract not exceeding 10,000 miles. In contrast a higher-range vehicle (like the Tesla and Jaguar I-Pace) may be supplied on 15,000 or 20,000 mile per annum contracts. Servicing and maintaining an EV is slightly different to a combustion equivalent. Please do consider that with contract hire you can maintain the vehicle yourself (driver-maintained) or include all servicing, maintenance and tyre obligations for an additional cost (funder-maintained). Research suggests that electric cars are nearly 70% cheaper to maintain; the EV has less components that require maintenance and wear/tear on tyres and brakes is reduced. For EV Drivers, research where the nearest EV approved dealer is located as part of this. Additionally, insurance costs are reportedly higher for electric vehicles. Consider this as part of your analysis.

EV cars for you or your company to consider:

· Audi e-tron

· BMW i3

· Hyundai Kona

· Hyundai Ioniq (Electric)

· Jaguar I-Pace

· Kia Soul

· Kia e-Niro

· Nissan Leaf

· Renault Zoe

· Tesla Model S

· Tesla Model X

· VW e-Golf

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